In Divorce

No.  This goes the same for wives, boyfriends and husbands.  In fact, the only person’s assets or income that can be attached for purposes of child support is the person obligated to pay child support.  This, however, does not mean that the income and assets of these “significant others” will be totally private or irrelevant in all cases.  This is because child support is not always just based on what the obligor earns at his or her job.  Sometimes it is based – or can be based – on the earning capacity of the obligor.  This claim comes into play when the obligee believes that the obligor is under earning (not making as much as he or she should) and thus not paying as much child support as he or she should.  Also, “income” includes regularly recurring gifts from someone other than a spouse or domestic partner.

Normally, it is necessary and in people’s best interest to earn as much as they can.  Bills need to be paid and people like to do and have nice things.  Sometimes it is not necessary or desirable.  Such may be the case if someone is living with someone else (significant other or parents is most common) who can afford and is willing to pay all the obligor’s bills.  In these situations it is quite common for the obligor to be under-employed out of convenience, lifestyle or other reason.  The obligee must prove earning capacity and it will be relevant to inquire about contributions of others which could lead to information about their income and assets.  Again, the purpose would not be to attach such interests, but to boost the claim that the obligor is not maximizing his or her earning potential due to the benefit received from those interests.

As for recurring contributions as income, the obligee seeking to prove this would need – and is often entitled to – sensitive financial information from third parties.  If income is determined based on recurring contributions, the obligor can be stuck with a higher child support obligation even if those contributions don’t continue.

If you are looking to adjust your child support payments, please contact us for a free phone consultation.

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