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What’s the difference between alimony and child support?

On Behalf of | Apr 7, 2022 | Child Support

When people get divorced in California, there are a lot of things that need to be sorted out, including child custody, visitation rights, and alimony payments. Alimony and child support are two of the most common yet misconstrued issues that come up during a divorce. So, what’s the difference between them?

What is alimony?

Alimony is a payment one spouse makes to the other after a divorce in order to help them get by financially. It’s typically paid on a monthly basis, and the amount can be based on a number of factors, including each spouse’s income and assets, the length of the marriage, and whether or not one spouse was primarily responsible for taking care of the home and children while the other worked.

Alimony is not automatically awarded in every divorce case – the couple has to go before a judge and make their case for why alimony should get paid. And, even if alimony gets awarded, it doesn’t have to be permanent – it can get terminated or reduced if the receiving spouse’s financial situation changes.

What is child support?

Child support is a payment one parent makes to the other to help cover the costs of raising their children. It’s typically paid on a monthly basis, and the amount is usually based on each parent’s income and how many children they have.

Child support is mandatory in every divorce case where there are minor children unless both parents agree to waive it. And, unlike alimony, it’s not usually modifiable; once the court sets the amount, it’s pretty much set in stone.

So, those are the basics of alimony and child support. As you can see, they’re both very different payments with different purposes. It’s very important to understand the differences before making any decisions about these payments during your divorce.