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Is child support different than Alimony

Newton, MA |

I don't understand new law, do I get child support and alimony or just one? I posted question before but no one gave me an answer and my attny doesn't call back. Married 6 yrs two children husband makes more than me.

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

You may recieve both however it depends upon your need, how much you make and how much your husband makes, there are many factors. Many people think the new law is very simple, however it is fairly complex and even the courts are trying to figure out what is fair. I suggest that you sit down with an attorney who does not charge for such consults and go over the facts of how much you make, how much your husband makes, what your needs are etc. The quick answer is that it appears if your husband makes more than 250k than you, the differnece many be considered alimony, however it is fact dependent. I hope you find someone you can work with, there are many great attnys in Newton and if you google a few or check them out on AVVO you can see who they are. I recommend staying local.

Legal disclaimer: The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Massachusetts. Responses are based solely on Massachusetts law unless stated otherwise.


Child support is the contribution from the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent in support of the children. It usually based on the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines but for high income earners like your husband the guidelines only form the base and appropriate upward adjustments are often argued addressing the particular facts of your case. Child support payments are not taxable to the receiving custodial parent and the tax deductions for the children are usually divided between the parents, either through alternating years or by splitting the deductions (one child to each parent).

Alimony is spousal support and is determined by a number of factors in MGL 208 § 34, such as: length of marriage, needs of the parties, ability to pay, etc. That law has changed recently, and what was once determined largely by the discretion of judge is now more legislatively prescriptive (your lawyer can explain the main facets of the new law, but how the new will be implemented is still hazy for all of us).

Generally speaking, if alimony is contemplated, the child support award is made first and then, if the earnings differential between the parties remains large enough, spousal support is awarded as a secondary adjustment. Spousal support is taxable to the receiving party and tax deductible to the paying party.

This is not legal advice and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. You should speak to an attorney for further information.


It is not an "either or" proposition. He will be obligated to pay child support. As for alimony, the alimony statute will control, as my colleagues have pointed out. The short duration of your marriage will be a factor against you.

The answer to this question is for informational purposes only and is expressly not legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship. Readers should not act upon this without seeking advice from professional advisers.