Alimony is considered income for child support purposes. A parent’s income is a factor in the child support calculations. This means the alimony a parent receives increases their income when calculating child support. Likewise, alimony paid decreases the payor parent’s income when calculating child support.
The effect of this adjustment in income is that it’s going to lower the amount of child support received by the parent that receives alimony. It’s not a dollar for dollar adjustment, but it does have an impact.
Therefore, when negotiating, we typically look at how alimony affects child support. We can adjust the alimony down, and see how much it’s going to increase the child support. We can do the same by adjusting the alimony up to see how much it decreases the child support.
It will be interesting to see how the new tax code concerning alimony deductions affects child support calculations. Because of the tax impact on income, the new tax law affects the amount of income to determine a child support amount. In the past, the person paying alimony got a tax deduction, so they got to deduct it off of their taxes. There was this “benefit” to paying higher alimony in terms of their overall income because they were getting that tax deduction. A person paying alimony is no longer able to deduct the alimony being paid, so the benefit no longer exists.
Child support has never been tax deductible. Therefore, the combination of alimony and child support being affordable may become a bigger issue moving forward because now the parent paying alimony and child support is no longer getting the benefit of any tax deduction.