In Alabama, child support is governed by Alabama Rules of Judicial Administration Rule 32 (A.R.J.A.). This is often referred to as the “Child Support Guidelines.” When determining the amount of child support owed whether in a divorce case or simply in a child support case, the court must apply the guidelines. The guidelines use an income share method to calculate child support. In other words, the guidelines provide that both parents shall contribute to the support of the children. The purpose of the guidelines is to assist the courts, lawyers, and parties in getting a more consistent determination of child support. Furthermore, there is a legal presumption that child support amount calculated based on the guidelines must be used and followed. However, the court can deviate from the guidelines for certain legal reasons.
With the income share method, the gross income of both parents are first computed. This total family gross income is used to calculate the basic child support obligation. However, each party can subtract out from their gross income any existing child support payments and periodic alimony payments.The total monthly child support amount is determined based on the revised gross income of both spouses and the number of children.
Added to the basic child support obligation is work related child care costs and health insurance costs.
Then, the total support figure is multiplied by the percentage of the total income of both the mother and father. The non-custodial parent pays his or her percentage of the total support of the other spouse.
In Alabama child support payments can be made one of several different ways. Child support payments can be paid directly from one spouse to the other spouse. Child support payments can also be deducted out of the noncustodial parent's check through a withholding order issued by the court.
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