Does alimony affect child support?

At the end of a marriage, the court may order you to pay different types of support to your former spouse. You may pay your former spouse support for the care of your children. You may also have to pay financial support to your former spouse to help him or her afford basic needs.

In making support determinations, the court carefully considers your full financial picture. According to the Code of Virginia, considerations for alimony will include whether you will pay child support as well. However, in determining child support, spousal support orders often do not have much of an impact.

Important distinction

Child support is an obligation to your children. You have the responsibility to care for them, including providing for them financially. The court always places children’s needs above the needs of the divorcing couple. When the court orders, spousal support is an obligation to your spouse, but it is not something the law demands you to pay. It is less important in the eyes of the law and court. If you can only afford to pay one type of support, then it will be to your children.

Calculations

Child support amounts come from a guideline the law sets. The court uses a formula to figure out how much you will pay. There is not a formula for spousal support. It is up to the court to determine the amount you will pay if any. The court will never reduce child support obligations to allow for spousal support payments.

Note that if you pay alimony for a different case, such as a first marriage, then it may figure into your child support in a way since it does reduce your income, but the court may consider that on a case by case basis.