Child Support Lawyers in Alabama
Child support is meant to support the health and wellbeing of children by providing for their medical, living, and educational needs. The duty to pay child support is seen as a continuous obligation that exists regardless of the marital status of the parents. Whether you are seeking to collect child support or need legal help to protect yourself against unfair and unmanageable child support payments, Dothan Law Group can represent your interests with compassion, competence and commitment.
Obtaining Child Support Payments in Alabama
To obtain child support from your child’s other parent, you should first speak with a child support attorney at Dothan Law Group. Alabama has specific rules for determining the financial responsibility for both parties involved to ensure parents pay support. Financial support is required even when you or the other parent choose not to have a relationship with the child.
The basic support amounts and the rules for dividing amounts between parents are set out in the Alabama Child Support Guidelines. Both parents, whether married or not, have a continuing legal duty to financially support their children. Child support payments are calculated by asking:
- What are the incomes for each parent?
- What is the child custody arrangement?
- Who pays for the child’s health insurance?
- What are the costs of child care?
- Is one parent already paying child support for another child?
- Is one parent paying alimony?
Alabama courts ordering child support follow the “Income Shares Model.” The goal of this model is for the child to maintain the same or similar standard of living as when the parents were together. At Dothan Law Group, our child support lawyers want you to be comfortable with your child support order, knowing that it is what is best for your child and a fair outcome based on your and the other parent’s incomes.
What Does Child Support Cover?
Paying accurate child support helps your children in several ways, primarily because it ensures their financial needs are met. Child support may go toward housing, including a mortgage, rent, and utilities, food, clothing, transportation, entertainment, healthcare, and miscellaneous items.
The custodial parent is not required to prove how he or she spends the child support. However, if you believe the recipient parent is misusing the payments and not properly caring for your child, then contact a child support lawyer at Dothan Law Group. Depending on the situation and the evidence of misuse, you may be able to take the matter to court.
Enforcing a Child Support Order
Once the judge has ordered child support, the non-custodial parent is required to send support payments to the custodial parent for the child. However, families can experience late payments, payments that are too small, or the checks may not come at all. Whether you are a party who is entitled to receive child support or a party who has been ordered to pay child support, it is important to know that if child support is not paid, there are consequences. These methods include, but are not limited to:
- Income withholding – Child support payments can be taken directly out of the non-custodial parent’s paychecks, unemployment benefits, workers’ compensation awards, and retirement checks.
- Civil contempt – If the non-custodial parent doesn’t comply with a child support court order, he or she may be found in contempt of the order.
- Income tax intercept – If the non-custodial owes back support, the state agency can report the parent to the IRS and the Alabama State Department of Revenue. The non-custodial parent’s income tax refund can be seized.
- Arrest – An arrest warrant may be issued to the non-custodial parent for failing to pay child support.
Other potential enforcement remedies include placing a lien against a party’s assets, reporting the party to a credit bureau, and even federal prosecution. If you have an existing child support order and you are owed back child support, Dothan Law Group can help take legal action to collect unpaid child support payments.
Terminating Child Support in Alabama
There are many situations in which child support should come to an end. The most common reason for terminating child support in Alabama is because your child reaches the age of majority, which is 19 years old in Alabama. The courts make exceptions to extend payments or terminate them early. If the child cannot support themselves, payments may be extended. Payments may end early if the parent can prove their child can support themselves. Other reasons you may request a child support obligation terminate include:
- Your child passes away
- The paying parent obtains full or majority physical custody
- The paying parent’s parental rights are terminated either voluntarily or involuntarily
- The paying parent or the child requests that the child is emancipated
If you do not have a court order allowing you to stop making payments, speak with our child support lawyers at Dothan Law Group about asking the court to terminate your obligation.
Contact an Experienced Child Support Attorney
At Dothan Law Group, our experienced child support and family law attorneys can help you to understand how support is calculated, when child support is necessary, how much you may owe, how to enforce a support order, or/and when modification of a child support order may be appropriate. Regardless of how grim your situation may seem, we have helped hundreds of clients in situations similar to yours.
Our team of dedicated professionals are able to assist you with any questions that you may have about child support, enforcement, out of state cases, and more. Give us a call and see the difference that we can make in your life. At Dothan Law Group, we devote the time and attention necessary to the issue of child support in your divorce, to ensure not only that your children are supported, but that you are treated fairly as the paying or receiving parent.