Taking a Closer Look at Alimony and Child Support

You will receive alimony and child support as a part of your divorce settlement if you had children with your ex spouse. Depending on your situation, it is possible that you may be entitled to both of these simultaneously. Because of this, it is important to understand the difference between them.  

Alimony

Alimony is when your spouse has a financial obligation to you following the divorce. Alimony is also known as spousal support and can be ordered by the court. The purpose for alimony is to support the spouse who makes less money during this period of time. It is paid out differently depending on the situation. A spouse receiving alimony may receive payments over time or, a lump sum. Having children is not a requirement in order to receive alimony and can also be ordered at the time of the separation. Alimony can be ordered for an undetermined amount of time. The exception to this would be if the spouse receiving support is remarried or lives with someone else. It’s important to always check the details around this in the state you reside in as the rules can vary.    

Child Support

When parents divorce, the noncustodial parent must pay money for the care of the child to the parent with physical custody. Child support helps to pay for the child’s’ needs and lifestyle such as daycare or camps, food, clothing, mortgage, etc.

What is the Difference Between the Two?

There are many differences between alimony and child support as they are two completely different settlements. Although they are both designed to provide financial support to someone, the similarities stop there:

  • The main difference between the two is that alimony is for the spouse and it does not matter if you have children. Child support is for the benefit of the child.
    • Alimony is taxable and child support is not.
    • While missing an alimony payment is not a crime, there can be serious fallout if a child support payment is missed.
    • While alimony is the responsibility of the person earning higher wages to help support the person earning less, in child support situations this does not matter. In child support cases, the person paying is contingent upon who has physical custody of the child.
  • You must have children from the marriage in order to receive child support from the spouse.

The court is responsible for making a determination that is in the best interest of the child. The purpose for child support is to ensure that, despite their parent’s divorce, they are still financially cared for in an attempt to pose as little impact on the child as possible. If you or someone you know is having difficulties getting an ex-spouse to pay child support, it may be in your best interest to contact child support lawyers Plano, TX residents trust.


Thank you to our contributors at Scroggins Law Group  for the above information.