Alabama's State Laws on Child Support Payments

By Heather Frances J.D.

Alabama law requires a court order to establish child support payments. Depending on the facts of your case and whether the noncustodial parent pays the child support correctly, further court orders may be necessary for issues like modifying the amount of payments or collecting past due amounts.

Alabama law requires a court order to establish child support payments. Depending on the facts of your case and whether the noncustodial parent pays the child support correctly, further court orders may be necessary for issues like modifying the amount of payments or collecting past due amounts.

Calculating Child Support

Alabama courts usually calculate child support based on the Alabama Child Support Guidelines, which are reviewed and adjusted as necessary every four years. The payment amounts in these guidelines are based on the adjusted gross income of both parents, number of children involved and work-related child care costs. The court can deviate from these guidelines in unusual situations.

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Payment Method

Your child support order will likely contain an order for income withholding, which orders your employer to withhold some of your pay and send it directly to the state to apply to your child support obligations. The Alabama Child Support Payment Center receives these payments. Then, depending on the type of case, payments are sent to either the Alabama Department of Human Resources or the Alabama Central Disbursement Division for distribution to the appropriate person.

Enforcement Options

Alabama and federal laws provide several methods for collecting child support payments if they are not correctly paid by the noncustodial parent. In addition to income withholding, these methods include negative reports to credit bureaus, deducting payments from federal or state income tax refunds, revoking the non-custodial parent’s passport, liens against bank accounts or property, and revoking the noncustodial parent’s driver's license. In certain cases, the noncustodial parent could be criminally prosecuted or forced by the Internal Revenue Service to pay.

Modifying Child Support

Your child support payments may be modified if there is a substantial and continuing change in your circumstances. For example, if you lose your job, have additional children or receive a significant raise, your child support payments could change. The court considers a change to be substantial and continuing if there is a 10 percent or more difference between your existing payments and what the payment would be if Alabama’s guidelines were applied to your current situation. However, the court has a great deal of discretion when it comes to modifying child support payments — it could order modification if there is not a 10 percent difference or deny modification when there is more than 10 percent difference.

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Alabama Laws on Child Support & the Restart of Child Support

References

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What Happens If You Get Behind on Child Support Payments?

If you've lost your job or suffered a financial catastrophe, chances are that you're barely able to make your child support payments. You might even have fallen behind on them. Unlike credit card and car payments, paying child support is a legal obligation backed by court order. While each state has its own child support enforcement methods, many of the penalties imposed for falling behind on payments are similar from state to state.

Alabama Child-Support Laws

Child support is often one of the most disputed issues between a couple when a marriage ends. Although many people have the "traditional" idea that only the father is ordered to pay child support, today's court's take a more gender-neutral view toward child support payments. As in other states, child support payments in Alabama are determined by several factors relating to the relative circumstances of the mother, the father and the children.

Alabama Child Support Arrears Laws

Child support is awarded to a custodial parent to provide financial assistance with a child's basic needs, including food, clothing and shelter. Support is generally owed until the child turns 18. When a non-custodial parent does not pay as ordered, the owed support becomes past due, or in arrears. In Alabama, the Department of Human Resources' Child Support Enforcement Program aids custodial parents in the collection of child support arrearages.

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