Thank you for allowing me an opportunity to answer your interesting question.
Your question is: ?If I marry a man who has a child support obligation
and he loses his job, will I be responsible for paying his child
The answer is: ?No?
Like any court ordered obligation the person to whom the court levies
the responsibility is ultimately liable for his own actions (or
inactions, as the case may be). It is no different where child support
obligations are concerned. In the State of California the ?Agnos
Minimum Child Support Standards Act? and California Family Code § 4055
establishes child support payment and obligations guidelines. This
pertains only to the non-custodial parent and any new spouse he or she
may bring into the situation is unaffected by the legal umbrella. In
fact, the amount of child support paid by the non-custodial parent
cannot even be factored into the calculation for payments. This is
stated emphatically across the board by a variety of reputable legal
??income from a new spouse is not considered in fixing an order for child support.?
C. ALEXANDRE BARBERA, ATTORNEY AT LAW
?If the new spouse has an income it is not considered for support,
because he or she has no legal attachment to provide support to a
THE BETTER DIVORCE NETWORK
?Some states, California for example, provide that a new spouse with
income, cannot be held liable for the support of a step-child except
under extreme circumstances?for the time being, and for purposes of
financial safety, set up and maintain separate savings and checking
accounts. That way, your funds do not become commingled with your
husband's, and a court, should the question ever arise, will always be
able to calculate whose income is whose and where the funds came.?
?In most cases, the income of a parent's subsequent spouse or
nonmarital partner is not considered in setting support.?
TRIAL LAWYERS ? HARDING & ASSOCIATES
A new spouse or cohabitant cannot be held legally responsible for the
child support payments of their partner, nor can the non-custodial
parent with whom the obligations ultimately lie confer to the new
spouse or cohabitant his court ordered responsibility. In other words,
if a non-custodial parent relies on his new spouse to make his child
support payment and for whatever reason the payment does not get made,
the court can issue a warrant for HIS arrest for non-support, but
would have no legal basis to arrest his spouse, even though the couple
had an mutual ?understanding? that she would fulfill his financial
Of course, that is not to say that your spouse?s unpaid obligations
will not have AN IMPACT on you personally if you choose not to help ?
because it will. Should your spouse be jailed or found in contempt for
not paying his obligation, it is entirely possible that the court
might suspend his driver?s license or any professional licenses he may
have, attach his income tax returns for several years, file a judgment
against him for a lump sum payment to rectify the arrearage, make him
serve a lengthy sentence of incarceration or community service, or in
worse case scenario (as if there ?is? something worse than that)
perhaps even seize some of his property equal to the value of the
arrearage and that might possibly include property, vehicles or items
that the two of you own jointly. Needless to say these would all cause
you some considerable hardships personally even though you would not
be the direct focus of the punitive measures. It isn?t pretty, but
such is the case when we agree to share our lives with a spouse who
has a past life to contend with. You take the good with the bad.
Excluding the legal obligations, which we have cleared up here, what
one should now consider then is when he or she marries a person who
has these types of complicated responsibilities, that there are
logical, moral and ethical issues involved which may affect your
?perceived? responsibilities. That is to say:
Is it ethically correct to help your spouse fulfill his obligations in
his time of need (unemployment, disability, etc)?
Is it morally correct to help your spouse (unemployed or not), whom
you profess to love and have agreed to weather life?s storms with, in
supporting his children, who in turn have done nothing wrong and
deserve financial support?
Is it logical, for your own family?s financial preservation, to help
meet these obligations as long as they last, to make sure that your
family is not forced to endure unnecessary hardships in the event that
the obligation cannot otherwise be met?
Your legal standing on this issue is clear ? the law says you are not
bound by this child support obligation and cannot be held accountable
for it - but in the end, outside the legal arena, you must justify in
your own mind what you believe is the correct way to proceed under a
variety of hypothetical circumstances. I wish you the best in making a
mature and informed decision that will work to the benefit of all
I hope you find that my research exceeds your expectations. If you
have any questions about my research please post a clarification
request prior to rating the answer. Otherwise I welcome your rating
and your final comments and I look forward to working with you again
in the near future. Thank you for bringing your question to us.
Tutuzdad-ga ? Google Answers Researcher
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