Can I Go After My Ex’s New Wife For Child Support in Texas?
We often get questions about how remarriage affects child support obligations in the state of Texas. In short, while there are instances where a remarriage will have an impact on the level of child support, unless your ex’s new spouse legally adopts a child, they are not responsible for child support. Furthermore, their income won’t have an impact on what is currently agreed upon.
Child support payments are a lifeline for many people, and if your ex is refusing to pay, or you believe that you should be receiving more than what you are, then you should seek help from a family law attorney. It is essential that you do not take matters into your own hands and that you maintain your legal obligations to facilitate visitation and foster the relationship between your children and your ex-spouse.
At Skillern Firm, we are proud of our combined 50 years of experience handling family law. Our dedication to this practice area means we understand your rights as the parent receiving child support and are prepared to defend you, no matter what it takes. We prioritize any children involved in all family law matters, and we understand that child support payments are essential to their wellbeing and upbringing. We are here to protect their future.
Speak to an experienced attorney today at (832) 210-2669.
What is Child Support in Texas?
When parents of a child separate, one parent will usually become the primary custodian, and this means that the child will live with them for the majority of the time, while the other parent is awarded visitation rights. The non-custodial parent is usually legally responsible for paying child support. This is because, in Texas, both parents share a legal responsibility to emotionally and financially contribute to the upbringing of their children.
It is common for ex-spouses to argue over what child support should pay for. While Texas law does not specify details on what child support must be spent on, it should generally be used to cover the child’s basic needs such as shelter, clothing, medical and dental care, food, education, and toys. However, as long as the child does not suffer neglect, child support can be spent however the receiving parent sees fit. They may use it on their own mortgage or rent, for example. When the paying parent gets remarried, they are still required to meet their child support obligation. If they fail to do so, then you can take legal action against them.
Determining Child Support in Texas
Once a court order is issued, paying child support in Texas is a legal obligation. Child support guidelines base the amount owed on the following factors:
- Wages and any other income sources such as tips, bonuses, interest, pensions, unemployment benefits, disabilities benefits, and more.
- The number of children.
- The child’s age and needs, including any healthcare needs.
- Spousal maintenance.
- Childcare expenses.
- Travel costs for maintaining visitation.
- The parent’s ability to pay child support.
- Any other factors that are in the child’s best interests, while taking into consideration the parent’s personal circumstances.
The child support calculation can also be influenced if the payee has additional children or dependents or their healthcare needs change.
Child Support Modifications
Sometimes it becomes difficult for someone to continue to meet their child support obligation. Or, as the receiving parent, circumstances might change. This may mean that you need additional financial support. In these situations, it is possible for the child support amount to be modified.
In order to secure a child support modification, certain criteria must be met, either:
- A material and substantial change of circumstances, such as changes to the child’s needs or living arrangements, change in employment of either parent or increased caring expenses for other dependents.
- It has been at least three years since the original child support order and, in accordance with current guidelines, the amount that should be awarded differs by $100 or 20%.
How Remarriage Impacts Child Support
Remarriage alone doesn’t justify a change to child support. However, if your ex-spouse remarries and has a new child, then it will have an impact. If your ex-spouse has a legal obligation to support other children, then it may change how much child support they are required to pay to you. It is also possible that the courts will consider their financial obligations to a new wife and her children.
However, the court may also rule that financial hardship from a new marriage should not mitigate against dependent children from an earlier marriage. This may seem like a contradiction, and guidelines are up to interpretation by a judge. What the court appears to be suggesting is that a new child may be considered in a modification request, but any change should not negatively impact the children from a prior relationship.
A New Spouse’s Income Doesn’t Affect Child Support in Texas
One thing the Texas Family Code does make clear is that the court shouldn’t consider a new spouse’s income when calculating child support. However, it could have an impact if it affects your ex’s ability to pay child support. For example, if they have costs such as a mortgage, rent, or bills that they now share the cost of, then they may be able to pay more. As you can see, family law matters can be incredibly complex and open to interpretation. That is why it is best to seek help from an attorney who has experience in dealing with child support issues and family law, as their experience may prove invaluable.
Can I Go After My Ex’s New Wife For Child Support in Texas? FAQ.
Q: Does my ex-husband’s new wife’s income for child support in Texas?
A: No, in Texas your ex-husband’s new wife’s income should not directly affect child support payments.
Q: Do I have to pay child support for a stepchild in Texas?
A: No, unless you legally adopt a child, you do not have a legal duty to pay child support.
Q: Do I have to pay child maintenance if my ex-wife remarries?
A: Yes, regardless of if your ex-wife remarries, you still have a legal obligation to financially contribute to the upbringing of your children.
Q: Does having another child affect child support in Texas?
A: Yes, the court will consider your financial obligation to other dependents when calculating child support. If you have a new child and can no longer meet your obligation, you will need to seek a child support modification. An attorney can help you file a motion with the court.
Contact Skillern Firm
If you are concerned about child support payments, then you should seek advice from a family law attorney at Skillern Firm as soon as possible. Family Law in Texas is complex, but when you have an attorney who cares about your needs and those of your children, you will have the best chance of fighting for and securing a bright new future. We offer a personalized approach to the attorney-client relationship. We have the skills, experience, and resources to offer the legal guidance you need.
Contact an attorney at Skillern Firm today at (832) 210-2669.