So you got divorced a few years ago and finally dove back into the dating scene. You met a nice guy/gal and things are going well. S/He’s met your teenage children and wedding bells don’t seem too far in the future—that is until your ex realizes that your new beau is CEO of a big company and says that, if you get remarried, he expects Mr/s Millionaire to step up and contribute to the children’s living expenses and college. Now what?
In New Jersey, a stepparent’s income is generally not a factor considered in calculating child support and college contributions. The legal parents are the primary source for the support of the child and there is no statutory requirement in New Jersey imposing a duty of support on third-party nonparents, which means stepparents have no obligation to support putting their spouse’s children. The duty of the legal parents to be the primary source of support for their children cannot be switched to a stepparent absent exceptional circumstances. That exception arises when a step parent actively interferes with the child’s support from their legal parents.
The reality is, however, that even though your new rich spouse may not have any obligation to contribute to your children’s financial support, s/he may be providing economic resources to your household, which a Court may find relevant in determining your own financial resources for purposes of calculating child support and college contributions.
If you are worried about your child support obligations and college contribution, contact our experienced Family Law Group at Cohn Lifland.