Understanding the Difference Between Child Support and Alimony

Understanding the Difference Between Child Support and Alimony

If you are considering divorce, or are in the process of filing divorce, the process to separate your life from the person you are married to can be incredibly challenging. There will be a lot to sort out. When contending with this significant change, emotions can run high. If you are the person who makes less money financially or stays home to care for the children, you may be concerned over how you will be able to support yourself without the assistance of your spouse. Child support and alimony, also known as spousal support, are two forms of assistance that may be available. However, it’s important to be aware that they serve two very different purposes. Contacting a lawyer can provide guidance in understanding the difference between the two. 

Child Support

Child support is a benefit provided by one parent to help care for the child that they share. This primarily comes into play when parents are no longer in a relationship together. Parents are not required to have been married in order to obtain child support for their children. Often, child support is paid to the parent with custodial custody of the child. This is because they are likely to be shouldering the greater financial expense of caring for the child. Child support is meant to be used for: 

  • Housing
  • Food
  • Childcare
  • Education
  • Extracurricular activities

Child support is meant to help reduce the impact that a divorce may have on the child’s standard of living. It’s important to be aware that child support may be required regardless of whether the parent has contact with the child. The only exception to this is in the event that the parent has relinquished their rights with the court. A lawyer with experience in this area of practice will be able to assist in matters involving child custody and child support. For help, don’t hesitate in contacting a legal professional to take action. 


Alimony is different from child support in that it is meant to support the spouse following a divorce. It’s important to be aware that alimony may be obtained on a temporary basis until the divorce is finalized. Once the divorce process is complete, alimony may end, or in some cases, may be granted on a more permanent basis. Alimony is meant to assist the lesser earning spouse to maintain the same standard of living they had during the marriage. There are a number of factors that may be considered, including:

  • Your living expenses
  • The age of each party
  • Whether you have a disability
  • The income of each party
  • The other party’s ability to pay

The process of divorce can be incredibly stressful, especially if you were financially dependent upon your spouse. Because of this, you may require alimony or child support. To learn whether you may have a case to request alimony, contact a lawyer for counsel. 

The Support of a Divorce Lawyer

Child support and alimony may be an essential component to a divorce, especially for the person who is dependent upon their spouse to support their standard of living. When enduring divorce, it’s only natural that you might have a number of questions regarding whether you are entitled to these forms of support. For answers and legal guidance, contact a lawyer, like a divorce lawyer from Pioletti, Pioletti, & Nichols Attorneys at Law, as soon as possible to ensure that your interests are kept at the forefront.