In any divorce involving children, child support can be a major source of friction. Children must be supported, whether their parents are still together or not. However, many parents disagree over the amount of child support that’s appropriate. In some cases, the court makes the final decisions on child support payments, if the divorcing couple is not able to agree.

If you’re getting a divorce in Alabama and you have children, it’s important to have an idea of the amount you might be paying or receiving each month so you can plan for the future. Here’s how to calculate child support obligations in Alabama.

Who Must Pay Child Support?

The non-custodial parent is expected to pay child support after a divorce. This means that the parent who is the primary caregiver will not pay child support as they are expected to pay for the children’s expenses as needed.

However, some divorcing couples decide on a shared custody arrangement. Instead of visitation rights, a parent might have their children live with them part-time. Joint custody arrangements can affect child support payments since each parent would naturally be paying for some routine expenses.

How Can You Calculate Child Support?

In Alabama, basic child support is calculated using an “income shares” framework. The monthly gross income of each parent is combined, minus any existing support payments they receive. The state maintains a table of expected monthly contributions, based on the parents’ combined income.

By dividing the correct number on the table, based on the number of children, each parent would be responsible for a percentage of the support, calculated by their individual income. Childcare costs and insurance are also considered when calculating support payments. If the non-custodial parent pays for insurance, for instance, their expected payment would be lower.

Although this is the basic formula the state uses for calculating child support, each individual situation is different. The amount of child support might be higher or lower based on different factors.

How Do You Decide What’s Best for Your Kids?

When it comes to custody arrangements, it can be difficult to decide what’s best for your kids. Obviously, if you and your ex-spouse will be living far away from one another, it’s not practical to have joint custody. Regardless of your custody arrangements, however, child support payments are important for ensuring that your kids have everything they need.

If you need help navigating the divorce process, including the negotiations over custody and child support, our experienced family law attorneys can help. Call our Birmingham, Alabama law firm at (205) 858-9224 today to discuss your case with our compassionate child support lawyers.