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Child support is paid to the custodial parent after a divorce to provide for the children. Spousal support is a payment to a former spouse to help them after a marriage breaks up to become more financially stable. Child support is separate from spousal support, but the same parent may receive both. Here is some important information about these two types of support.


When Is Child and Spousal Support Ordered?  

Child and spousal support are usually ordered as part of the divorce proceedings. If spouses can agree on child and spousal support, it can be presented to the court as part of the divorce. When spouses can’t agree, the judge may hold a hearing to decide both. Often, state laws determine which spouse gets spousal support and child support and how much is received. But many elements go into calculating each type of support.


Spousal support is more common when the spouses have a large income range, such as one spouse makes quite a bit more than the other. It may also be ordered if one spouse doesn’t have the skills to earn a livable wage. In shorter marriages, spousal support may not be ordered. Spousal support may be ordered if a spouse needs to stay home with the children. If the spouses have nearly identical wages, spousal support may not be indicated.


Child support is for the child. The non-custodial parent pays child support to provide the other parent with income for the child’s needs. Parents who share custody without an income gap may have lower or even non-existent child support payments. There are a lot of factors that go into determining child support.


What If You Need to Modify Child Support or Spousal Support? 

Child support and spousal support can usually be modified when there is a significant change in the circumstances of either spouse or parent. However, since they are two separate issues, to change one or the other, or both, you do have to file paperwork with the court.


Spousal support is much more difficult to modify as many states have rules that govern how spousal support is determined. Usually, spousal support can only be decreased, such as when the paying spouse loses income. To receive a spousal support increase, it would have to be included in the original divorce decree. Also, once the divorce is final, you probably cannot go back to get spousal support.


Child support modification falls under different rules. If you do need to modify either type of support, it’s a good idea to talk to a professional like a family lawyer in Tampa, FL at a law firm like The McKinney Law Group to make sure that you follow the rules of the court. Take the time today to learn more about the team at The McKinney Law Group.


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