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One of the main issues in a divorce involving children is child support. In Alabama and most states, both parents have a responsibility to support their child, whether they are married or not. Calculating the amount each parent owes in child support is complex and hotly contested, which is why it is important to have an experienced lawyer to protect your child's best interests and help you get the best possible result in your case.
Our Tuscaloosa child support attorneys at The Glasscox Law Firm LLC have a comprehensive understanding of Alabama divorce law to help our clients resolve a wide range of family legal matters. Whether you need legal assistance calculating your child's entitled support or modifying a current order, we are prepared to provide experienced and personalized counsel.
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Calculating Child Support in Alabama
Child support in Alabama is based on the “Income Shares Model,” which is an estimate of the total amount two parents would likely spend on their children if they were still married, and then proportionally divides the amount between the parents based on their income. The Alabama Child Support Guidelines contains the amounts and the rules for parents to divide the amounts.
Both parents may have to pay child support. However, if one parent has sole physical custody and the other is the noncustodial parent with visitation rights, only the noncustodial parent pays child support since the custodial parent's share is presumed to be already spent on raising the child.
When calculating child support, you must first figure out each parent's monthly gross income, which consists of all sources of income (e.g. salary, bonus, commission, tips, etc.). If a parent is paying child support or spousal support (alimony) from previous marriages, an adjusted gross income – which subtracts those payments – will be used.
Next, you add the two parents' gross incomes to determine the total combined gross income. Using the Alabama Schedule of Basic Support Guidelines, match the total income with the number of children to figure out the total child support obligation.
The total child support obligation will be divided proportionally between each parent, according to their percentage of income. For instance, if one parent makes 75 percent of the total combined gross income, they must pay 75 percent of the child support. Lastly, the court will add other expenses such as health insurance, childcare, and other child-related expenses to adjust the total child support obligation.
If both parents have joint physical custody or a parenting arrangement where they both spend more time with the child compared to the standard amount of visitation time, such cases may deviate from the child support guidelines, but use them as a starting point.
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