At the time of divorce, couples will have to work out new payment arrangements to secure the livelihood of both spouses and the children. While spousal support payments are negotiable and are largely based on court opinion, child support payments are less flexible and based on statutory calculations. The Alabama state panel advisory board has voted this month to review Alabama guidelines that govern how much a spouse should pay for child support. The guidelines were adopted in 2009 and the Alabama Child Support Advisory Board has voted to hire an outside firm for review and to apply changes in cost of living.
The review could potentially mean an increase in child support payments, which has led to concern of some father's rights groups. Our Birmingham divorce attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of our clients. We understand the significant stress and burden that can be placed on those responsible for child support payments. We also know that many primary caretakers depend on child support to take care of their families. Whether you are seeking to increase and collect child support or you want to minimize child support obligations, we can protect your rights before, during and after a divorce is finalized.
According to reports, the board reviews the guidelines every four years to ensure fairness, both to those responsible for making payments and for those who collect child support. The panel is made up of family lawyers and judges in Alabama. Before the changes are approved, the recommendations will go to the Alabama Supreme Court. In the past, reviews and recommendations that have been approved have resulted in an increase in child support payments. Father's rights and other advocacy groups argue that the law is already demanding too much. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 62% of child support due was actually paid in 2011.
Some members of the advisory board claim that the amount is too much. Advocacy groups have requested child support payments be capped at the amount that the state pays foster parents. The groups have also recommended that child support payments be placed on debit cards so that the courts can track expenditures to ensure that the money is going to the costs of raising children. According to committee members, this review is limited to reviewing cost-of-living and will not be making any major overhauls of the child support payment system.
Child support determinations can raise issues for divorce couples long after a court order has been rendered. Child support complications may also impact couples who were never married. If you are unable to make child support payments due to an injury, job loss, or other financial hardship, you may be eligible for a modification. If you are unable to collect child support or your obligated former spouse has missed child support payments, you may need to take court action to protect your rights. Our firm is experienced with complex issues involving child support payments and can effectively protect your rights.
Contact Birmingham Family Law Attorney Steven Eversole at (866) 831-5292.