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What Significance Is The New Spouse’s Income To Support Obligations?

A frequently asked question at some of the lawyer web sites, such as Avvo and, is can a new spouse’s income be considered for purposes of child support or maintenance payments?

The answer under Wisconsin law, is no. A new spouse is not obligated to pay support for children that are not theirs, nor are they obligated to support the ex spouse by making maintenance payments. The new spouse’s income is not considered for purposes of child support and/or maintenance payments in the state of Wisconsin.

While a the recipient ex-spouse may inquire as to where the new spouse works, what they do for a living and how much money they make, that is where the inquiry ends. The court has no legal authority under Wisconsin law to add to the obligated spouse’s income, their new spouse’s income and re-calculate child support and or spousal support obligations.

It also makes practical sense. It wouldn’t be fair to require the new spouse to contribute to support. The children are not theirs, and they certainly would have no obligation to help support the ex spouse, simply because the payer ex-spouse has gotten remarried. While it is a legitimate concern for someone to ask if that is the case, at least in Wisconsin, you can reset assured there is no such obligation that considers the new spouse’s income for purposes of calculating support obligations.

The same is true in reverse, at least in terms of child support. If the recipient ex spouse gets remarried, their new spouse’s income does not factor into what the child support obligations may be in the case. However, it certainly affects maintenance (spousal support) payments, as under Wisconsin law, unless the parties specifically agree otherwise, maintenance payments terminates at the remarriage of the payee (ex) spouse. Under Wisconsin law, you are obligated within 10 business days after remarrying, to provide notice to the court and the ex spouse. Following that notice, the person obligated to pay spousal support may request that the maintenance order end. sec. 767.58 (1) (c) is the applicable statutory notice section.

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