When a divorcing couple have minor children, one of their most pressing concerns is how to navigate the divorce in a way that reduces the negative impact on the children and increases their chances for a bright, happy future. That’s where discussions of child support come into play. Our Huntsville divorce attorneys can help you determine what exactly is needed to meet the children’s needs.
In Alabama, a standard formula is used to calculate child support payments. However, having an experienced Huntsville child support lawyer on your side is important to ensure that you are looking at the complete financial picture as you go into child support obligations.
Child support payments are calculated by asking:
- What are the incomes for each parent?
- What is the child custody arrangement?
- Who pays for the child’s health insurance?
- What are the costs of child care?
- Is one parent already paying child support for another child?
- Is one parent paying alimony?
At Leigh Daniel Family Law office, our skilled divorce attorneys will help you determine a fair child support agreement after closely reviewing your family’s finances and your children’s needs. With more than 20 years of experience, our knowledgeable legal team will stand strong in negotiations for child support, custody, visitation, and modifications in order to meet your needs.
If you are in need of legal services, contact a child support attorney to talk about your child support case and how we can help you get to a better place. Call now for a consultation: (256) 551-0500!
Alabama Child Support Payments
Child support consists of the payments a parent makes to meet a child’s needs, such as covering the costs of food, clothing, education, medical expenses, and other items. Unlike alimony, which is paid to support the standard of living of one of the spouses, child support is paid to support the children directly.
Because the average cost of raising a child in Alabama is about $1,400 each month, even a modest child support payment can go a long way toward giving a child the best possible start in life.
Alabama’s standard formula for calculating child support accounts for items such as both parents’ monthly gross income, costs of daycare and health insurance, child support for other children, and alimony. As an exception, if the parents’ combined income is less than $800 or more than $20,000 per month, the child support amount will be calculated individually for that couple and their children.
Huntsville Child Support and Military
If the spouse who expects to pay child support is also a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, federal law and military regulations will require that parent to keep child support payments current. These rules frequently “cap,” or limit, the amount of total support (both child support and alimony) the person must pay, however. If you or your spouse is a service member, contact our experienced Huntsville military divorce attorneys to discuss how child support payments would work in your case.
What Is the Relationship Between Child Support, Custody, and Visitation in Alabama?
Not all parents who divorce in Alabama must deal with child support issues. Generally speaking, if the parents share both physical and legal custody equally (an arrangement commonly known as “joint custody”), neither will be expected to pay child support because both are contributing equally to the child’s needs and care.
The less involved one parent is in caring for the child, however, the more likely it is that that parent will need to pay child support. Even if one parent has regular visitation with the children, he or she may still be expected to pay child support in some amount.
Resolving Child Support and Custody Issues Through Mediation in Huntsville
When working through issues of child support, custody, and visitation, it is extremely important to have a qualified Huntsville child support lawyer on your side. At Leigh Daniel Family Law, our skilled child support lawyer often helps clients resolve these issues through a process called mediation.
- During mediation: The spouses and their lawyers meet with a neutral third-party mediator. The mediator, who understands Alabama child custody and support laws, helps the parties find a “common ground.” However, the mediator cannot force either party to accept a decision.
- If mediation fails: Depending on your individual situation, our child support lawyer will discuss your options for either trying another round of mediation or attempting another type of negotiation. Or we may take your case to court to fight for a fair resolution.
Can Child Support Be Changed in Alabama?
Although you make the best decisions you can when you create a child support order in Alabama, things change. Alabama allows families to modify their child support orders to reflect those changes.
Either parent, or any person with legal custody of the child, can ask the court to change a child support order – either to raise or to lower the support amount. If the children are younger than 19 and not married, you will have to prove one of two things to the court:
- One parent has started earning so much more (or less) that the child support amount will change by more than 10 percent.
- Another event has changed one parent’s financial situation.
If you need to change your current child support payments, contact our experiencd Huntsville child support lawyers today. Our team will help you determine whether requesting the change is in your child’s best interests, since it will mean that child support is recalculated. We will also ensure all the required court forms are properly filled out and submitted.
Can Support Rule 32
Child support in Alabama is intended for the use of the children of the parties. There is a formula used to calculate support, called Rule 32. The formula doesn’t cover all the scenarios for custodial arrangements. If the parties share joint physical custody, often the parties will come to an alternate. Generally, child support is intended to cover reasonable and necessary needs of the children. Sometimes the paying parent becomes absent because they feel the parent receiving the money isn’t using it “for the kids”. However, reasonable and necessary expenses are meant to include the housing and transportation costs of the children. In Rule 32, the daycare and health insurance costs are included in the calculation. The court has the authority to award additional sums in a child support matter but the expectation is that Rule 32 will govern. In other words, you may want the court to award money for private school or extracurricular expenses but that wouldn’t be customary.
Choose Your Child Support Attorney Huntsville Based on Their Experience With Child Support Laws
We understand that family law matters involving children are often the most emotional and stressful issues you have ever dealt with. During this difficult time, you need a compassionate Huntsville child support attorney who has the experience and knowledge to give you confidence in your case.
Contact our Huntsville Alabama child support lawyers today, and let our dedicated legal team lay out your options, explain how child support laws affect you and your family, and map out a course of action that makes sense for you and your children.
For more resources on child support, read the following from our blog: