Adults with children are legally responsible to financially support them until they reach the age of majority, which is typically 18. For this reason, it is almost certain that divorced parents in Auburn, AL, with children below the age of 18 will owe some amount of child support.
Primary Factors in Determining Child Support in Auburn, AL
A number of factors may impact the calculation on child support in Auburn, AL. Among these, the most vital factor is the amount of money that the parents make.
Both Parents’ Incomes
When calculating child support, the income of both parents is taken into account. Further, the earning capability of a parent is also considered. For instance, if a physician in his 40s is playing video games all day rather than working, they may still be liable to pay child support even with no income. An associated factor is the earnings of the other parent, such as income from interest or investments.
Income and Requirements of the Custodial Parent
The custodial parent needs more support as they have primary custody of the child and will spend more to take care of the child’s needs. If custodial parents earn less than the non-custodial parent, they will receive a more substantial child support payment to cover the necessary expenses.
Structure of the Family
Family structure refers to the number of children involved. More children often mean more money, which is a truism that every parent can corroborate. Also, a factor under consideration is the amount of time each parent spends with their kids. In general, the more time a parent spends with their children, the lesser money they owe to the other parent for support payments.
The Child’s Age and Status
Based on the circumstances of an individual case and the child support agreement, child support payments may end at some juncture in the child’s life. The agreement will typically allow the parents to stop support payments when the child attains the age of majority. But at times, a family court in Auburn, AL, may require the child support payments to continue until the kids graduate from college or the children are married before the support can end.
Standard of Living of the Child before Divorce or Separation
Before deciding on child support payments, the family court in Auburn, AL, will also assess the needs and standard of living for the child prior to the divorce. The court intends to make sure that the child receives the same standard of living following the divorce and to minimize the effect of the separation on the child.
The Ability of the Parent to Pay
The court will ensure that the child support payments are reasonable and proportional to the parent’s income. The court allows a parent to modify the child support payment if they are unable to pay the amount.
The Child’s Needs
The child’s needs and expenses are also a leading factor in consideration of child support payments. This determination includes assessing the child’s medical insurance, daycare expenses, education costs, rent, food, and special needs.
Notably, stepchildren are not taken into consideration in some states for child support payment. These states do not consider stepparents as the legal guardians for those kids. Therefore, without any legal obligation, there is no child support.
Other Factors in Calculating Child Support
The above list is by no means exhaustive as family courts in Auburn, AL, are deemed “courts of equity.” This means that they can and do take into account all pertinent aspects and circumstances in determining the most just and reasonable outcome of the case. Their main objective is to rule in a manner that is in the best interest of the child. The other factors considered in this determination are as follows:
- Each parent’s tax filing status
- Medical insurance expenses
- Support of children from other relationships
- Retirement contributions
- Traveling to visit children
- Union dues
Alabama “Income Shares” Model
Under Alabama law, the “income shares” model is used to determine child support payments. The tenets of this model state that each parent should contribute the same proportion of their income (for child support) as if they were still together.
Through the “income shares” model, the court calculates the amount a cohesive two-parent family would likely spend on the child. After this, it divides this proportionally between the two parents based on their respective earnings. The parent with the lower income will pay a smaller percentage while the parent with the higher income will pay a greater percentage of child support.
Consult an Experienced Auburn, AL Family Law Attorney
Children are often vulnerable during a divorce or paternity case, and it is crucial to ensure their well-being. Also, it is vital that the child support payments are reasonable and fair and do not create undue pressure on either party. The seasoned family law attorneys at Alsobrook Law Group have countless years of experience in handling divorce and family law proceedings in Auburn, AL.
Our compassionate attorneys are highly knowledgeable in this area of law and work closely with clients to resolve family legal issues that preserve their rights and do not compromise vital relationships. Call (334) 737-3718 for a free initial consultation on your child support matter.