How Does Alimony and Child Support Interact

Child support is money normally paid based on the gross income of both parents the purpose of which is to support the children’s most basic needs of food, shelter and clothing. The State of New Mexico has created guidelines that will give a couple a presumptive number to be used for child support. This number is subject to deviation. Expenses for uninsured medical, dental and vision is usually in addition to the child support number and not included in the calculation under the guidelines. Expenses for activities, and extracurricular expenses are outside child support and the type of things covered by the basic support calculation. On the other hand, daycare expenses, private schooling tuition, health and dental insurance premiums are all included in the calculation for child support.

While New Mexico doesn’t recognize “alimony” our statutory framework calls it spousal support. It’s essentially the same thing. Spousal support is a far more complicated concept, but the general idea is for one spouse to support the other spouse for a period of time after the divorce provided there is a reasonable need of the requesting spouse and there is money available to the payor after they pay their own reasonable expenses. The amount and duration of spousal support depends on various statutory factors. The particulars and moving parts are far too lengthy to get into here.

The interaction between spousal support and child support is a fluid situation. This is because spousal support is reduced from the gross income from the parent who has to pay child support and is added to the income of the parent who is receiving child support. What this means is that when spousal support is awarded child support to the custodial parent is generally reduced. Spousal support can be a tax deduction for the payor but is included in the taxable income of the party receiving the support. Conversely child support is not tax deductible and is not taxable income. This is why whenever you are trying a case or trying to settle a situation that involves both spousal support and child support considerations you need to make sure you are maximizing the potential benefits while avoiding the potential problems associated with spousal support and child support.

To learn more contact our family law experts at or call us at 505-880-8737.