Child support and spousal support (or alimony) are commonly lumped together, but in fact they are subject to substantially different rules.  Child support, which is intended to provide for the needs of dependent children, is determined by way of a formula which takes both parents’ incomes and certain expenses into account.  Although the formula provided by the Child Support Guidelines can lead to some infuriating results, child support orders generally cannot be contested.

Alimony is intended to maintain the living standards of a dependent spouse following separation.  A determination of alimony can be highly subjective and, where alimony is contested, success or failure can depend heavily on the clarity of the economic argument made for or against.

Where the parties’ respective incomes and marginal income tax rates differ significantly, child support awards are commonly combined with alimony in order to take advantage of the tax-deductible status of alimony payments.  By carefully planning the tax consequences of child support and alimony, it is possible to increase the amount of support received while reducing the tax-effected amount paid.  Once again, Attorney Clark’s familiarity with tax planning serves his clients well in this regard.




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