Ordinarily, when a court orders alimony or spousal support, and child support in your divorce or support proceeding, the judge will order separate orders: one for alimony, one for child support. Though these two (2) orders may be a part of one (1) final order they are nevertheless two distinct orders that must be followed, and can be breached independently of each other. In fact, aside from the fact that different considerations go into the determination of alimony vs. child support, enforcement is one of the major reasons why these two orders are separate. There are much stronger ways to enforce a child support order than an order containing only alimony.
Aside from enforcement, child support and alimony payments operate differently. Child support is paid to the custodial parent (one who has primary/residential custody of the child) by the noncustodial parent to raise the child. On the other hand, alimony is paid from one former spouse to the other that needs and/or deserves it based on the marriage and financial circumstances of the parties. In other words, the party paying child support may also be receiving, or paying, alimony.
Moreover, alimony payments and child support payments are treated separately for tax purposes. While alimony is considered income and must be reported by the ex-spouse receiving it (and is deductible by the ex-spouse paying), child support is neither taxable nor deductible.
For this reason, it only makes sense that since time immemorial, courts have been awarding child support to be paid separately and apart from alimony.
However, the Virginia Court of Appeals recently affirmed that this is not always the case and, is not required by law. In O’Reilly v. O’Reilly, the Court found acceptable that the ex-spouse and custodial father only had to make one monthly payment to his ex-wife for alimony minus the amount of child support the ex-wife owed him each month as the custodial parent.
Though this decision may seem minor and merely a convenient way for eliminating a monthly transaction, it has broader implications. Because alimony is taxed but child support is not, the former couple in O’Reilly will now benefit from lower alimony payments and a correspondingly lower amount of taxable income.
If you are going through a divorce and are unsure about how to decide issues of spousal and child support, or have any other family law issue, you should contact a knowledgeable family law attorney right away. The experienced family law attorneys at the DiPietro Family Law Group have decades of experience handling all types of family law matters and are here to help you.
Contact one of the DiPietro family law attorneys today to schedule a consultation with a caring professional at (888) 530-4374.