How is child support determined?

Posted By Law Office of Zach Horsley, LLC || 30-Mar-2015

If you are part of a paternity case or going through a divorce where children are involved you will likely be forced to pay child support unless you are awarded sole physical custody. In Alabama, courts adhere to what is known as the “Income Shares Model” of determining how much you will be asked to pay in child support. This policy revolves around the belief that a child should receive the same amount of parental income they otherwise would have received if the parents had stayed together.

The model estimates the gross amount that a 2-parent family would spend on children and divides the money proportionately between the parents according to their incomes. Thus the parent with a higher income is responsible for a higher percentage of support.

The process of determining child support takes four steps:

  • Calculate the total income of both parents and combine them
  • Apply the sum to the Alabama schedule of basic child-support obligations
  • Expenditures for child care and medical expenses are included to reach the support amount
  • Total child support is divided between the parents relative to their adjusted gross incomes. Total child support is then multiplied by each parent’s contributions to the total income.

Situation which may necessitate a deviation from that standard guidelines such as an extraordinary cost of transportation for visitation, assets or other unearned income received on behalf of the child, or other unique circumstances.

Some parents go so far as to leave a job to avoid paying support or take a pay cut in hopes of relieving them of paying. If the court finds out that you have acted in such a way, they may be forced to estimate the income you could earn with reasonable effort and calculate the child support based on this amount instead by looking at your history, education, and occupational qualifications.

Call my office today if you need help estimating the amount of child support you will be ordered to pay after a custody hearing.

Categories: Child Support
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