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When can people deviate from the child support guidelines?

Raising children in Alabama can be costly. Parents need to provide for their children’s needs. This includes ensuring they have a roof over their heads, food and clothing. Those are the basics, but parents also pay for the children’s activities, sports, entertainment, school supplies, medical insurance, uninsured medical costs, childcare and many other costs which arise as they raise their children.

These costs need to be paid for by both parents. This is true whether the parents are married or divorce, however, how the parents pay for the financial needs of their children will differ depending on their marital status. If they are divorced, to ensure that both parents are contributing to the children’s needs, one parent may be required to pay child support to the other parent.

The amount that parents pay will generally be determined by the child support guidelines. These guidelines take into account the parents’ income, the number of children they have, the cost of their medical insurance and other factors.

Basis for deviating from child support guidelines

Sometimes there are additional costs that the parents incur for their children or other factors that make the amount determined by the guidelines inadequate or too much. In certain situations, parents may be able to deviate from the guidelines. These situations include, but are not limited to:

  • One parent paying has much more parenting time than is customary.
  • One parent incurs significant amounts of costs for transportation for parenting time.
  • Assets that were received on behalf of the children.
  • The non-custodial parent will claim the children as dependents on their taxes.
  • Extraordinary childcare costs incurred by a parent.
  • Other factors that would contribute to the best interests of the child.

There are many parents in Alabama who either currently pay child support or will be paying child support. In many situations the amount will be determined by the child support guidelines, but there are reasons why departing from the guidelines is best for the children. Child support calculations can be complicated and fact-specific to each parents’ circumstances. Experienced attorneys understand how these calculations are made and may be able to guide one through the process.

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