Alimony vs Child Support: All You Need to Know

Child Support Payments Alimony vs Child Support: All You Need to Know

Alimony vs Child Support: All You Need to Know

The alimony vs child support debate is a salient issue in a divorce proceeding because it carries financial implications. You may be entitled to one or both financial settlements when getting divorced. If you're unaware of the differences between child support and alimony, it could put you at a financial disadvantage.

Unraveling the alimony vs child support mystery is vital in getting what you rightly deserve following your divorce. Each of these payments addresses different needs and is meant to improve the quality of your life.

Dig in as we explore the key differences between child support and alimony, legal obligations, and how DoNotPay can help you get what you deserve.

What's the Difference Between Alimony and Child Support?

To compare alimony vs child support, you need to be clear on the basics of alimony in a divorce.

What is Alimony?Also known as spousal support, alimony is the money paid by one spouse to another following a divorce. The money is meant to help the receiving spouse maintain a similar lifestyle they were accustomed to while they were married.  A judge may order you to pay alimony for a specific time or until your former partner remarries. Alimony isn't automatically granted during a divorce; one must ask for it during the divorce proceedings.

The amount of alimony depends on various factors, including:

  • Income and employment situation of both spouses
  • Age of each spouse
  • Asset division
  • Each spouse's cost of living
  • The reason leading to marriage dissolution
  • Each party's financial situation
  • Duration of the union
IRS Rules on Alimony PaymentsThe tax treatment of alimony payments depends on when your divorce was finalized and if you're paying or receiving.

Alimony payments for a divorce finalized before December 31, 2018, are tax-deductible. On the other hand, the spouse receiving the alimony payments must declare them as taxable income. The Tax Cuts and Job Act eliminated this provision for divorce finalized after December 31, 2018.

Child SupportChild support is a form of payment intended to benefit the children of divorced parents. The money is designed to provide for the children by meeting their basic needs. Child support goes towards medical care, housing, clothing, food, and other necessities.
IRS Rules on Child SupportUnlike alimony, child support is neither taxable income nor tax-deductible. There are no tax reporting requirements when receiving child support. However, the custodial parent can claim the children as dependents on their tax report.

How is Child Support Determined?

The Federal Child Enactment Act requires each state to publish guidelines for calculating child support. Each state uses a unique formula to calculate how much a noncustodial parent should pay in child support.

Judges use these formulas to determine how much money you'll pay following a divorce. There are plenty of online child support calculators to help you calculate the amount.

Various factors determine how much you pay for child support, but it mostly boils down to your income. Some states consider both incomes while the rest consider noncustodial parents' income.

Some of the critical factors when calculating child support include:

  • If a parent is receiving child support or alimony from previous marriages
  • If a parent has alimony or child support obligations of a prior relationship
  • If a parent cares for children from an earlier or subsequent marriage.
  • Who is paying for health insurance and the cost
  • If a custodial parent pays for daycare and the cost
  • The children's age

How is Child Support Paid?

The child support order determines the frequency of child support payments. Most orders require the noncustodial parent to make monthly payments.

When a state agency coordinates child support, the child support payment is withheld from the noncustodial parent's income. The money is paid to the state agency for distribution to the recipient. However, that's not usually the case.

Some parents opt to send the money directly to the custodial parents. While convenient, this method comes with the risk of default. The paying parent may fall behind on payment, leading to child support arrears.

Claiming Back Child Support

The terms of a court order are clear and binding. Your ex-spouse should abide by the terms as spelled out. They should send the child support on the stipulated schedule.

If a noncustodial parent falls behind on payment, you have every legal right to demand back child support you're owed.

Claim Back Child Support by Yourself

If your ex-spouse stops remitting child support, you should take these steps:

  1. Try resolving the matter amicably: Remind them through texts, emails, or phone calls. If they don't play ball, you should file an official complaint.
  2. File a demand letter: Draft a demand letter detailing the back child support they owe, legal obligations, and consequences.
  3. Contact the authorities: Find the local child support agency and lodge your case with them. These agencies can track down your ex-spouse and get them to co-operate.
  4. Take legal action: Taking legal action is a measure of last resort if your ex-partner proves uncooperative. The case can be heard in a civil or criminal court, and they may carry steep sentences and fines.

Claiming Back Child Support With DoNotPay

Going through a divorce can trigger all sorts of hard feelings between spouses. Your ex-spouse may be hellbent on making your life hard and miserable. They may fall behind on child support or engage in all manner of shenanigans to avoid sending what they owe.

But you mustn't put up with such antics. At DoNotPay, we understand the crucial role that child support plays in raising healthy, well-rounded children. We've created a unique solution that makes it easy to get all the back child support you're owed, minus the hassle.

Our child support solution can help you file a demand letter for all the late child support in 3 simple steps.

How to file a demand letter for late child support payments using DoNotPay:

  1. Search child support on DoNotPay and enter the details of the person who owes the payments.


  2. Tell us more about the payment schedule, including the amount and frequency of the payments, the last payment they made and number of missed payments, and how much they owe you in total.


  3. Confirm your contact information and select whether you want us to mail or email the letter on your behalf. Choose how you would like to receive the payment and verify your signature.


And that's it! DoNotPay will file the demand letter on your behalf. If you don't hear back or see the payment within 2 weeks of delivery, you can escalate the case to court.

What Else Can DoNotPay Do?

Besides offering insights into the spousal support vs child support debate, DoNotPay can help resolve any matter relating to child support.

We understand the challenges of paying child support, and we are out to help you avoid common pitfalls. Whether you're owed child support or need help lowering the amount you pay, we can help.

With a few clicks on the DoNotPay website, we can help you learn about:

DoNotPay offers much more to make your life easier. Contact us today to explore our range of services.

Want your issue solved now?