Understanding the Difference Between Child Support and “Maintenance” or “Alimony”

October 11, 2010 by Maricopa County Court  
Filed under Child Support, Family Court

By Dennis Gac -

When you think of offering money to your ex-wife to help support her in raising your child (or children, dependent on your situation), most people instantly think of the term coined “child support.” Child support is typically paid out-of-pocket by the non-custodial parent out of their after-tax take-home pay. However, many forget to put a different spin on their child support term that can make or break their financial future.

When preparing for court against your ex-wife and her attorney, it’s important to point out that what you are willing to provide to your ex is not exactly child support, but maintenance or alimony. Child support is typically paid to the ex-spouse until the child reaches the age of 18 in most states. Alimony, otherwise known as “maintenance,” is only paid for a certain period of time. Alimony is typically for a short-term period that is defined by the length of the marriage, the employment and educational status of the other party, and the ability for the ex-wife to keep, maintain and hold a well-paying job in the future. Also, another benefit of paying alimony over child support is that it is paid with pre-tax dollars instead of being paid from your take-home pay.

The idea of alimony is to provide financial support for a certain period of time, determined by the courts on various factors, to help the ex-wife figure out financial issues and get back on her feet and back into the work force. It is not intended to be income to the spouse out of spite, or a payment for “emotional damage” done during the marriage–if any.

By understanding the true difference between child support and alimony, you may greatly reduce the amount of monetary support you will be owing to your ex-wife over time, in addition to making your payments pre-tax instead of after you receive your paycheck two weeks later.

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Following Your Divorce

By Annie O’Neill –

Following your divorce you need to go through a ‘grieving’ process.  Your ex may not have died but the marriage has and you need some time to adjust.    Several of the people I spoke to found it hard to adjust to being single again.

The following are some tips for helping you to adjust and move on.

Work out what went wrong in your previous marriage.  The break up of a marriage is rarely completely one-sided.  Be completely honest with yourself and own up to the mistakes you made. You can learn from these mistakes and ensure you don’t repeat them when you embark on a new relationship.

Don’t rush into another relationship.  ‘Rebound’ relationships are almost always doomed to failure.  Before you can love another person you need to learn to love yourself.

Start with the outside – how you feel reflects in the way you look.  Pamper yourself with a new hairstyle and/or colour (most hairdressers will spend time discussing styles if you let them know you want this when you book), get your colours done, buy a new outfit (use a personal shopper to experiment with new looks – many large stores offer this as a free service).

Learn something new.  Take up a new hobby, learn a new skill, continue your education.  You will meet new people with whom you automatically have something in common.

Don’t develop a ‘victim’ mentality.  Feelings of anger and bitterness are not helpful to you.  Let them go.  Writing your feelings down can help.  Sonia, whose marriage broke up after seven years together, kept a journal; she found that writing her feelings down and reading them back later helped her deal with her emotions.  Ros found that writing letters to her ex, expressing her feelings helped.  She never sent the letters but they helped her to get her feelings off her chest.

Read positive/self-help books.   My clients and people I spoke to in my research have said that the following books helped them.  Feel the Fear and do it anyway – Susan Jeffers, Growing through Divorce – Jim Smoke, Coming Apart – Daphne Rose Kingman, Positive Affirmations – Louise Hay, Women who love too much – Robin Norwood, Men who hate women and the women who love them – Dr Susan Forward.

All the people I spoke to agreed it took time before they were ready to start dating again.  The average seems to be two years.  Two of the people I spoke to said that since their divorces they have met their ‘soul mate’ but this did not happen in either case until they had learnt to love themselves.

Nicola was 31 when her marriage broke down after eight years, she met her new partner 18 months later.  Although she was ‘mad about him’ she had difficulty committing to a relationship because she met him just as she was starting to enjoy being single.  She says I remember thinking “why now – I’m just beginning to have a life I own”.

This just goes to prove that when we are enjoying our lives we attract people to us.  People like people who are confident, positive and happy.

For those of you who have only recently separated/divorced then please believe that you will move on.  Life does go on and, in fact, often gets better.  The biggest hurdle is learning to look after and love yourself.  Start today by setting yourself one small goal – something that you can achieve easily and within a week.  When you have achieved it celebrate and set yourself another goal.  Before you know it you will be living a life you love.

‘Ten Secrets to a Successful Divorce’ is a practical step-by-step guide designed to help you to start redesigning your life right away. And it’s yours free just for visiting my website – http://www.newhorizons-divorcecoaching.co.uk

If you found this article helpful you might like to visit http://newhorizons-divorcecoaching.blogspot.com/ where you will find more free articles to help you start transforming your life today.

I am a qualified Divorce Coach and NLP Practioner.  I can work with you to redesign your life after divorce.

I have been divorced and widowed. I understand the emotions associated with being on your own after being in a long-term relationship. I have had to reinvent my life on two occasions and am proof that it can be done. I am now self-employed, with a job that I love. I am also married again, very happily.

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