Support Obligations When The Non-Custodial Parent Gets A New Family
How is the non-custodial parent’s child support obligation affected by his need to support his new family?
It is often the case that a non-custodial parent, usually the father, has a child with a second spouse. If the father had been ordered to pay child support to his “first family”, the existence of a new, “second family”, ordinarily will not affect his obligation to his “first family.” As a general rule, in the eyes of the law of child support, “first families come first.” The child support order directing the father to support his first family remains intact.
What happens if the support obligation owed to the first family places a hardship and undue burden on the second family?
If the payments being made to the children of the first family substantially reduce the financial resources needed to support the children of the second family, the father may seek a modification of the first support order. If the level of support paid to the first family is unjust or unreasonable, the Court may modify the support order in order to ensure that all the children receive at least the bare minimum of support. Therefore, if the non-custodial parent believes that a prior support order is adversely affecting his ability to care for his new family, he should ask the Family Court for a modification of that first order.
Will the judge every fully relieve a parent of his obligation to pay child support?
No. All parents have a legal obligation to support their children. Even in instances where the income is below the poverty level, Courts are required to order the non-custodial parent to pay a minimum of $25.00 per month.
Will the Legal Aid Society represent me in court?
Generally, the Legal Aid Society does not represent clients in cases involving support obligations. Instead we are providing you with this Legal Life Line and whatever other advice might be appropriate to your case.
This Lifeline contains general information, and does not constitute individual legal advice about your situation. You should consult with an attorney for individual legal advice about your situation and to find out how this information applies to your situation. To see if you qualify for free legal services, call the Legal Aid office nearest you.