Child Support Vs. Alimony

When going through a divorce, there are terms being thrown around all the time, and two of the most commonly heard ones are child support and alimony. This is mainly because everyone is usually concerned over money during times like this, and rightfully so as divorce can be insanely expensive. Even though child support and alimony are commonly heard terms, there is a lot of misconceptions as to what these mean exactly and what you can do about them if you find yourself making enormous payments.

First, let’s talk about child support. Child support is mean only to be used for purposes of raising your children when you are not there to do so yourself in person. It is meant to maintain a standard of living between both households and to ensure that the child is receiving adequate care no matter of the circumstances of the parent they are residing with. It is NOT meant to be extra spending money for your Ex to use as she sees fit. Child support also typically, though not always, has a defined end point of when your child or children turn 18.

Alimony, on the other hand, is meant to be used by your Ex explicitly for her purposes. The determining factor in setting an amount for alimony is different for every divorcing couple and usually includes factors such as the education level of the spouse seeking alimony, previous and current jobs, the ability to maintain their current residence, etc. There is also usually an end point to alimony payments, though it is usually much more subjective than with the clear-cut age factor in child support. Usually remarriage is one clear point, but the judge will take all the previously mentioned factors into consideration as well as any other factors you make available when your alimony is set.

When you are submitting your financial paperwork during this process, it is crucial that you only submit your regular salary and do not include bonuses and overtime money earned. We do not recommend this to get you in trouble or lie to the court, but rather than these financial earnings are not consistent and are not controllable by you. If you submit them to the court, it is all but guaranteed that the judge will include them with the regularly reported earnings and set a higher amount of alimony and/or child support than you might otherwise receive.