Alimony vs. Child Support: What’s the Difference?
Getting divorced means sorting through financial matters, including alimony and child support. Before going to court, you should know your legal rights, available legal options, and how to protect them on a legally. Going into court unprepared and without a Sarasota, Bradenton, and Venice, Florida divorce attorney can allow your spouse and his or her attorney an opportunity to take advantage of you. We understand divorce is a challenging time, and the Law Offices of Matthew Z. Martell, P.A. are prepared to help you.
What is the difference between alimony and child support?
Child support and alimony are both financial terms used in a divorce case. During the divorce process, a judge can force one spouse to pay the other spouse money for child support and also for alimony as part of the case. The paying party cannot negotiate the terms or amount to pay the other party once it has been ordered on a permanent basis.
Alimony, also sometimes called spousal support, helps maintain the other spouse’s standard of living. Child support helps to pay for the children’s expenses for food, clothing, home supplies, daycare expenses, medical and dental co-pays, etc. Those needing help with their divorce and learning more about alimony and child support should speak with Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, and Venice, Florida divorce lawyer Matthew Z. Martell now.
What is the standard of living?
The standard of living refers to the household environment and lifestyle a family or spouse enjoyed before filing for divorce. For child support, the courts maintain that divorce should not affect a child’s financial standard of living. The parent with a lower income normally receives child support unless that parent has overnight timesharing with the children less than 50% of the time. The courts normally make the higher-earning parent pay child support to help maintain the children’s standard of living when the children are not with that parent.
During a divorce, the lower-earning spouse often receives alimony on at least a temporary basis to help maintain his or her standard of living. Typically, a judge orders temporary alimony if one spouse earns significantly more money than the other. Normally, it is ordered at least continue to cover the expenses of the marital residence such as the mortgage, real estate taxes, homeowner’s insurances, HOA dues, utilities, etc. In contrast, permanent alimony is standard in a long-term marriage when the lower-earning spouse gave up his or her career or schooling to help raise their family.
If you are going through a divorce, contact a Sarasota, Bradenton, and Venice divorce lawyer Matthew Z. Martell to help you receive the child support and alimony you need. The Law Offices of Matthew Z. Martell can help you with child support and alimony during the divorce process.
How are child support and alimony enforced?
When a parent or ex-spouse refuses to pay the child support or alimony ordered by the court to be paid, they can face severe consequences. However, there are certain things you can do to help enforce your court-ordered child support or alimony payments. First, speak with one of the best Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, and Venice, Florida divorce lawyers near you such as Attorney Matthew Z. Martell to discuss your enforcement options. Second, file the appropriate motion or petition with the courts.
Methods of enforcing child support or alimony include:
- Wage Garnishment: When owed child support or alimony, you can file with the courts to approve an income deduction order. Wage garnishment is when the courts order the money owed for child support and/or alimony to be removed from someone’s paycheck, and it is sent directly to the person the money is owed to.
- Contempt: If there is a court order for alimony and/or child support that is not being paid, you can file for a contempt hearing with the courts. If approved by the judge, the person not paying child support and/or alimony may receive a fine, have attorney’s fees and costs assessed against them, or in cases of seriously delinquent child support even a brief jail sentence.
- Execution and Sale: When money is owed for alimony, the person owed the money have it reduced to a judgment and then can file a writ of execution with the courts. If approved by a judge, the local sheriff can seize specified property from the person who owes a payment to be sold off. Money from the sale is used to pay for back alimony owed. Please note, however, that this is rarely utilized.
How can a divorce attorney help?
A highly rated and well-reviewed Sarasota, Bradenton, and Venice, Florida divorce lawyer like Attorney Matthew Z. Martell can help answer your questions about divorce, alimony, or child support. Additionally, Attorney Matthew Z. Martell can help draft and submit the necessary paperwork needed to initiate a child support or alimony claim and also help you file for divorce. Sarasota divorce attorney Matthew Martell can also help with your divorce mediation and help ensure you receive everything you and your children need for your financial standard of living. If you need a really good divorce lawyer in Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, or Venice, Florida, then call the Law Offices of Matthew Z. Martell, P.A. at (941) 556-7020 to schedule a phone consultation.