Alimony vs. Child Support: Financial Facts

If you’re considering divorce, you may wonder what your quality of life might look like after your separation. Will you have to go back to school? How will you afford childcare or pay living expenses? Fortunately, New York law provides a framework for support after a divorce. With the divorce and family law attorneys at Stepanian Law Firm on your side, you are guaranteed professional and compassionate help. We’ll help ensure that no one takes advantage of you and that any support award remains fair and equitable. The first step to a successful divorce is knowing the laws surrounding alimony and child support in New York.

Financial Facts

What Is Alimony?

Alimony is an old-fashioned term for spousal support or post-divorce maintenance. In New York, married people have an obligation to support one another. When filing for divorce, the spouse with a lower income may request an order for spousal support. The law provides guidelines to calculate support payments based on each spouse’s income (see Section 236(6)(c)). Both spouses will present evidence of their income and expenses and may present witnesses to testify. The law provides support guidelines to help you determine the appropriate amount of spousal support. Judges have the discretion to award more support if the paying spouse makes more income than the income cap used in the guidelines. Spousal support payments do not last forever. An advisory guideline issued by New York Legislatures provides that the time you pay or receive maintenance is a percentage of the duration of the marriage, ranging from 15% for a new marriage to 50% for marriage over 20 years.

NY Child Support

Although child support is paid from one spouse to another, it is not meant to support the spouse. Child support is, as it sounds, to support the child while in the custodial parent’s care. The court will calculate the basic support obligation as a percentage of the parents’ combined income for the number of children, up to the Combined Parental Income Amount as determined by the state each year. For 2022, that income was $163,000. The court will also consider the costs of childcare and health insurance. Child support payments continue at the same rate until the child is 21 unless a change in circumstances requires a modification.

Alimony vs. Child Support Tax Deduction

Child support payments do not trigger tax consequences for either spouse. On the other hand, alimony payments were traditionally considered income to the “payee” spouse and deductible on the “payor” spouse’s tax return. However, the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) ended federal income tax deductions for alimony payments made in accordance with divorce orders executed or modified after December 31, 2018. New York has not adopted the new IRS rules for state taxes. If you make alimony payments in New York, you may deduct them from your federal adjusted gross income (FAGI) when calculating your New York adjusted gross income (NYAGI). If you receive alimony, you will add the payments to your NYAGI.

How Can Stepanian Law Firm Help?

No one knows better than an experienced divorce and family law attorney when it comes to alimony and child support. We understand that divorce can be an emotionally charged time. With Stepanian Law Firm, we listen and guide you through the process seamlessly and quickly to minimize the heartache and pain. Whether your divorce is small or complex, we can help. Call today for a free consultation.


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