How will my husband’s child support obligations affect me?

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How will my husband’s child support obligations affect me?

My fiancé and I are planning to get married soon. He has 2 sons by 2 women from previous relationships. One woman and her family kept his son from him since birth 7 years ago, not letting him be involved and now has resurfaced for child support. The other woman is suing out of anger, even though my fiancé supports his son outside of the court system. I want to know, how will this affect my income and income taxes after marriage? Will I be forced to pay support in any way from my income? Will I be able to file taxes separately?

Asked on October 28, 2012 under Family Law, Indiana

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Your potential husband's child support obligations for his or her minor children should have no legal effect upon you with the caveat that when the court makes a child support order it looks at the net monthly income of both parents and then upon court guidelines a child support order is then issued.

The allowable monthly expenses of your soon to be husband could end up being discounted so some effect taking into account the expenses of yourself on a monthly basis to end up increasing his monthly child support obligations.

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Technically speaking, the support obligation is his and his alone.  You cannot be forced to support a child that is not yours.   However, where most innocent spouses get stung is in the bank account when funds get co-mingled.  Same applies to other assets and resources.  To avoid having your income confused with his income, you would be better off keeping your finances separate... that way funds can always be easily tracked.  You can do the same with federal income taxes.  You do have the option of filing jointly, but are not required to do so.  Since he has several things coming at him, you would be better off filing separate-- that way your income does not show up in court records.  (In enforcement and child support actions, he will be required to produce w-2's and tax returns.)  

This is the basic effect on your income and taxes.  Keep in mind, however, that if he gets a big hit with back child support, that the court may order makeup payments to be garnished from his wages-- which means that more of the burden of supporting the household will be on you.  So even though you are going to be hit directly, there will be an indirect him just by way of loss of overall income.


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