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.