During a divorce case, the two spouses will typically break down assets and debts and split them evenly between the two. Things get a little more complicated when alimony and child support are involved.
Learn about the differences between alimony and child support. See how the two intertwine with each other and how to seek out the payment agreement for the options available. Once you have a clear understanding of the two, you will have the skills to communicate with your lawyer and understand the process much easier.
What Is Alimony?
Also known as spousal support, alimony is the payments made to a former spouse to support the same lifestyle and living conditions once shared before as a couple. Alimony is often a request made by the person who did not work or made less as part of the couple.
Along with general income, a judge will look at other aspects of the financial situation, including other forms of money and savings. For example, a person could have a trust with monthly payments that help the family get by. With all of the information, a judge can accurately calculate a fair alimony payment.
What Is Child Support?
Child support includes financial payments for a parent who obtains the main custody of the child. While alimony payments are geared towards housing and quality of life, child support is calculated for a child’s basic needs including medical needs, clothing, school needs, and housing items like beds and dressers.
The child support is also a monthly payment determined by the judge and based upon the age of the child, the incomes of the parents, and the presented needs within a case.
What Do Payments Involve?
When a divorce case includes both alimony and child support payments, the two impact each other in multiple ways. For many families, an alimony payment may be moved off the table to focus on receiving a maximum child support payment. The removal of alimony payment can be used as a negotiation tactic to help with other aspects of the divorce.
For example, you could drop any alimony payments in favor of keeping the family home. If you do proceed with both the alimony payment and child support payment, the child support payment will always come first in the courts.
If a judge calculates a spouse can afford $1,500 a month in payments and $1,500 a month is needed for child support payments, then no money would be allocated to the alimony payments. The child support always holds precedent so the alimony payment would include anything leftover from the affordability.
When Do Payments End?
Both alimony and child support payments have end-of-cycle options. Alimony will end if the spouse receiving the payments remarries, but the process is not always automatic. A family law attorney will need to file termination papers; otherwise, the payments would continue. The situations change by state but are all relatively the same.
A majority of states will end child support requirements when a child turns 18 or graduates high school. In some cases, a parent may apply for post-secondary educational support, if a child attends college and a parent needs to help pay for tuition, boarding, and other fees. Just like alimony, requests must be made to end child support payments.
For both alimony and child support, payment modifications can be made based on income levels. If the non-custodial parent has a major decrease in income, a modification may be requested to lower the child support amount. A judge will run new calculations and consider the changes. A lawyer will also represent the case and push for lower payments.
Contact us at the Law Offices of Lynda Latta, LLC, to find out more details about your divorce case. We have dealt with alimony and child support cases for years, representing clients and fighting for what they deserve.