What You Need to Know About Alimony vs Child Support

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Would you consider yourself the “breadwinner” in your marriage?

If so, you may be obligated to pay a little extra as you and your spouse untangle your interwoven finances. While each state (and for that matter, each judge) will vary a little when deciding your level of obligation, your income helps establish what kind of support you’ll have to pay.

Let’s dive into the difference between alimony vs child support, as well as a few things you should generally expect.

What Is Alimony?

Alimony is financial support paid from one spouse to another after divorce. Payments may continue for a set amount of time, or they might continue indefinitely unless the receiving spouse remarries.

The purpose of alimony is to allow the receiving spouse to have the same quality of life they had during the marriage.

In addition to income, the amount of payment will vary based on how long the marriage lasted, the spouse’s living expenses, and the division of assets in the divorce. Note that alimony isn’t automatically given; one spouse has to request it in court.

What Is Child Support?

As the name suggests, child support is financial payments designed to help support any children resulting from the marriage. Child support payments can go toward clothing, food, housing, education, and more.

However, child support payments arranged by court order may vary. For example, if one parent has sole custody, the other may be required to pay a substantial amount of child support. If both parents share custody, it’s possible that neither will pay, or that the parent with a higher income will pay.

Can a Wife Get Alimony and Child Support?

The answer is yes, it’s possible for either parent to get both alimony and child support. However, the court will take both payments into account.

Child support is considered income, so it impacts the total amount of alimony a person can receive. A parent receiving child support will often receive less alimony than they would otherwise. The nuances can be confusing, but consulting with a local law firm may help you get a better idea of what you might expect in your situation.

How Is Alimony and Child Support Taxed?

Though they may seem similar, alimony and child support are treated differently when tax season comes around.

If you pay alimony, your payments are considered tax-deductible if your divorce was finalized before the end of 2018. On the other hand, if you receive alimony payments, they’re considered taxable income and must be claimed as such.

When it comes to child support payments, the payer can’t consider it tax-deductible, and the payment is not considered taxable income for the receiver either.

Consider Alimony vs Child Support Carefully

Although divorces can be fraught with emotion and you may be ready to get the proceedings behind you, it’s important to consider alimony vs child support carefully. These payments are designed to help both you and your spouse move forward and to support your children’s futures. Take care to work things out with a trusted attorney, and give the decision the time and weight it deserves.

Looking for more of the insights you need to make the most of your lifestyle? We’re here to help! Check out our other posts for more tips and advice.

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