Child Support vs Alimony: The Differences Explained

Did you know that between 40-50% of married couples in the United States end up in divorce? If you are currently going through this difficult life change and are a bit confused with all the lingo such as child support vs alimony, you are in the right place. We have put together this short guide to share a little more about the difference between child support and alimony.

Keep reading to learn the answer to the question “is alimony and child support the same thing?”

What Is Alimony?

The easiest way to explain alimony is that this is spousal support. This is the amount that a judge makes one spouse pay the other spouse after the divorce. Alimony might be mandatory until the other spouse remarries or for a specific period of time set by the judge.

Alimony’s main goal is to help the spouse that is receiving it, maintain a similar lifestyle to the one they were used to living while they were married. Keep in mind that this is never granted automatically, the spouse that wants it and is making less money has to ask for it.

An experienced attorney such as will be able to help you navigate the paperwork and process of asking for alimony.

Main Difference

The use of the payment is the main difference between child support and alimony. With alimony, this benefits the spouse that is affected financially and the spouse may use it how they see fit. When it comes to child support the money paid is to be used to benefit the children that are affected.

Child support is to help with things for the children such as medical care, clothing, food, housing, etc.

Tax Treatment

Alimony payments that were finalized before December 31, 2018, are tax-deductible. This means that you are allowed to deduct the alimony you paid from your taxable income for that year. If you received alimony then you have to claim it on your tax return as taxable income.

If you finalized after December 31, 2018, then the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act got rid of the deduction for alimony payments and the requirement to claim it as taxable income.

Child support is not considered a taxable income for the person that receives the support because it is intended to benefit the kids. The parent paying it is not allowed to deduct it from their taxes either.

Feeling Like a Child Support vs Alimony Pro?

We hope that now that you are aware of child support vs alimony you can make an informed decision on which of these pertain to your specific situation and case. We understand that this is more than likely, a very difficult time, which is why we highly encourage you to contact an attorney with experience to help you in this case.

Did you find this blog post helpful? Please keep browsing around the rest of this section to catch all of our latest life tips.

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