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New Spouse Income

New Mate/New Spouse income is addressed in California Family Code Section 4057.5 which is set forth as follows:

  • The income of the obligor parent's subsequent spouse or non-marital partner shall not be considered when determining or modifying child support, except in an extraordinary case where excluding that income would lead to extreme and severe hardship to any child subject to the child support award, in which case the court shall also consider whether including that income would lead to extreme and severe hardship to any child supported by the obligor or by the obligor's subsequent spouse or non-marital partner.
  • The income of the obligee parent's subsequent spouse or non-marital partner shall not be considered when determining or modifying child support, except in an extraordinary case where excluding that income would lead to extreme and severe hardship to any child subject to the child support award, in which case the court shall also consider whether including that income would lead to extreme and severe hardship to any child supported by the obligee or by the obligee's subsequent spouse or non-marital partner.
  • For purposes of this section, an extraordinary case may include a parent who voluntarily or intentionally quits work or reduces income, or who intentionally remains unemployed or underemployed and relies on a subsequent spouse's income.
  • If any portion of the income of either parent's subsequent spouse or non-marital partner is allowed to be considered pursuant to this section, discovery for the purposes of determining income shall be based on W2 and 1099 income tax forms, except where the court determines that application would be unjust or inappropriate.
  • If any portion of the income of either parent's subsequent spouse or non-marital partner is allowed to be considered pursuant to this section, the court shall allow a hardship deduction based on the minimum living expenses for one or more stepchildren of the party subject to the order.
  • The enactment of this section constitutes cause to bring an action for modification of a child support order entered prior to the operative date of this section.

The essence of whether new spouse/mate income is considered for either the parent paying support or the parent receiving support is rarely done and only a consideration in very limited cases when either the payor or the payee of support has shirked their responsibilities to provide support for their own children and instead rely on the generosity of their new spouse/mate. However, in the rare occurrence that the court does consider new mate/spouse income, they will reduce that income by applying a hard deduction for other children that the new spouse/mate is also providing support for. Again, consideration of new spouse/mate income is the exception rather than the rule and the specific facts supporting such a position must be present in order for the court to make such an order.

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