What Are My Financial Obligations After Separation?

The following is a very basic primer on child support and spousal support.  For more information, please contact me today.

Understanding Support After Separation

If you are refinancing your family home as part of the separation process, or refinancing or purchasing a home following your separation, support payments can play a big role in the financing process.  Understanding how support is calculated can help you in the financing process, including understanding when and how your support payments can be changed.

Child Support

Child support is made up of two parts: (1) a monthly payment and (2) a contribution to “special and extraordinary expenses” (e.g. medical expenses, daycare).  Child support is generally based on the Line 150 income of the payor parent unless there are special circumstances.   

Spousal Support

Spousal support can be payable in numerous situations; it is not restricted to long marriages where one party is unemployed or makes significantly less than the other.  The amount payable depends on numerous factors.  The parties may negotiate a different amount of support based on the length of time it will be paid.  Spousal support is often paid on a monthly basis, but a “lump sum” payment in lieu of periodic payments can also be negotiated, or a combination of a lump sum payment and periodic payments.

Taxes and Support

Child support is paid from your “after tax” income and is not taxable in the hands of the recipient. Spousal support is typically paid from your “before tax” income and is a deduction, and is typically taxable in the hands of the recipient.

Reviewing Support

Child support and spousal support should be reviewed on an annual basis.  They should also be reviewed whenever a significant event happens that impacts the parents’ or the children’s circumstances.

How Much Will I Owe?

The amount of support, both child and spousal, depends on many factors.  For spousal support, whether there are children and their ages, the incomes of the parties, the length of the relationship and the ages of the parties are some factors.  For child support, the parents’ incomes, the parenting schedule, the number of children, and numerous other factors impact the amount of child support payable.

You can visit My Support Calculator to do basic support calculations.  Most family lawyers have access to software that can provide more detailed calculations.  If you are interested in a detailed calculation based on your situation, please contact me today.

If you have questions or comments about this post, please start a conversation with me on Twitter @freshstartott.  

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