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Alimony and Child Support

Divorce can be just as much an economic issue as an emotional one. While many people poke fun at divorce attorneys, a good one might be able to save you more dollars than you realize, while a bad one might cost you thousands, and that's not just in the initial settlement.

Many tax issues for divorce revolve around the actual divorce agreement. The two main financial issues that most people deal with in divorce are alimony and child support. Child support payments are not taxable to the person receiving the payments, and are likewise not deductible by the person making the payments. Alimony payments, on the other hand, are completely different. If a payment qualifies as alimony, that payment is taxable to the person receiving the payment, and deductible by the person making the payment.

Payments that are fixed as child support payments are not considered alimony. A payment is fixed as child support if a divorce ruling specifically designates an amount or part of a payment as support for a child. This amount may vary from time to time. Child support payments are neither tax deductible by the payer nor taxable to the payee. A payment may be treated as fixed child support even if other separate payments are specifically designated as child support.

Each individual state has guidelines which describe what child support must include, unlike alimony. Your own agreement may vary from the guidelines in your state, but only in rare circumstances is it permissible for the total amount spent on your child to be lower than the guidelines' minimum. In most situations, couples find that the minimum amounts described in the guidelines are affordable, and many of the divorce cases mediated find parents are willing to commit more than the state requires so that they can provide more than the minimum for their children.

When it comes to alimony and child support, if there is very little money or income, child support will be considered first. The best interest of the child is an important principle in divorce law, so alimony is only discussed after the children's needs have been provided for. As mentioned previously, the IRS treats child support and alimony very differently.

Child support's main intention is to help pay for any expenses involved in taking proper care of your children. This would include household expenses such as food, rent, electricity, and other general expenses such as transportation, laundry, and repairs. You are not required to account for how the child support is being spent; however, it is a good idea to keep records, since that will help you keep track of whether the amount you are receiving is enough to cover the necessary expenses.

Alimony and child support are important for a single parent when getting their feet steady and starting their new life. An experienced divorce attorney can help ease the somewhat complicated divorce proceedings to make sure you and your children are provided for, and can continue on with your lives.


If you would like to consult with a divorce attorney and learn more about alimony and child support, please contact us.

More information on law:

Issues Regarding Child Custody

Child Custody Rights

Child custody rights may be shared by both parents or, primary child custody rights may be awarded to one parent or legal guardian. Since the 1970s the family court will award child custody rights contingent with the best interests of the child.

Custody for Fathers

Child custody for fathers following a divorce is one of the most important aspects of a dissolving marriage. Throughout history the legal presumptions about child custody for fathers has changed significantly. Before the twentieth century children were regarded as the property of their father. Under common law, child custody for fathers was commonly awarded, as children were considered a father's rightful property. A major shift occurred after this period in history, as family courts came to favor mothers in child custody cases. It was presumed that under normal circumstances, children did better when placed in the sole custody of their mothers.

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