Determining Child Support in Alabama doesn’t have to overly complex. Typically, child support refers to payments that one or both parents must make on a monthly basis to support minor children in their household. In Alabama, children younger than nineteen years old, who are not married, nor in the military, qualify to receive child support.
Determining Child Support in Alabama is Dependent upon the Type of Child Custody Ordered
The kind of custody each parent is granted by a judge is the most influential factor in determining how much money each parent will need to pay in support each month.
For example, in a situation where one parent has sole custody of the children, the non-custodial parent will be required to support the custodial parent by making child support payments each month. However, when a judge gives both parents custody of their children, or joint custody, parents must divide the financial responsibility of supporting the children.
To do this, parents with joint custody must first determine the total amount of money owed each month in child support. This can be done can by combining both parents’ annual gross income with the number of children they have to support. (Parents with Joint Custody can use this basic child support chart for help.)
The greater the parents’ total combined income, and the more children living in their household, the more money each parent will owe in child support each month. Other factors influencing how much is owed in child support may include how old each child is and the children’s costs of living, such as if they attend college or require special services like physical therapy or prescription medicine.
Determining Child Support in Alabama Using Support Guidelines
While child support guidelines vary from state to state, all states generally consider the following when determining each parent’s share in monthly child support payments:
1. Gross annual income. In joint custody cases, the amount of child support parents owe can be determined by combining both parents’ annual gross income with the number of children they have to support. The parent who earns more money will likely have higher child support payments than will the other parent.
2. Prior child support agreements. If a custodial or non-custodial parent makes more than one child support payment per month, such as to a prior child support agreement, the parent may qualify for a deduction on income reported on the most recent child support agreement, which could result in a reduced monthly child support payments.
3. Childcare expenses. If the parents spend a significant amount of their income on childcare so that they can work more hours to afford child support payments, they may qualify for a deduction on the income reported on their child support agreement. In many states, this is made possible by Child and Dependent Care Credit. If parents qualify, they can receive $3,000 to pay for care services for one child, or a maximum of $6,000 to pay for care services for two or more children.
4. Time spent with the children. The more time a non-custodial parent spends with his or her children, the more money he or she is likely to spend on the children’s living expenses. A judge may, in this case, reduce that parent’s monthly child support payments to the custodial parent.
Get Help Determining Your Child Support in Alabama
If you are a parent concerned about your share in monthly child support payments, there are several resources available that can help you manage the responsibility.
At Charlotte Christian Law, we offer nationally-acclaimed legal guidance to families who need help managing child support payments. To schedule a consultation, please call our Alabama Family Law office at (256) 859-7277. From there, we can learn how to help you create child support arrangements that are affordable, appropriate and fair to your family. We look forward to serving you.