Monday, January 25, 2016

Alimony and Child Support – What’s the Difference?

Alimony and Child Support – What’s the Difference?

Child support and alimony are often wrongly understood as the same thing, when in reality, they cover two very different, distinct types of support. The following brief descriptions should help to clear the confusion.


Based on the general notion that spouses have an equal duty to support one another – this may be in the shape of domestic duties, financial support or any other way in which a spouse is supported – and designed to cover potentially unfair division of assets, alimony is a payment made by one party to the other, according to the ruling by a court. While cases vary between jurisdictions, there are nationwide guidelines for courts to follow, and factors considered – among others – include:
Marriage duration
Both parties’ health
Domestic responsibilities taken by the recipient
Financial burden taken on by the recipient to assist the spouse
Alimony payments may be used by the recipient for whatever purpose they see fit.

Child Support

This is essentially the financial obligation a parent has towards the custodial parent in order to assist with/ provide for the care of a child/ children, and is enforced by relevant laws everywhere. Payments are calculated based on the custodial parent’s gross income and the cost of raising children, and may only be used to cover expenses related to the child’s needs – food, clothing, schooling, medical care, and so on.