4 Questions About Child Support and Spousal Support
If you’re separated or thinking about divorce, you may have many questions about child and spousal support. Laws vary by state, so it’s important to talk to an attorney to know the specifics in your jurisdiction to understand how child support and spousal support will affect your finances.
Are You Entitled to Spousal Support?
Spousal support is also called “alimony.” Typically, it’s paid to the spouse with less financial standing in a divorce. Spousal support is not automatic. The spouse must ask for this payment. The judge has standing to approve it or not. Spousal support can be given for a specified period of time or it can be ordered indefinitely. Many factors determine your entitlement to spousal support, including your income, the length of the marriage, and the spouse’s income.
Child Support Is for the Child
Child support is different from alimony in that it is intended to benefit the child. It may automatically be included in the divorce if children are involved. Parents cannot waive child support for the child, but payments may be waived by the court if both parents share custody and expenses fairly evenly. Generally, child support is paid until the child reaches 18 and graduates from high school, but some states require the paying parent to provide support until the child graduates college.
How Do You File for Child or Spousal Support?
Child support and spousal support should be part of your divorce documents. You should ask the court where you file for divorce or separation to determine child support and spousal support. If you are on good terms with the other parent, you may be able to negotiate payments without the court getting involved, but it’s always a good idea to make that part of the proceedings to have a way to enforce the agreement.
Is Child Support or Spousal Taxable?
Spousal support is tax deductible if the agreement was made before December 31, 2018. For later divorces, spousal support payments are not taxable. If you receive spousal support, the same rules apply. If the agreement was prior to December 31, 2018, you must include alimony as taxable income. For later agreements, spousal support is no longer taxable. Child support is not taxed on either parent — the receiver or the payor.
If you need information about child support and spousal support guidelines in your state, speak to a lawyer, like a family law lawyer from May Law, LLP, to take the best course of action for your situation.