In the State of Alabama, both parents of a minor child are responsible for supporting their minor child. There are guidelines mandated by the State of Alabama which outline the amount of child support a parent should pay based on their monthly income. Each parent is required to pay a percentage of their minor child’s monthly child support. The percentage each party must pay is based on calculations made that incorporate income, the Alabama child support guidelines, and health insurance. Whether you are going through an uncontested divorce in Montgomery or have a child support petition in Shelby County, these calculations are required to be performed in any and all cases involving splitting custody of a minor child.
How is Child Support Calculated?
The State of Alabama uses the Income Shares Model to determine child support. This means that both parents must give their gross monthly incomes in order to calculate child support. Both incomes are added together for a total monthly income for the family; then, a simple calculation is done to see what percentage of income each parent contributes individually. After the parties determine their family’s gross monthly income, the Alabama Schedule of Basic Child-Support Obligations explains what amount should be paid in child support based on the family’s combined income and the number of minor children involved.
If either parent pays for health insurance for the minor child, the monthly amount paid will be added to the amount determined by the Alabama Schedule of Basic Child-Support Obligations. This will be the final amount of child support owed. You can usually find this Schedule (which can change from time to time by the Congress) on the Alacourt Website.
Once the parties have calculated the total amount of child support to be paid and assessed each parent’s contribution to income, they will apply each parent’s percentage of income to child support as well. For example, if one parent made 30% of the family’s total income and the other parent made 70%, the parents would be responsible for 30% and 70% of the total child support calculated, respectively. It should be noted that if a person is unemployed by choice, whether they are the custodial parent or not, the State of Alabama calculates their income as “full time at minimum wage.” This provides the lowest income possible of someone who has the ability to work full time, so neither party will ever contribute all of the income.
Types of Custody in Alabama
There are two basic types of custody in Alabama: primary physical custody with joint legal custody and joint physical custody with joint legal custody. Many custody arrangements in this state designate one parent as a primary physical custodian, or the parent that the child lives with most of the time. The other parent usually gets standard visitation and must pay child support – in this situation, only the non-custodial parent must pay child support, as the primary physical custodian incurs expenses such as food, utilities, and childcare fees the other parent does not incur.
In a divorce in Jefferson County, the parents may also choose to have joint physical and legal custody, meaning the child splits time evenly between both parents. In this situation, both parents are spending equal amounts of time with the children and splitting the expenses of the children equally. Since neither parent has more child-related expenses than the other, the parties must work together to find a fair amount of child support to be paid to either party, if any.
Attorney Steven A. Harris regularly blogs in the areas of family law, bankruptcy, and real estate closings on this website. He is always available in any of the firm’s offices or by phone anytime for a consultation. Mr. Harris tries to provide informative information to the public in easily digestible formats. Hopefully you enjoyed this article and feel free to supply any feedback. We appreciate our readers and love to hear from you!