Changing Child Support in Alabama
If you are considering either raising or lowering child support in your prior case, then our child support attorneys might be able to help. When you call our office, you can get a free phone consult with our child support lawyer usually the same day you call. If it is something that you feel is worth your time and money to go back to court and modify the support, then our family law attorney can file it for you and represent you at the hearing.
The general rule for altering support is that parents or custodians of a child under nineteen (19) years of age in Alabama may request a modification in child support whenever a change in circumstances occurs. Child support modifications are governed by Rule 32 of the Alabama Rules of Judicial Administration. Generally, a court will consider a modification request 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.
Our child support attorneys generally require something called a retainer to file a Petition to Modify Support for you. If you and your ex-spouse agree to the changes, then we can sometimes do an Amended Settlement Agreement and modify the child support ordered in the prior divorce by agreement. We are currently charging a flat fee of $600 plus filing fee to do such amendments by agreement. If you and your ex-spouse are not in agreement and you want to alter or modify your prior child support arrangement or decree, then we will have to pay a retainer.
A retainer is an amount you pay the attorney and as that attorney works for you they bill out of the retainer at an hourly rate. When the retainer is exhausted (attorney has worked enough hours at a certain rate where the money has all been earned) then you will have to refill the retainer if you want them to continue working. Our child support modification attorney generally charges a retainer up front based on the expectation of work to be performed. The retainers for a Petition to Modify generally start at $2000 with our law firm. If your case is not in a county where we have an office then the retainer can be more since we would have to drive a long way to handle your case. Give us a call for a free phone consultation with a divorce attorney to determine how much your retainer will be to get a Petition to Modify filed in your case.
You 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. First, you will want to consider your grounds for the request. For example, what has changed in your circumstances to make the court consider a change? Be sure to have evidence of income changes (such as pay stubs) available to show as evidence. If you had to cover a child’s expenses for something extraordinary (an extended hospital stay) be sure to get copies of those bills and proof that you paid them (a cancelled check or bank statement).
Once you have your evidence gathered, you can file a Petition to Modify Child Support (Form PS-02) and a financial affidavit (Form CS-41). These forms can be found online if you wish to attempt to do it all and represent yourself alone at the hearings. The court clerks cannot fill out the forms for you, but they can make sure you get the right form to fill out. If you want us to represent you, then call today to find out how much we charge for a retainer.
Once the petition is filed a hearing will be set to consider the request. At the hearing you can make your case to the judge about why there should or shouldn’t be a modification in the amount of child support being paid. 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.”
When you retain us, our family law attorney will go over the process with you and file your Petition to Modify. Once it is filed, we will be available throughout the entire process to answer questions. Our child support attorney will attend the hearings and advocate for the changes you are wanting to the Court.
You can call and set up an appointment to meet with our attorney in any of our offices across the State of Alabama. We currently have offices in Anniston, Huntsville, Decatur, Montgomery, Prattville, Birmingham, and Alabaster. If you live in the surrounding areas of Gardendale, Calera, Jasper, Cullman, Millbrook, Madison, Tuscaloosa, Bessemer, Helena, Chelsea, Clanton, Leeds, Moody, Talladega, or anywhere else in Central and Northern Alabama then give us a call today to file your Petition to Modify Child Support where you live.