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What Is the Difference Between Alimony, Spousal Support, and Child Support?

Although the national divorce rate is dropping, 39% of marriages will still end in divorce. When they do, there are a lot of questions that go unanswered as the difficulty of the decision weighs heavily on both spouses.

Who will remain in the family home? How will you and your spouse devise a time-sharing plan if you have children?

With or without kids, the conversation will quickly turn to your financial well-being. When couples divorce, they typically reside in two different homes. Two households require twice the money to survive. Knowing the difference between your financial support options — and how they are allocated — will go a long way in developing and maintaining financial decisions.

At the Land Legal Group, our Los Angeles family law attorneys are dedicated to providing our clients with the resources they need to move forward with their divorce with confidence by providing the answers to their unique marital circumstances, so they can make informed choices.

What Is the Difference Between Alimony and Spousal Support in California?

Money paid by one spouse to the other during the divorce process and/or after can be referred to as spousal maintenance, spousal support, or alimony.

One spouse is awarded spousal support depending on who earned more during the marriage, and the roles each spouse played during that marriage.

No matter what you call it, spousal support is awarded by the court to maintain the standard of living both spouses became accustomed to during their marriage.

How Is Spousal Support to Be Used by the Recipient?

Spousal support is designed to allow the receiving spouse to maintain their previous standard of living and can be awarded on a temporary, rehabilitative, or permanent basis.

In Los Angeles County and throughout California, the differences in those awards include:

  • Temporary spousal support is designed to support the spouse when the divorce causes a financial hardship until he or she can recover financially.
  • Rehabilitative spousal support is designed to assist a spouse with job training or college expenses until he or she can eventually return to the workforce and support themselves. This is common for stay at home parents who require time to work towards financial independence after a divorce.
  • Permanent spousal support is designed to support the spouse permanently, which means until the payer is deceased or upon the recipient becoming remarried — unless extenuating circumstances require continued payment, which can include a disability or previous written agreement.

Negotiating the proper spousal support payments and lengths that are right for you requires an experienced Los Angeles divorce attorney who uses each resource necessary to achieve the best result for your unique case.

What Is the Difference Between Spousal Support and Child Support in California?

Spousal support is designed to provide financial relief to the spouse, so he or she can continue the standard of living they enjoyed during the marriage.

Spousal support is issued separately from child support payments.

When parents end their relationships, Los Angeles child support agreements can be outlined during the divorce proceedings, or while determining California child custody arrangements and time-sharing responsibilities.

Child support payments are separate from spousal support and are used by the custodial parent for:

  • General household expenses, including food, rent or mortgage, and utilities to maintain a safe home for the children
  • Medical expenses, glasses, and dental care
  • Furnishings, books, and toys
  • School supplies, school fees, clothing, and trips
  • Sports, clubs, lessons, and extra-curricular activities
  • Additional needs of the children

Each parenting agreement is different and should be fully followed to ensure the children’s best interests are at the forefront of their growth.

If you have questions about divorce, spousal support, child support, or need help modifying an existing agreement, contact our Los Angeles family law attorneys at the Land Legal Group to by calling (310) 552-3500 to schedule a free consultation.

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