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Gucciardo What Factors Influence Child Support Payments

Alimony vs. Child Support: What’s the Difference?

There are many challenges associated with going through a divorce. First and foremost, there’s an emotional toll when you separate from a romantic partner and realize the life and future you planned together is over. Trying to create stability and stay strong for children can make this process even more difficult.

In addition, you may face significant concerns over the changes to your financial situation. Whether you’re transitioning from a two-income household to two single-income households or you’re a stay-at-home parent with no current income of your own, the logistics of financing your life can feel overwhelming.

This is where spousal and child support can help. What are alimony and child support, and what can you expect following your Michigan divorce?

What Is Alimony?

Any marital assets you share with your spouse, such as the family home, vehicles, and bank accounts, are subject to a fair and equitable division of assets during divorce. But what about future earnings?

Alimony, also referred to as spousal support, is a type of court-ordered, recurring payment from one spouse to the other following divorce. It is ordered when the receiving spouse can prove financial need, and the other spouse is deemed capable of providing financial support. If spouses cannot agree on alimony payments, the court may decide for them.

Although there is no formula for alimony, the court calculates payments based on factors like the ages of both spouses, their ability to work, and the future well-being of each party. The duration of the marriage is also considered, as are the financial needs of the receiving spouse and the earning potential of the providing spouse.

In some cases, fault may be a factor in determining alimony, even though Michigan is a no-fault divorce state.

What Is Child Support?

Parents have legal responsibilities where children are concerned, so even if a parent doesn’t have custody or terminates legal rights, they may still be required to financially support their children. This is known as child support, and parents may come to an agreement on the amount, or the court may decide.

When the court calculates child support, several factors are considered, including the number of children, parenting time (per the child custody agreement), and the incomes of both parents. Other factors could include costs such as child care, education, health care, and other expenses.

Does One Type of Support Affect the Other?

Child support and alimony are calculated separately in Michigan, so one won’t necessarily impact the other. The difference is that child support calculations are mandatory and based on a formula, while spousal support is based on the discretion of the court. Alimony may also factor in the ability to pay, so in this regard, it’s possible that child support could end up being a consideration in the amount of alimony awarded.

Securing the Support You Need After Divorce

During a divorce, you must demonstrate your financial need to the court when petitioning for alimony or child support. With the help of a qualified attorney, you have the best chance of being awarded the support you need.

If you’re looking for legal guidance and representation when fighting for alimony and child support, contact the experienced professionals at Gucciardo Family Law now.

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We focus exclusively on family law matters so we are always available to answer your questions and help.

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