Can Living with My New Partner Affect Child Support?

Can Living with My New Partner Affect Child Support?Getting back into the dating game after a divorce can be hard. It takes some folks a long time to learn to trust people with their hearts, so finding someone who makes you feel safe, secure, and loved can be a big step. When you have children, though, there are new challenges to consider. Will my partner be a good co-parent? Does he or she even WANT to be? What will my kids think? Will they love him/her, too?

And then – of course – there’s the child support. It is understandable for parents to want to know if their new partner’s income or resources can affect your child support payments. In some cases, the answer may be yes (with some caveats). However, it’s important to understand the specific circumstances that can impact child support payments and whether or not living with a new partner is one of them.

What expenses are covered under Tennessee child support laws?

Understanding the laws and regulations surrounding child support payments and modifications can help divorced or separated parents make informed decisions about their financial obligations.

Before discussing any alleviation that a new spouse may provide to child support obligations it is important to review categories of basic needs that are accommodated through child support payments in Franklin. Some common expenses covered under Tennessee child support laws include:

  • Housing: Meeting a child’s housing needs involves covering expenses for general living costs such as rent, mortgage, and utilities.
  • Food: A child’s food needs encompass costs for groceries and meals, whether they are purchased from a grocery store or consumed at a restaurant.
  • Clothing: Providing adequately for a child’s clothing needs includes ongoing expenses for items such as shoes, coats, and school uniforms.
  • Transportation: Expenses such as gas, car maintenance, and public transportation fees, related to the child’s needs, such as transportation to and from school and extracurricular activities.
  • Education: A child’s education needs include expenses for tuition, school supplies, and extracurricular activities.
  • Medical and dental expenses: A child’s medical and dental needs can be simplified to the costs for insurance premiums, copays, and deductibles.
  • Childcare expenses: Supporting a child’s childcare needs entails expenses for daycare, babysitters, and after-school care, which is particularly important for parents who work outside the home and require assistance in caring for their child while they are away.

When caould my new relationship affect child support payments?

When a person remarries, it does not automatically affect their child support obligations. However, there are certain circumstances where your co-parent may petition for a modification to child support, and could potentially be successful in that request.. It is important to note that remarriage alone does not constitute a reason for child support modification, and the court will evaluate each case on an individual level.

Here are some examples of circumstances where a new partner can alleviate child support payments for the payer:

  • The new partner is a teacher at a prestigious private school and offers to enroll the child for free.
  • The new partner is a doctor or has access to free medical services, and the child requires ongoing treatment or medication, the court may consider the fact that the child’s medical expenses are being covered and adjust the child support payments accordingly.
  • The new partner has a flexible work schedule that allows them to provide free childcare for the child.

These examples represent common costs for raising children which both parents are supposed to share. If your new spouse is eliminating these expenses, then there’s a good chance your co-parent’s request for modification will be successful as long as it meets that 15% threshold.

What if I’m not getting remarried, but simply moving in with a new partner?

The chances are very good that a modification request would be denied.

What if my new spouse had children of his/her own?

Your new partner’s child support obligations are not yours, just as yours are not his/hers. As such, those obligations should have no bearing on your own order.

What if I want to receive less child support?

Again, that request will likely be denied. Remember – child support is for the child, not you. The court is unlikely to approve a plan that reduces how much the child receives just because you think *you* don’t want it.

If a parent wishes to modify their child support obligations, they must file a request with the court. Any modifications to child support orders must be made through the court system and cannot be done informally between the parties. The Franklin family lawyers at the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates can help draft these modification requests. Ultimately, the court will review the situation and determine if a modification to the child support obligations is reasonable and necessary due to a change in circumstances.

If you’re unsure about how living with a new partner may affect your child support payments, it is advisable to seek legal advice. A family lawyer with experience handling order modifications can provide the guidance and information you need to protect your interests. Contact the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates to schedule an initial consultation with one of our attorneys in Franklin, Brentwood, or Columbia.