difference between child support and alimony

What Is the Difference Between Child Support and Alimony?

Having a successful marriage is a significant achievement today. The current studies show that 40-50% of marriages end in divorce. This is a number that has religiously remained stagnant over the years.

In divorce cases, communal life will end. However, the financial relationship between the two parties will not end.

Are you involved in child support or alimony? If you’re receiving or paying for support, you need to understand the difference between child support and alimony and why it matters.

Read on to learn more.

Child Support and Alimony

The two of you must attend to the needs of the children you had together even after separation. There will also be the issue of spousal support after separation.

If you have children together, your life will constantly intertwine. You must relate financially and see the life of those children. In this case, you must ensure that the children get the best life through financial contributions.

What Is Child Support?

What Is Child Support

Child support is the financial contribution paid to support a child in a divorced marriage. The money is specifically meant to help raise the child. Child support laws demand the parent in primary custody to receive the payment for child support.

Such parents spend much time with the child, hence they have more demands for childcare. Giving them such financial support will help them to raise the children with ease.

Most child support laws are state-dependent. In this case, the financial contribution will end when the last child has reached 18 or 21 years. After that age, the financial contribution that the other parent makes is not demanded by the law.

What Is Alimony?

In simpler terms, alimony is spousal support. It refers to payments made from one party to the other after separation. Paying alimony helps the other party to maintain the same standard of living after divorce.

When one party gains more money than the other, the court will institute automatic spousal support. In this case, the person earning more money will be paying spousal support. The judge will determine the amount for spousal support.

What Is the Difference Between Child Support And Alimony?

As a parent, chances are you will engage in a financial tussle with your spouse after divorce. As such, you’ve probably equipped yourself with details regarding alimony and child support. However, understanding the differences between the two payments is also a necessity.

1. The Purpose of Payment

Child support laws demand that the money paid by the other party to help the child must be used for such purposes only. The other party should not benefit from any penny that the other parent has contributed for child support. However, spending spousal funds is not controlled by any laws.

In most cases, having a structured budget seems to be the only way to control such funds. The paying party will usually follow the items listed on the budget to see that the money is used in the right way. Some of the payments that child support can handle include food, housing, healthcare, and clothing.

However, there is no requirement on how the spousal maintenance money is used. The party receiving such funds has the freedom to use the money without any demands. This has remained a major point of discussion with no solution in sight.

2. Taxation

Any payment has tax implications in the country. People who make various types of legal payments usually demand tax deductibles, while those who receive such payments must declare income and pay taxes. This is the same case for both alimony and child support.

However, there are some differences between the two. For child support, the party paying such amounts deducts it from payable taxes. This means that they will be getting some taxable relief.

The party receiving child support is not required to declare an income on the same amount. The law defines that such money belongs to the child. Therefore, the party in custody does not have any tax obligations regarding child support.

In alimony, the paying party may claim taxable benefits. Therefore, the amount paid for spousal support will be deducted from the taxable income. This means that they will be getting some financial benefits.

However, the recipient party will have to declare payments as income. The tax laws demand that individuals may receive spousal support as employment income. Therefore, they have to pay the standard taxes that any other employed person is paying.

3. When To Pay Child and Spousal Support

When To Pay Child and Spousal Support

Child support is a legal requirement for either party. The primary custodian is not required to pay any child support. However, the other party must make sure that they contribute to the child’s well-being regularly.

The court does not leave any ambiguity in this requirement. There are specific payment periods through which child support is paid. In most cases, the money is paid on a monthly basis.

The party with main custody can enforce the payment of child support from the other party. Freedom Law gives you an opportunity to enforce child support payment if the other party is not paying.

Although spousal support is legally abiding, sometimes it might not be necessary. The two parties might agree to leave the issue of spousal support after separation. However, the party with lower income has an option to enforce alimony payment if they wish.

4. Legal Term for Payments

Generally, child support is subject to state laws. Most states require child support continue until the last child reaches 18 years. However, some states demand the payments continue until the last child reaches 21 years.

The party that has main custody may demand that the term for child support should get extended in special circumstances. For example, if the child is joining college, child support will now include tuition fees.

In spousal support, there is no specific date for terminating such payments. The two parties might agree on how to terminate the payment. However, the law demands that spousal support ends when the other party gets sustainable income that will maintain the same standard of living.

However, some prevailing circumstances may lead to the termination of spousal support. For example, a loss of a job means that spousal support is significantly reduced. In some instances, such payments may be terminated by the court.

5. Alimony and Child Support Amounts

As highlighted above, the amount demanded for child support is straightforward. The number of children and their financial requirements will obviously be the major determinants for the amount to pay. However, child support may also be determined by the financial well-being of the party with primary custody.

However, determining financial support for spousal support is a complex undertaking. Generally, the monetary income will be the major point of focus. If they have a lower income, the other party will supplement the lower income.

Besides the financial income, there are other major factors that determine the amount to pay. The standard of living while in marriage is a major factor. A better living standard means huge payments.

Another major issue of concern is the number of assets that the party gets after separation. The judge may determine that the assets received are sufficient to pay spousal maintenance. Sometimes physical and mental health may come into play when determining spousal maintenance requirements.

Modern Alimony

Modern Alimony

Several decades ago, the amount paid for spousal support was highly determined by the cause of divorce. If a woman sued for infidelity, she could use the same grounds for alimony payments. The limited opportunities for women played a major role in determining the alimony amounts.

However, in modern society, alimony laws have significantly changed. Such changes seem to have been brought about by the fact that parties are currently divorcing without fault. No-fault-divorces may not enforce the other party to pay spousal maintenance.

In some situations, the court will analyze other additional factors. For example, the increased professional opportunities for women means that they can get financial income to support their living standards after divorce.

Are You Struggling to Get the Difference Between Child Support and Alimony?

Divorce matters are complex legal issues that an average person may not be able to understand. That is why you need to consider working with a reputable attorney when handling divorce. An experienced lawyer will guide you on the difference between child support and alimony.

They will help to ensure that your children or former partner have the best life, while at the same time ensuring that you do not suffer financially.

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