Divorce is never easy, and splitting finances with a former spouse can be especially challenging. Some couples may decide to share custody of their children and what they pay in child support will depend on each parent’s income and parenting time. Other couples may decide to award one parent sole custody of the children and pay alimony to support that individual instead.
In today’s post, we’re going to talk about the differences between alimony and child support, when each is most commonly awarded, who pays for whom in either case, as well as how these factors are determined. A Wisconsin divorce lawyer can help you know more about child support and alimony.
For now, let us look into more about differences between alimony and child support.
What is Alimony? How is Alimony Determined?
Alimony is money paid by one spouse to the other for a period of time, with the intent of making sure the other spouse is financially stable after a divorce. It is separate from child support, so even if one parent pays child support directly to the children’s other parent, there could still be an award of alimony.
The amount of alimony and its length can also differ depending on factors such as marital standing and contributions to the marriage. The decision to award alimony is entirely up to the judge, and there is no set formula or calculation. It doesn’t even have to be mentioned in the divorce agreement that alimony may be awarded; any court order on alimony will be made regardless of what was agreed upon at the meeting.
What is Child Support? How is Child Support Determined?
Child support is money paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent to help cover basic living expenses for their children. A child support order protects children from being financially exploited by one parent while they are growing up, and it helps to ensure that the children have access to all the necessities they need while they are economically dependent on one custodial parent. These include food, clothing and shelter.
In many cases, child support is simply what the custodial parent earns more than what they need to pay for themselves. A child support order can also include other expenses, such as health care costs, day care expenses and even toys.
Child support is determined based on proven income, which can come from the parents’ paychecks or other sources. Some states have a formula that determines the amount of child support.