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What is the Difference Between Alimony and Child Support?

If you had children with your spouse during your marriage and the children are still minors, both alimony and child support may be included in the divorce settlement. There are key differences between the two support payments, since you may be receiving both simultaneously depending on your circumstances. Alimony is known also as spousal support and can be received a one-time lump sum amount, or monthly payments. This is to ensure that the lower-earning partner is supported in the same way they were during the marriage. It does not require that you had children during your marriage in order for you to receive it. Payment usually ends when the supported spouse remarries, begins cohabiting with someone else, or has a child outside of the relationship. These rules may differ depending on the state in which you live and what the court has ordered. Child support defined as support money paid by the primary parent of a child or children to the secondary parent. This is due to the primary parent paying for most of the child’s clothing, food, and shelter. These payments come to a stop when the child reaches 18, or in some states, 21 years of age. 

 

Key Differences 

There are many things that separate alimony and child support besides the reason an individual can receive it. The goal of child support is to actually help the child receive care, whereas alimony is solely meant to aid the former spouse. Child support requirements include that the child must be from the marriage; alimony does not. Child support may be paid by the higher-earning individual to the lower-earning individual, or the lower-earning individual to the higher-earning individual because it is contingent on custody. Alimony is taxable and child support is not. If you are late on child support payments, you may face jail time or criminal charges. Missing one alimony payment is not considered to be a crime. Alimony is determined based on state laws (specifically the state the couple lived in when they were married. The idea behind alimony is to support the former spouse so they have the opportunity to maintain their former standard of living. In many child support cases, one spouse stayed home to take care of the children and the other worked to support the family. The spouse that stayed home is more likely to receive money so they can take care of their children and himself or herself in a similar way. In order for alimony to be given, many states require the marriage lasted at least 10 years. With child support, the only requirement by law is that the two individuals had a child together. For answers to your questions, contact a family law attorney, like a family lawyer in Lake Forest, IL, today.

 

Thank you to the experts at Hurst, Robin & Kay, LLC., for their input into family law.