Alimony Vs. Child Support

Many people are unaware of the distinction between child support and alimony. Child support is an amount of money that one parent (usually the father) pays to help cover the living expenses of a child. Alimony, on the other hand, is a payment made by one spouse to another following a divorce. Though both payments are often ordered during divorce proceedings, they serve very different purposes and can’t be exchanged for each other if you’re uncertain of your rights or if you disagree with how they were calculated.

You can seek the legal assistance of a Wisconsin divorce alimony lawyer to help you get maximum alimony as needed by your financial condition.

Child Support

Child support is an amount of money required to be paid following a divorce. It is usually calculated based on the income and assets of both parents. The specific amount due usually depends on the amount of time the parents spend with their child; if a parent does not live with the child, then he will not have to support that child financially. Almost all states have guidelines for calculating how much money must be paid in support, but it could be cheaper or more expensive than what is calculated in your state. If you have been ordered to pay child support and do not pay as required, there are penalties you may face from your state’s court system.


Alimony is a payment made from one spouse to the other following a divorce. It is an amount of money that is added to the other spouse’s income and subtracted from his alimony payments. Alimony is usually paid for a fixed period of time and it ends when the recipient remarries, finds a job without requiring additional income, or if no more payments are required.

Usually, alimony ends when one spouse remarries but this does not always happen and sometimes spousal support can continue indefinitely. There are also circumstances where a person will be ordered to pay only the alimony portion of their divorce settlement while continuing to receive child support.

Common Differences Between Child Support and Alimony

Child support, unlike alimony, is sometimes ordered to be paid by a non-custodial parent. The non-custodial parent is the one that does not have primary custody of his or her child. Alimony can be received only by a former spouse who is often referred to as a “dependent spouse.” A dependent spouse, also known as the “receiving” party, has not received half of his or her marital assets and must rely on the alimony payments for income.