What Are the Differences Between Child Support and Alimony?


A divorce can be a difficult process, and there are numerous details that must be worked out. Among these is often alimony and child support. Even though both forms of payment are important, they are not the same things. What do people need to know about the differences between these two payments, and how do they impact divorce proceedings? Take a look at several important points below.

What Is Alimony?

Alimony, which is also called spousal support, is money that is paid from one spouse to the other following a divorce. If one spouse is the main breadwinner, then the other spouse may not necessarily have the resources to support himself or herself after the divorce. The court orders alimony payments to be made following a divorce case.

Alimony payments can also be made to cover any unjust opinion of assets. For example, it is not possible to cut a house in half, and this may make it difficult to divide the assets evenly. There are some cases where alimony payments may have a termination date. For example, one spouse may be going back to school to gain the skills to support himself or herself. Or, one spouse might get remarried, which could cause alimony payments to terminate. There are other situations where alimony payments might be ordered in perpetuity. Depending on how the next few years play out, there are situations where alimony payments might be adjusted.


What Is Child Support?

Child support payments are very different from alimony. Child support payments refer to obligations that the non-custodial parent has to the child while he or she is in the custody of the other parent. Child support payments are used to make sure the child has the resources to support the lifestyle that he or she might have enjoyed prior to the divorce. Child support payments are ordered solely for the care of the child.

Child support helps the custodial parent purchase health care, clothing, food, education, and any other necessary items. Child support payments are determined by the state, and child support laws can vary from state to state. There are numerous factors that are involved in the calculation of child support payments. The gross income of the non-custodial payment and the cost of raising a child are the two main factors involved.

In general, child support payments terminate when the child is 18 because the non-custodial parent is done raising the child; however, there are other factors that could dictate changing child support payments and what this might mean for the child’s future. It is important for parents to understand exactly how child support payments can be used, so they do not get in trouble with the court system.

What Are the Differences?

Alimony and child support payments both involve monetary payments from one spouse to another; however, there are some notable differences. The factors used to calculate child support payments and alimony payments very significantly. Furthermore, child support payments are never going to continue in perpetuity because the child is eventually going to turn 18. In contrast, there is a chance that alimony payments could terminate after a certain number of years, or if the other spouse gets remarried.

Furthermore, alimony payments can be used for whatever that spouse sees fit. There are no guidelines regarding how alimony payments can be used. In contrast, child support payments have to go directly toward the care of a child. If they are spent in any other way, child support payments could be adjusted. Furthermore, the other parent could be in trouble if he or she misuses child support payments. That is why everyone needs to listen to the judge carefully regarding how payments might be used.

It is possible for alimony payments and child support payments to be adjusted depending on how the financial situations of each individual spouse play out.


How Is Alimony Calculated?

There are a lot of factors that will be involved in the calculation of alimony payments, although some may differ from state to state. Some of the most important factors that will play a role include:

The income of both spouses: This will be used to decide which direction the payments should go. There is also a chance that spousal support will not be ordered at all. The court will also take a look at the domestic level of responsibility of each individual spouse. For example, someone may not have worked for ten years, which can make it difficult for that person to get a job. If that is the case, the level of domestic responsibilities could be high, which is going to influence alimony payments.

The duration of the marriage: In general, the longer the marriage has been in place, the higher the alimony payments are going to be.

The health of the parties involved: If one of the parties is in poor health, he or she might not be able to get a job. This can impact his or her ability to support himself or herself.

We hope the information in this post has proven to useful to you. Be sure to check back for more articles just like this one, covering all manner of legal topics.

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