What’s the Interplay Between Alimony and Child Support?

White square with a gold border and the black words “What's the interplay between alimony and child support?” with the Freed Marcroft family law firm logo in the lower right corner.The interplay between alimony and child support in Connecticut divorces can be confusing.

Read on to learn more.

Purpose of Alimony vs. Child Support

Child support stems from parents’ duty to support their minor children, whereas alimony flows from spouses’ joint and continuing duty to support each other, even after a marriage has ended.

Read: How Long Does Alimony Last?

Read: How Does Child Support Work in Connecticut?

Judicial Discretion

The differing purposes for alimony versus child support give context for the wide variance in judicial discretion.  Courts have very broad discretion when it comes to alimony awards, which stands in stark contrast to the Child Support Guidelines used to calculate child support.

Alimony and the Child Support Calculation

Connecticut factors alimony into the child support calculation.  Both alimony from the marriage involved in the child support calculation and alimony from previous marriages come into play.

Prior Marriages

Under the Connecticut Child Support Guidelines, alimony resulting from prior divorces comes into play.

  • Alimony payments to a previous prior spouse are sometimes an allowable deduction from net weekly income.
  • Alimony payments from a prior spouse are includable in gross income.

The Same Marriage

Before we discuss the interplay between alimony and child support between the same two spouses, a bit of background is helpful.  First, in the Connecticut Child Support Guidelines, “net disposable income” is used to calculate payment of certain childcare and unreimbursed medical expenses.  Second, the Guidelines assume one parent is the custodial parent.

When the noncustodial parent pays alimony to the custodial parent, the Guidelines:

  • Increase the custodial parent’s net disposable income by 80% of the alimony paid.
  • Decrease the noncustodial parent’s net disposable income by 80% of the alimony paid.

When the custodial parent pays alimony to the noncustodial parent, the Guidelines:

  • Subtract 80% of the alimony from the custodial parent’s net income.
  • Add the same 80% to the noncustodial parent’s net income.

Read: How Is Child Support Calculated in Connecticut?

Read: Is There Child Support if We Have Shared Physical Custody?

Deviations

Alimony may be a basis for deviating from the presumptive child support amounts under the “coordination of total family support” deviation criterion.

Read:  Do We Have to Follow the Connecticut Child Support Guidelines?

The Comprehensive Connecticut Alimony Guide

Alimony is one of the most important issues in divorces.  And, it’s one of the most confusing.  There are no set formulas or rules on (1) whether there will be alimony, and, if so, (2) how it’s calculated or (3) how long it will last.  The good news is that this means there is tremendous flexibility to craft an individualized approach.  In order to prepare to make solid and informed decisions, you need to understand how alimony works. Our Comprehensive Connecticut Alimony Guide tells you everything you need to know about alimony in Connecticut.

Read: Alimony: The Comprehensive Connecticut Guide

Next Steps

Or, to start making a plan for your divorce, reach out.  Our first step at Freed Marcroft, the Goals & Planning Conference, is designed to get to the heart of your problem and unveil your true goals.  We analyze those goals, plus the facts of your case, and present you with recommendations and options to move forward.

Schedule your Goals & Planning Conference today, or contact us either here or by phone at 860-560-8160.

Written by Meghan Freed