How does Child Support in Alabama Work?

We often get calls and emails into our office from clients that ask us how child support in Alabama works. It can be a complicated and sometimes confusing undertaking for people in that situation. This post will walk you through the child support area in Alabama at a super high level.

Child Support – What’s The Point?

Whether you’re looking into child support because of the end of a marriage or because you and your partner are separated, it is the responsibility of every parent to financially support their child. At the end of the day, child support is intended to provide the child(ren) with the same or as close to the same standard of living as they enjoyed while the parents were together. It’s very important to remember that when dealing with a child support matter, an Alabama court will always put the best interests of the children ahead of the parents.

How Much Do I Have To Pay? Or How Much Will I Receive?

I can’t avoid it but it’s the typical attorney answer. It just depends. Child support is based on Alabama’s Schedule of Basic Child Support Obligations, which calculates the total child support obligation based on the parents’ combined gross income and the number of children they have together. This number is then split between the parents based on how much each parent contributes towards the combined gross income number. However, this number is just a starting point. As we will cover next, you will find that other things can impact how much you will either pay or receive in child support.

Factors That Can Affect Child Support

Remember, in a lot of cases the Schedule of Basic Child Support Obligations is just a starting point. There can be many factors that can drastically change how much a court in Alabama can award in child support. Some considerations of the court include:

  • Who pays for child’s insurance premiums (and the amount it costs)
  • Childcare expenses for both parents to work
  • Special needs or medical care needs that increase the amount needed to care for the child
  • If one parent has other child support obligations to other children

In court, both sides have a chance to make the case that they should pay or receive more or less child support. Some of the common factors that often arise include:

  • Visitation costs, such as those incurred by a non-custodial parent when the custodial parent is granted permission to move away
  • Educational expenses, including private school fees and college funds
  • Activities the child is involved in that require additional financial support

Above all, as previously noted, a court in Alabama will put the best interests of the child(ren) first in these cases. As a result, a court can set the amount at a figure they deem to best care for the child.

Do I Need An Attorney To Help Me?

Absolutely. Choosing the right family law attorney is essential when you are struggling with disputes over child support calculations. Remember, it is not greedy to ask for child support. Ultimately, it is paid for the child’s well-being, which should be everyone’s goal. If you are requesting child support, you are simply protecting your child’s right to fair support from both parents.

However, if you believe that what you are paying is unfair, you should also not feel guilty by asking for a modification. Subsequently, the goal of child support is to help ensure that each parent pays a fair amount toward the care of their child. If you are bearing most of the burden on your own, you have a right to even the playing field.

Most importantly, don’t go it alone. For skilled legal guidance with child support issues in Alabama, contact The McCormick Firm today. To get started, message us online or call our office at 205-968-1302 today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

How Will The COVID-19 Outbreak Impact Families in Alabama?

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on many families across the United States. The economy has taken a drastic, sudden turn due to the outbreak, changing significantly from one week to the next, making it challenging to assess the impact of the crisis in a timely way.


Evidence is already emerging that while the novel coronavirus outbreak will impact us all, it will impact us in markedly diverse ways. The pandemic and “Shelter in Place” orders are likely to cause adverse financial, emotional, and physical impacts on families with dependent children.


Will there be a Rise in Divorces due to the Pandemic?

At present, it is still quite early to understand whether divorce filings will increase after the lifting of the stay-at-home order. However, some legal experts do anticipate a rise in divorces.


For a couple who was already struggling to get along, being under quarantine in a close area with kids and nowhere to go can increase stress levels. It typically does not help to be at home for months if you are already not comfortable with each other and have previously discussed divorce.


Most interactions for a troubled couple will be negative or neutral. However, now that there is constant stress because they are unable to follow their normal routines, such as doing their own thing.


This is another negative effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has the potential to send the country’s divorce rate, which is already almost 50 percent, even higher after the divorce courts are fully functional again. According to attorneys and marriage counselors, the quarantine stresses are all too familiar-financial worries, boredom, no opportunity to escape from each other, altercations over the children, disputes over chores, lack of exercise-are influencing many couples to reassess how they feel about their spouses.


Anecdotal Indications Point to a Rise in Divorces

As it is too soon to confirm a potential rise in divorces ahead, there is no official data available at present. However, some attorneys and marriage counselors indicate that they are receiving more calls from individuals who say they are considering separating as soon as the lockdown ends, or even before that.


According to relationship therapist and media personality Venus Nicolino, future research will prove that there is a direct relationship between COVID-19 and a spike in divorces.


Nicolino, also known as “Dr. V,” says that similar to a rise in violence, anxiety, loss and grief, depression, and unemployment, we will witness a surge in divorce as a direct consequence of the outbreak. She further elaborates that when our relationship in society is impacted, it affects our relationship with each other.


Further, relationship Coach Lee Wilson cites his own unscientific survey of couples via email (including 734 respondents and conducted in late April). According to his assessment, coronavirus quarantines expose couples who do not have healthy “relationship dynamics.”


He reports that his survey found that around one-third (31 percent) of responding couples stated that the quarantine had adversely impacted their relationship, less than one-fourth (23 percent) said that there was no difference in their relationship due to quarantine.


Wilson says that boredom can be really detrimental to a relationship. The same daily routine can lead to depression, and couples on edge might end up immersing themselves in a negative situation. Wilson says that quarantine is pushing his clients to the point of depression much more rapidly.


In the opinion of some experts, remaining confined at home tends to cause situations where a couple might put all their problems into a frying pan and turn up the heat. Some will become aware that life is too short to be contentious. Couples who already find themselves in a complicated relationship may choose to get a divorce as soon as they can for the same exact reason- when life is so brief, why suffer in a bad relationship.


Rise in the Incidence of Domestic Abuse

The data available at present increasingly indicates that domestic violence and abuse is spreading like wildfire in conditions made rife by COVID-19. Bristol University sociologist Marianne Hester states that the writing was already on the wall that the type of social restrictions imposed to combat the virus will cause these consequences.


Hester studies abusive relationships and reports that domestic violence-related incidents always surge when families spend excessive amounts of time with each other. Hotlines are now flashing with domestic abuse reports as families are forced to be tied down to home due to the virus outbreak.


The United Nations has officially asked authorities to undertake urgent measures to address the global rise in domestic violence and abuse. In a recent tweet, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterras urges all governments to consider women’s safety when responding to the pandemic.


Consult an Accomplished Family Law Attorney

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, families have experienced various changes in their lifestyles. Families confined in close proximity for prolonged periods can lead to conflict and altercations, especially when a couple has “poor relationship dynamics.”


If you or a loved one has experienced domestic abuse due to the lockdown, or are considering a divorce, a compassionate and experienced family law attorney at The McCormick Firm can guide you every step of the way. Speak to a committed family law attorney at (205) 968-1302. Call today to schedule a free initial consultation.