The Difference Between Alimony and Child Support

The cost of divorce can be daunting. For many divorcees, especially parents, legal fees are the least of their worries—figuring out payments such as alimony and child support can get to be quite a burden if not calculated and enforced correctly. And yet the difference between the two payments is something not all divorcees know going into it. According to Yahoo! Voices, “in the eyes of the almighty Internal Revenue Service, alimony and child support are as different as night and day.” Child support is paid and received in a realm outside of taxable income, and there are no tax ramifications for either the recipient or the giver. Alimony, on the other hand, “has tax implications for both the payer and the recipient,” according to Yahoo!. Alimony is a payment structured to help the non-breadwinner spouse, who may have trouble regaining his or her financial footing after a particularly difficult split. According to Yahoo!, failing to “pay court ordered child support payments is breaking the law and committing a criminal act… the same remedies do not apply to being late with alimony payments.”Many states are currently considering alimony reform because many , according to Forbes, now view lifetime alimony a “relic from the days when very few wives worked outside the home.” Many ex-husbands are responsible for paying their ex-spouses even if she has a steady income, even if he remarries. One man, as he wrote for CNN News , actually had to declare bankruptcy because the Massachusetts court that sanctioned his alimony payments ordered him to pay nearly $900 a week, for the rest of his life. As a result, the man began an organization called, which has helped to draw national attention to the growing alimony problem. Alimony, according to, isn't determined by a scale similar to that of child support. “If the spouses can't agree on an amount and payment scheme, the judge makes a decision,” according to If you or someone you know has questions about alimony or child support, the most important first step is to contact a dedicated Illinois family law attorney today.
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