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Alabama Child Support
Child Support in Alabama

Child Support is based on Alabama Rule 32 of Judicial Administration and is based on the Income Shares model.

In this routine, the court may order either parent to provide child support. Unless one party can demonstrate that the amount is unjust or inappropriate, the guidelines are presumed to be correct.

The court permits parents to negotiate a written agreement between the parents for a different amount with a reasonable explanation for the deviation.

In every case where child support is requested, a standardized Child Support Guidelines form and Child Support Income Statement/Affidavit must be filed. There is also a procedure for expedited processing in child support cases.

A failure to pay support may result in the suspension of an Alabama driver's license, according to the Code of Alabama: Title 30, Chapters 3-1 and 3-200 and Alabama Rules of Judicial Administration: Rules 32 and 35.

Alabama child support is typically calculated by using a Child Support Worksheet. The worksheet generates the appropriate child support obligation according to each spouse's income and other relative numeric factors, such as taxes paid and retirement contributions.

In Alabama, the formula turns on the following factors:

  • The combined gross income of the parents.
  • Each parent's gross income as a percentage of the combined gross income.
  • Any pre-existing obligation to pay child support or alimony.
  • The number of children under 19.
  • The amount paid for work-related childcare, subject to some limitations provided by the state Department of Human Resources.
  • The amount paid for health insurance for the children, and the party responsible for paying it.

Once this amount is determined it is essential to look at any appropriate Alabama child support deviation factors that may be applicable to the situation. Additional information about Alabama child support may be obtained at the Website Of The Alabama Legislature.

Alabama Child Support Guidelines

Alabama child support is calculated by estimating the amount of support that would have been available to the child(ren) if the family had remained intact. This estimated amount is then divided proportionally to the parents according to each parent's income. Pay records substantiate income claims.

A father with a higher income than the mother would then be responsible for the greater portion of his child's support obligation; however, a father with a lower income than the mother would then be responsible for the smaller portion of the child support obligation. Sometimes, the regime results in a custodial parent paying support to a noncustodial parent.

The Income Shares Model is used by many states to establish the child support amount of each child rather than what it actually costs to raise a child. Income shares tables calculating child support are not based directly on actual spending on children but rather on indirect estimates of child costs. Income shares assumes that child costs reflect the spending necessary to restore a family's standard of living back to what it was prior to the divorce or having a child.

Calculate Alabama Child Support

Extraordinary Expenses

Extraordinary expenses are either add-ons, where the expense is added to the support payment, or deductions, where the amount is deducted, and indicated as either mandatory or permissive.

In Alabama, an extraordinary medical expense deduction is permitted. Childcare expenses are mandatory deductions. Private school expenses are deviation factors.

Child Support Enforcement

Alabama counties have Child Support Enforcement offices. You can find Child Support Enforcement Information here.


Under Alabama law, child support payments usually end when the child reaches the age of 19 or when he or she graduates from high school, or becomes emancipated, whichever happens later. However, if the child attends college and is not working, the noncustodial parent still has an obligation pay support.

Parents may agree to support a child for a longer period of time. If a child is disabled, the court may also order that both parents continue to support the child when he or she becomes an adult, if they are unable to support themselves.

Deviation Factors

The court may deviate from Alabama guidelines when the parties enter "a fair, written agreement" providing for a different level of support, or "upon a written finding on the record that the application of the guidelines would be manifestly unjust or inequitable."

Rule 32 enumerates five non-exclusive reasons courts may, but need not, deviate from the guidelines:

  • Shared physical custody or visitation rights providing for periods of physical custody or care of children by the obligor parent substantially in excess of those customarily approved or ordered by the court.
  • Extraordinary costs of transportation for visitation borne substantially by one parent.
  • Expenses of college education incurred prior to a child's reaching the age of majority.
  • Assets of, or unearned income received by, or on behalf of, a child or children.
  • Such other facts or circumstances that the court finds contribute to the best interest of the child or children for whom support is being determined.

Courts have latitude to set support when incomes are below or above the guidelines, which range from $6,600 per year and up to $120,000 per year. This discretion is not unbridled, however. It must relate to the needs of the children. Courts also consider the expenses of a new family, but a parent's primary legal and moral obligation to children is not diminished by duties to his or her new family.

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