Setting up child support terms in Alabama is clearly defined, and involves quite a lot of technicalities. It is not only based on the fact that both parents are obligated by law to provide care for their children but also leans more towards the children deserving the same standards of living they would expect in an intact family unit. Like most other states, Alabama has very specific and particular rules that are used to determine things like the financial responsibility of divorced, single or separated parents. More often than not, many couples will find themselves wading aimlessly in the tricky issue that is child support. This is where having a highly experienced family attorney on your side becomes highly advantageous.
Alabama Child Support Terms and Guidelines
How does the state of Alabama calculate the amount of support to be paid? Simple, by estimating the amount that would have been made available if the family remained intact. This amount is further divided proportionally to each parents’ income as substantiated by the income claims. Normally, the parent who earns a higher income will be responsible for the biggest portion of the child support.
To calculate this amount, a Child Support Worksheet is used to generate the most appropriate child support obligation. This is of course, reliant on the spouse’s income as well as relative factors like taxes and retirement contributions. However, if either party demonstrates that this amount is now within their financial capabilities, the court permits both parents to negotiate a written agreement with a reasonable explanation for deviating. In Alabama, the formula for calculating child support is determined by the following factors.
- Each parent’s gross income as representative of their combined total income
- The number of children in the family that are under the age of 19
- Amounts paid for healthcare, insurance for the kids, and who is responsible for it.
- Amounts paid for all work related childcare, that is subject to limitations provided by Alabama department of human resources
- Any pre-existing legal obligation to pay alimony or child support
According to the Code of Alabama: Title 30, Chapter 3 and Rules of Judicial Administration (32 and 35), failure to pay the obligated child support may result in the suspension of an Alabama driver’s license.
Emancipation under Alabama Child Support Guidelines
In Alabama, child support payment obligations usually cease and desist when the child becomes self-supporting. In a case where the child is disabled or unable to fully care for themselves, the court may order both parents to continue paying support, even when the child becomes an adult.
Cases where the Court may diverge from Alabama Guidelines
The court is legally allowed to deviate from child support laws and guidelines when both parties enter fair, written agreement which provides for a different level of support. This also applies if the parents file a record stating that the acquiescence of Alabama guidelines on child support would be inequitable, unfair and unjust. According to rule 32, the reasons that a court may, but need not deviate from Alabama child custody guidelines include:
- Extraordinary expenses due to transportation for visitation borne considerably by one parent
- Unearned income or assets received by the children
- Expenditures and incurred costs of college education prior to the child reaching a majority age
- Any other circumstances or factors that the court sees contributing to the superlative interest of the children