Calculating Child Support In Alabama Is Simple, Until It Isn’t
Child support is often one of the most contentious issues in a divorce case. Only the pettiest people are still bitter, 20 years after their divorce has become final, about the fact that the court let their ex-spouse keep the dining table, but even the most generous and least materialistic people can easily hold grudges about the years of financial hardship they suffered while co-parenting with their ex-spouse. If you are the one paying child support, you can easily feel like the court ordered you to pay too much or that your ex-spouse mismanaged the money that he or she received in child support payments. If you are the one receiving child support, and money is tight even when the child support checks arrive on time, it is easy to resent your ex for leaving you to worry each month about whether you can pay your bills and to borrow desperately from relatives or unscrupulous rent-a-banks when you ex’s nonpayment of child support left you no other option. A Birmingham child support lawyer can help you and your ex-spouse work out issues related to children’s finances so that you can have a harmonious co-parenting relationship.
The Alabama Child Support Guidelines
At first glance, the Alabama child support guidelines are simple. The court only needs to know each parent’s gross income and how many days of parenting time each parent has per year, and then it simply runs the numbers through a formula. Of course, it isn’t always so simple. There is room for disagreement about which number to enter for a parent’s income when he or she relies on income from freelance work or when one spouse alleges that the other is voluntarily underemployed. Likewise, the child support guidelines do not account for all the possible variations in children’s medical expenses. There is room for disagreement about which parent should pay for the children’s medical insurance if the family does not qualify for Medicaid. This leads to the issue of which parent pays the medical expenses that the children’s health insurance does not cover.
Child Support and High Net Worth Divorce
Wealthy couples can easily get drawn into protracted disputes over their children’s expenses. Since most people cannot afford to pay for private school tuition, equestrian lessons, overnight summer camp, and the other expenses related to a privileged childhood, the court does not have guidelines about these. It is up to the parents to work out these details during divorce mediation or, if necessary, at trial. In fact, if the family’s income exceeds $30,000 per month, that is, $360,000 per year, the court does not even apply the child support guidelines. If couples who are that wealthy cannot agree on a child support amount, judges may apply their own discretion in determining an appropriate amount.
Contact Peeples Law About Child Support Disputes
A Birmingham family law attorney can help you work out the details of your parenting plan so that the court can calculate the child support amount. Contact Peeples Law today to schedule a consultation.