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Understanding child support

On Behalf of | Oct 1, 2020 | Divorce |

Once divorcing parents, or the courts, decide who will be the custodial parent, the next step is to determine child support. The state of Alabama determines support payments on the premise that a child’s level of support should stay the same as if the parents were still together.

The court determines support based on income level and number of children. However, the money received from the non-custodial parent should only pay for certain expenses.

Factors used to determine child support

According to the Alabama Administrative Office of Courts, the state uses an income shares model to help determine the amount of support each parent is responsible for. The first step is to add the basic child support obligation, based off combined adjusted gross income and the number of children, to health insurance and work-related child care costs. There is then a division of the total based on the proportion of each parent’s gross income.

There may be a deviation from the basic guidelines for situations which involve:

  • Excessive transportation costs
  • College education expenses
  • Assets of a child

Expenses covered by child support

According to FindLaw, the parent who receives child support from the non-custodial parent must spend it on expenses related to raising a child. Basic expenses include clothing, food and living expenses such as utilities and mortgage or rent. Other typical expenses child support may cover include educational fees, transportation, medical expenses, basic entertainment, child care and extracurricular activities.

In general, the court does not monitor how the custodial parent spends the support payment. However, if there is evidence that a child is not adequately taken care of, the court may ask for proof.