I live in california and was wondering If I marry a man that has child support debt, can the courts make me pay his child support debt? Also, once married, can he claim hardship to have his payments lowered due to the change in his household?
1 Answer from Attorneys
His half of communty property can be reached to pay his child support debt, as well as his separate property. As a practical matter, however, if you keep your income in an account he is not on, and keep your pre-marriage property only in your name, it will nearly be impossible to get to your income or assets for the debt. As for hardship, it would depend on the new family situation. In most cases monthly support owed by a person who remarries goes up slightly, because of the tax adavantages of being married. If you are in the income zone where there is a "marriage penalty," the support would go down slightly. If the new spouse is disabled, has major medical issures or something like that support might go down. It's all on a case by case basis determined by how the finances change due to the marriage. One thing that people think will reduce support that never does, however, is step kids. Unless you adopt your step kids, you don't have a legal responsiblity to support them, and therefore they do not count in the support calculations for the prior marriage.