Our office recently received a telephone call from an individual regarding a step-parent's obligation to pay child support. The prospective client was asking how her new husband's income would change her support order. The child's natural father had filed for a support modification because mother had gotten remarried and because her new husband made a healthy living.
The general rule in Pennsylvania is that step-parents are not liable for child support for their stepchildren except in very rare cases. Additionally, a step-parent's income is not considered when determining the amount of a child support order. So, in the case outlined above, the natural father's petition for modification will be fruitless because the support guidelines state that only the mother's income will be considered for support purposes and step-father's income will be ignored when determining how much support the natural father owes.
Only in special cases will the Court consider the step-parent's income and that income will only be considered by the Court when it is determining whether or not to deviate from the guideline amount. For example, if the new step-parent makes a huge sum of money and the family unit does not need child support to take care of the child, the Court could decide to deviate from the support guidelines and lower the payor's support obligation.
If you have a support order and are unsure of how remarrying may affect your order, contact an experienced family law attorney at our Pittsburgh Law Firm to discuss your case.