Child Support Lawyers in Baldwin County, AL
Parents have a general obligation to financially support their children. In Alabama, the age of majority, also known as the age of emancipation, is presumed to be 19 years. Child support obligations often end at that age, but under certain circumstances can extend beyond, including times where a child has special needs or is still enrolled in high school and living at home. In some cases, child support can extend through a child’s college years if there was a prior agreement in place. When a couple divorces, an important issue to resolve is the child support obligation of each parent. There are factors that the court will consider when determining child support in Alabama. The focus of the decision will always be mitigating the impact of the divorce on the child. Whether you are a custodial parent or a non-custodial parent, it is important to have effective legal support protecting your interests through the divorce process. Stone Crosby, P.C. has over 100 years of experience helping clients throughout Alabama. If you are in need of our legal services, contact Stone Crosby, P.C.
Child support guidelines
Alabama determines child support using the income shares model, which is used by many states across the nation. Using the formula in the model, the court will estimate the total obligation of each parent by calculating the amount of support that would have been available to the child if the parents didn’t divorce. This amount is divided according to the parent’s income. In addition, the formula takes other factors into consideration, including the number of dependent children under the age of 19, any pre-existing agreements to child support and alimony, health insurance costs of the paying party, and child care expenses.
Deviating factors for child support
Understandably, there are factors that the formula is just not able to take into consideration. Judges have the discretion to do so though. If a judge is so inclined, they may adjust the child support obligation of either or both parents based on the following factors:
- Periods of custody or visitation provided by the obligor parent that exceed the norm approved or ordered by the court
- Cost of transportation for visitation by the noncustodial parent that is deemed extraordinary
- College expenses incurred before the child’s 19th birthday
- Assets or income received by the child
- Other factors that contribute to deviating from the guidelines in the best interest of the child
Modifying child support
The child support guidelines and the court itself cannot see into the future. A change in circumstance is not a factor in court that rules on present facts. That said, either parent has the right to request a modification to child support. It is important to note that the legal standard for a change is quite high. One must demonstrate overwhelming evidence of a change in circumstance that convinces the court to change an order because the paying party can no longer afford the obligation or the receiving party can no longer afford the cost of caring for the child under the financial structure of the order. Modification only applies to future payments and is not retroactive. The court has the final say and will use its discretion to resolve the matter or reject the request.
Contact an experienced child support attorney
If you are facing a divorce and child support is a contested factor, the right attorney can protect your rights and interest. Contact Stone Crosby, P.C. to discuss your legal matter. Our firm has decades of experience helping clients resolve their legal matters efficiently and effectively. To discuss your situation with one of our seasoned attorneys, contact Stone Crosby, P.C.