Be Aware Of The Factors That Determine Child Support

There is a rebuttable presumption in Alabama that the Alabama Child Support Guidelines are appropriate to establish child support. According to these guidelines, the court will consider these factors to determine the presumptive amount of child support on a monthly basis:

  • The gross income of each parent
  • Any work-related child care expenses
  • The provision of health insurance by a parent
  • The amount of time each parent has with the child

Determining incomes is not always straightforward, especially when self-employment or seasonally variable earnings are in the picture. Talk to an experienced lawyer at Jones, Hawkins, & Associates, LLC, in Montgomery, for advice and advocacy through the process of child support calculations, whether you will receive or pay support.

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If You Should Receive Child Support...

If you will have primary custody of your children after a divorce or separation, you naturally want to ensure that you receive the full appropriate amount of child support from the other parent. This does not imply that you are going to exploit the other parent. Rather, it reflects the realities of the cost of maintaining a roof over your children's heads, feeding and clothing them, and assuming responsibility for their education, health care and safety most of the time.

Or If You Should Pay...

On the other hand, if you will be the one paying child support to the other parent of your child(ren), you will want to ensure that you do not pay more than is reasonable or required. This does not mean you are greedy or stingy. You may want to establish college savings accounts for your children, take them to Disney World and provide for them in ways other than child support. Your financial health is also important.

You Should Understand The Importance Of Ensuring Child Support Obligations Are Calculated Correctly

It is important to know how strict an obligation a child support order is. Child support cannot be wiped out in bankruptcy. It will remain attached to your estate after death if it remains unpaid. You can go to prison or be denied a driver's license or passport if you do not pay the amount of child support specified in your court order. These are a few reasons why it matters a great deal to keep an eye on how much child support you are being asked to pay.

Enforcement And Modification

On the other hand, if you are the receiving parent and the other parent refuses to pay child support, you have the right to know your options for enforcing a court order.

Parents on both sides of the equation should have quality legal counsel when child support is being determined. An experienced lawyer can also help you petition for modification of child support if either or both parents experience significant changes in financial or life circumstances.

Special Situations

Please note: Sometimes someone other than a parent — such as a grandparent who acts as a guardian — may be entitled to receive child support. It is also possible for someone other than a birth parent or adoptive parent to be responsible for paying child support, if that person has had a parental role in the child's life. Contact an attorney if you are in a position to pay or receive child support, regardless of your relationship to the child.

Another special thing to note is that during a divorce or separation, temporary child support may be awarded pending a final hearing in the matter. Temporary child support is intended to help the party receiving support financially provide for the child during the weeks or months until a final court date.

Do Not Try To Handle This Important Matter Without Legal Advice

The state does not require that you be represented by an attorney when your child support is being determined, enforced or modified. Some parents try to interact with government agencies on their own. However, you owe it to yourself, your child and your financial future to be sure you and your child or children are getting fair treatment when this important matter is in question. Legal counsel is certainly advisable at a time like this.

If you are behind on your child support payments, you may face serious repercussions. You should get legal advice right away.

Whatever your challenges related to child support, we invite you to contact an Alabama family law attorney at Jones, Hawkins, & Associates, LLC, in Montgomery. Reach us by phone at 334-625-1754 or by email through this website to schedule a consultation.