When getting a divorce, there are many factors that must be decided. If the couple has a minor child, then one of these factors is child support, which is determined after custody has been awarded. Child support is monetary support that is paid by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent. Every child has a right to be supported by their parents, regardless of their parents’ marital status, if they are considered to be minors by law. In Alabama, a child is considered to be a minor until they reach the age of 19.
Alabama’s Child Support Guidelines involve three different forms: CS-41, CS-42, and CS-43. The CS-41 is an affidavit completed by a parent that states their current income. The CS-42 is the form that calculates the actual amount of child support according to the guidelines, and the CS-43 form is used as a notice of compliance. To calculate the amount of child support according to the guidelines, certain steps must be followed. First, the monthly gross income of each parent must be calculated, which includes money received from any source. If one or both of the parents are unemployed, then the actual gross income will be the amount that the parents have the ability and are capable of earning. This is meant to address and prevent any parents from intentionally being unemployed in order to avoid paying child support. Next, any necessary deductions will be applied, and the parents’ gross incomes will be combined. Then, each parent’s percentage share of the income needs to be determined as well as the Basic Child Support Obligation. After this, it needs to be determined if there is an addition to the Basic Child Support Obligation for childcare and health insurance. Then, the total monthly support amount is calculated accordingly with each parent’s percentage share taken into account. Lastly, if the noncustodial parent pays for the health insurance, then that number will be subtracted to equal the final child support amount as recommended by the guidelines. A local divorce attorney in Shelby County or anywhere else in Alabama can help you understand this formula in most cases.
Alabama created its Child Support Guidelines with the intent of providing some consistency when awarding child support. However, the amount calculated according to these guidelines is not guaranteed. Instead, the guidelines create a rebuttable presumption. This means that the guidelines are considered to be the true and correct amount of support needed unless it is rebutted with evidence suggesting otherwise. The guidelines must be considered in even a cheap uncontested divorce in Jefferson County, but the Circuit Court has discretion to award the appropriate amount as it sees fit. The court will consider the child’s financial needs as well as the parents’ ability to meet those financial needs.
Child support is not based solely on food, housing, and clothing costs. The court will also look at the standard of living that the child was accustomed to prior to the divorce when determining the child’s financial needs. Some reasons that may support deviating from the guidelines include, but are not limited to, the following: greater than average shared custody or visitation rights, transportation costs, college expenses, and childcare costs.
However, there are also reasons that are considered insufficient to support a deviation. Some of these reasons include, but are not limited to, the following: punishment of the other parent, possible unemployment in the future, support of the noncustodial parent’s new family, and withheld visitation. None of these reasons guarantee a certain result, but they are reasons that the court will consider before determining child support. If the court decides to deviate from the guidelines, it must clearly state its justification in the final order, or the final order may be reversed. When you call a local divorce lawyer in Birmingham they should be able to help determine if what you are wanting to deviate from is appropriate for the local court or not.
Attorney Steven A. Harris regularly blogs in the areas of family law, bankruptcy, probate, and real estate closings on this website. Mr. Harris tries to provide informative information to the public in easily digestible formats. Hopefully you enjoyed this article and feel free to supply feedback. We appreciate our readers & love to hear from you!