Can Child Support Be Adjusted in Alabama?
Divorcing parents work hard to reduce the impact that this life change has on their children. Moms and dads do whatever it takes to make sure their children’s lives remain as normal as possible.
Most non-custodial parents treat regular child support payments as an essential of parenting. A 2012 report showed over $24 billion was paid in child support by almost 5 million parents.
But what happens if the parent making child support payments suffers a serious change in circumstance? There are a number of life changes that could potentially affect the amount of child support a non-custodial parent is required to pay:
- Losing a job
- Significant reduction in pay
- Significant health issue
- Drastic increases in the cost of living
- Increase in pay
Also, there could be a significant change in expenses that could impact the amount of child support a non-custodial parent is required to pay:
- Daycare expenses are now required
- Health care insurance
- Educational expenses have significantly increased
- Emergency expenses related to the well-being of the child
The solution to these issues is to adjust child support payments through a legal process. Here is an overview of how to get an adjustment in the amount of your child support you pay in Alabama.
Work with the Other Parent
The most effective approach is to work with your former spouse. Explain the change in your circumstances and how the change makes it difficult to pay the original amount of child support. Discuss the new reality and come up with a monthly sum that is workable for both of you.
Then you need to petition the court, requesting a new child support order with the new amount. Generally, a judge will quickly approve the order, as long as it is in line with child support guidelines for Alabama.
Work Directly with the Court
What happens if you can’t come to terms with your former spouse about changes in child support? You can petition the court for a hearing to show a judge how your situation has changed, with the aim of getting your child support adjusted. You will need to prove that your financial circumstances have significantly changed. Judges in Alabama typically will not approve a modification unless there has been a drastic reduction in income or some other significant event which would prevent you from meeting your current obligation. In order to secure a hearing you must complete the necessary paperwork (Request to Change Child Support and Child-Support-Obligation Income Statement/Affidavit) and file it with the Court Clerk in the County where your current child support order was originally filed. This process can be confusing and if you do not complete the documents correctly or if you are not properly prepared for your hearing, the judge most likely will not rule in your favor. Also, a non-custodial parent may believe they are eligible for a downward adjustment to their child support payment, only to find out that once the Alabama Child Support guidelines are applied, their child support payments may increase. For these and other reasons, most parents partner with an experienced Alabama family law attorney, because they are familiar with the Alabama family law and has successfully negotiated child support disputes.
Work with Experienced Alabama Child Support Attorneys
Smith & McGhee, Attorneys-at-Law, has years of experience, helping families just like yours. We have a deep understanding of Alabama family law. We understand the nuts and bolts of child support payments and our experienced child support attorneys will work diligently to help you reach a positive outcome. We know how to persuasively present your case so the court understands why changes are called for.