Along with child custody, child support is one of the most confusing and stressful issues related to divorce. Most parents want to make sure their children are well supported but are unsure of how to accomplish this during and after the divorce. Neither parent wants to receive an inadequate amount to support their child or pay a burdensome amount to the other parent.
A considerate child support attorney can guide you through this process, working to make sure your children are supported through a fair child support agreement.
Child support is meant to support the health and wellbeing of children by providing for their medical, living, and educational needs. In Alabama, certain guidelines are used by the court to determine child support. The court takes into account the income of both parents, existing child support orders for other children, child-care expenses, and the custody arrangement, among other factors. The judge may deviate from the guidelines if it is appropriate under the circumstances.
As with child custody, both parties can come to an agreement regarding child support and submit it to the court. The agreement, if it does not follow normal child support guidelines, should provide a reason for the changes. The judge will review the agreement and may approve it.
If the parents do not come to an agreement, the judge will determine child support using the standard guidelines. Each parent may provide arguments to the court stating why the child support should differ from the guidelines. A child support order may be more or less than the standard amount according to the circumstances. For example, the parent with the higher income may be ordered to pay less child support that the standard if the child spends equal time with both parents through a joint custody agreement.
When a child support order is issued by the court, it must be followed. Typically, child support is withheld from the parent’s wages each month through their employer, unless, for example, the parent is self-employed. Parents who do not follow the child support order risk fines, jail time, and suspension of their license in Alabama. Parents who have not received child support may file with the court or hire an attorney to recover the missed child support payments.
A child support order, like a child custody agreement, is permanent once issued by the court. However, that does not mean that it may never be changed. A change in circumstances, such as a new job with a different salary, could make the existing child support order unfair. The parent with a new job with a lower salary, for example, could file to modify the child support order to reflect the change in their income.
Our Huntsville child support attorneys use years of experience, dedication, and insight when representing clients in child support matters. We work to make the child support process as clear as possible, keeping our clients and their family informed of their options every step of the way.
Find out how to calculate child support here.
Contact us at (256) 533-1667 to learn how we can help you and your family get the support you need.