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What are the differences between alimony and child support?

On Behalf of | Nov 10, 2022 | Child Support |

After a married couple with young children gets a divorce in Maryland, the court orders alimony and child support. These are only two of the financial matters that are settled once things are finalized. There are notable differences between them.

Understanding alimony

Alimony is a regular payment made by a person to their former spouse following a divorce. It’s also referred to as spousal support and is court-ordered as a way to help the former spouse financially get back on their feet. At the same time, it allows that person to enjoy the same standard of living as during the marriage. During the divorce process, a spouse must request alimony from the court.

Child support explained

Child support is a regular payment made by one parent to the other to provide for their child’s needs and standard of living. Things covered through these payments include food, education, clothing, medical care and extracurricular activities. Courts order the parent who earns a higher income to pay child support to the one who earns less.

Differences between alimony and child support

Although both alimony and child support are intended to allow for maintaining the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage, they have certain differences. The duration of alimony is dependent on a few factors, including the length of the marriage.

Child support usually remains in place until the child turns 18. However, it could last until age 19 if they are still in high school and up until they graduate. Child support orders also end if the child becomes emancipated before their 18th birthday or if the payor relinquishes their parental rights.

Both alimony and child support can benefit people after a divorce. Former spouses and children can continue the standard of living they’ve come to expect.


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