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How do child support and alimony differ?

On Behalf of | May 11, 2022 | Divorce

If you are going through a divorce in Texas, you might find yourself negotiating support payments. Whether you will be paying or receiving support, you need to understand the types and how they differ.

Understanding alimony and child support

Alimony, or spousal support, is provided to a spouse after a divorce to help that spouse maintain the standard of living they were used to during the marriage. Child support, on the other hand, is support meant to cover the needs of the child, including their housing, medical and other needs. Depending on the specifics of each case, child support might be ordered by the court. However, alimony is not automatically ordered by the court and must be requested by the spouse who needs it.

Factors that impact alimony payments

There are several factors that courts take into consideration when deciding to award alimony. Some of these include:
• Each spouse’s age and living expenses
• Each spouse’s income and employment options
• The divorce settlement, including the division of property
• How long the marriage lasted

Factors that impact child support payments

Similarly, there are factors that might impact whether child support is ordered. These include:
• Each parent’s income
• The number of children living in each parent’s home
• The amount of time the child spends with each parent
• The age of the child and their particular needs

Tax Implications

Currently, the tax implications for both types of support have some similarities, since tax rules regarding alimony payments changed on Jan. 1, 2019. Alimony and child support payments cannot be deducted from income by the parent paying the support. At the same time, these payments are not reported as income by the parent who receives them.

You should understand how, why and for how long support payments are awarded, even before you begin negotiations. Knowing this can help you plan for the future.