For any child support or child support modifications case filed after January 1, 2009, a new table of basic child support obligations will be used to calculate child support in Alabama Courts. All cases now pending that were filed before January 1, 2009 will be governed by the previous guidelines, which are based on an older set of income obligations.
Child support awards are governed by Rule 32 of the Alabama Rules of Judicial Administration, which was promulgated by the Supreme Court of Alabama. Rule 32 provides the method and standards for calculation child support and employs several forms to be used by the Court and both parties to calculate child support.
If you have questions about the Alabama child support guidelines, please contact Gina H. McDonald & Associates at (205) 453-4497
How is Child Support Calculated?
Both parties in a child support case must complete a Statement of Income Affidavit, known as Form CS-41. This form requires parties to list all forms of GROSS income they receive. The parties must also list the monthly costs that they pay (if any) for childcare and health insurance for the minor children in the case.
The figures from the CS-41 forms are used to fill out the Child Support Guidelines Form CS-42. The CS-42 is a fill in the blank formula used to calculate child support awards:
- The calculation begins with each party's monthly gross income.
- If either party is already paying child support in another case, that monthly amount is deducted from their gross monthly income.
- Both parties incomes are added together to find the combined gross monthly income.
Each party's percentage share of the gross monthly income is also entered. For instance, if the father makes $3,000 and the mother makes $1,000, the father would have a 75% share and the mother a 25% share. The parties combined gross monthly income has a "Standard Basic Obligation" that can be found in a schedule that is part of Rule 32.
That basic obligation is entered into the CS-42 and is added to the monthly child care costs (which are limited to a maximum level based on the type of child care) and the monthly health insurance premium paid to cover the children. Once those figures are added together, the total is then multiplied by the non-custodial parents' percentage of the combined gross monthly income. The result is the monthly child support award.
Does the Court always go by the Guidelines?
The Court can deviate from the child support guidelines under certain limited circumstances:
- The award of child support should not be oppressive
- The award should be based on the principals of equity and fairness
However, parties seeking to lower their child support obligation face an uphill battle. The Court presumes that the method of calculating child support is fair, and it will not be set aside based only on the party paying the support being left with little disposable income.
It is important to note that the schedule of basic child support obligations only goes up to a combined gross monthly income of $20,000. Parties having incomes in excess of that must still use the same child support forms, but the actual child support award will be left to the Court to decide.
Can child support be deducted from a party's pay check?
Child support can always be deducted from the paycheck of party ordered to pay support though an Order/Notice to Withhold income for child support (known as IWO). An IWO is not issued in every case. Most judges require that an IWO form be filed with the Court in every case, even when the parties agree that one party will pay the other directly.
An IWO is not the same as garnishment. Many people who pay child support request that an IWO be issued for their own convenience.
Contact and Experienced Child Support Lawyer
If you need legal help with the Alabama child support calculator, please contact the attorneys at Gina H. McDonald & Associates, L.L.C. We will explain the changes in the law and help you in understanding the new guidelines.