If you are a parent or you have legal custody of a child under nineteen in Alabama, your Birmingham child support lawyer may request a modification in child support whenever a change in circumstances occurs. Child support modifications in Birmingham are governed by Rule 32 of the Alabama Rules of Judicial Administration. Generally, a court will consider a child support modification in Jefferson County if a parent’s income changes by more than 10%. Other situations, like a parent paying a lot of money for a child’s medical care, can also warrant reconsidering child support amounts. Call our Birmingham and Shelby County child support lawyer today for a consultation.
In Jefferson County, our Birmingham child support lawyer should file your petition in the Family Court Division of the Jefferson County Circuit Court. The Circuit Court has divisions in that handle child support in Birmingham and Bessemer, depending on what area of the county you live in. Your Jefferson County child support lawyer should generally file the Petition to Modify Child Support in the circuit court in the county where the custodial parent lives or in the county that issued the original child support order.
When you file the petition, the Court will consider your grounds for the request. What has changed in your circumstances to make the court consider a change? Be sure to have evidence of income changes, like pay stubs, available for your Birmingham child support attorney to show as evidence. If you had to cover a child’s expenses for something extraordinary (such as an extended hospital stay) be sure to get copies of those bills and proof that you paid them (such as a cancelled check or bank statement).
Filing a Child Support Petition in Birmingham
After you have gathered the evidence, our child support attorneys in Jefferson County will obtain a Petition to Modify Child Support (Form PS-02) and a financial affidavit (Form CS-41) to file along with documents we prepare for you. The court clerks cannot fill out the forms for you, but they can make sure you get the right form to fill out. Once your Birmingham child support attorney files the petition, a copy will be sent by the court to the child’s other parent for service of process. This can be done by certified mail or they may have a deputy sheriff deliver it in person.
A hearing will be set in court to consider the petition. Your local child support lawyer will argue your case for you to the Court and your ex-spouse will argue their case. Make sure to bring any documents that could serve as evidence to the hearing, such as pay stubs, W-2s, income tax returns, bank statements, and any extraordinary bills you may have incurred in caring for your child. In deciding whether to award a modification of child support, the court must consider whether you proved a “material change in circumstances that is substantial and continuing.”
But when do modifications go into effect? If the court orders a modification, all child support payments after the date of filing the petition are subject to the revised amount. So if you lose your job, for example, it is generally advisable your Jefferson County child support lawyer file your petition as soon as possible. That’s because sometimes it can take months to reach a hearing date and a ruling, but all payments after the date of filing are retroactively adjusted once the ruling is made.
Attorney’s fees for these petitions can vary from one Jefferson County family law firm to another. Whether you need a child support lawyer in Hoover or Birmingham, we can help. Generally, you pay your Birmingham child support lawyer a retainer. A retainer fee is money paid in advance for services that will be rendered. It is usually paid monthly based on the attorney’s estimate of the work they will be doing for you during that time. If the child’s other parent opposes the modification, the retainer can cost more money since the case will be argued longer. When both parents agree on the modification, the retainer is fairly inexpensive, because it is an uncontested request. The more adversarial the process is, the more expensive it generally becomes. Call our Birmingham child support attorney today and let our family law & divorce lawyer in Trussville file your child support petition in Jefferson County, Alabama.