In Alabama, the calculation of child support is governed by Alabama Rule of Judicial Procedure 32. ”Rule 32″ as it is called contains very specific instructions for how a non-custodial parent’s child support is to be determined. Once the calculation has been completed, judges are obligated to order that parent to pay that specific amount without deviation unless there is a specific reason to make the ordered amount higher or lower. One of the reasons to deviate specifically mentioned in Rule 32 concerns the situation when one parent lives far enough away from their children that they incur substantial costs to travel to see their children. These days travel to see your children in their hometown can get expensive with gas or airplane fares rising every day, not to mention hotel costs and meals at restaurants. This can be an important issue to raise in several situations.

If you are the non-custodial parent and you have to move away from your children, then this can be the basis of a motion to reduce your child support. That is especially true if you are going to be paid less money to work at your new job. In that case you can request a reduction for both reasons. Of course, anytime you are divorced and there are children involved, there is always a chance that you will have further disagreements that result in potential litigation before a judge. As a result, documenting these extra expenses with receipts, bank records and/or credit card statements is essential to giving yourself a chance to get the judge to agree with your position. Remember, the person paying child support is always the one that bears the burden to prove payment of support no matter what form.

Travel costs can also be important if you are the custodial parent and you are the one that is moving. If you notify your Ex that you intend to move and they object, litigation attempting to get a judge to allow the move can be complicated, time consuming and expensive. Offering to reduce the child support they are paying as a way to get them to agree to the move is one of many tools you can use to settle the dispute.

My friend Candi Peeples, who has a family law practice in Birmingham, Alabama, has developed an app for calculating child support. It is brand new and I have only had a chance to use it a few times but it can provide you with a good estimate of what child support you should receive or pay. The app can be found by going to the app store and searching for “Alabama child support calculator”. The app is free and literally takes seconds to download.

The interface is very simple and the information can be entered quickly. The app gives you a child support amount at the end and also provides a link to let you look at a calculation page that is similar to the one required to be submitted to a court. The only issue I can see so far is that it is not clear that the income amounts that are entered should be your GROSS monthly income and not net income. I expect that this will be corrected soon.

Please be aware that child support calculations can be very simple or very complicated depending, for example, on how easy or difficult it is to determine income. Candi’s disclaimer makes it clear that you should at least consult with an attorney who is familiar with child support calculations before relying on the numbers the app provides. I think this app will be useful to me during client meetings as well as in-court situations where I need a quick calculation. Give it a try yourself and see how you like it and call me if you have any questions.

Jim Jeffries | Mobile & Baldwin County Attorney

Jim currently is a member of the Alabama Supreme Court's Advisory Committee on Child Support Guidelines and Enforcement as well as a statewide committee that has been tasked with reviewing and making recommendations for possible revisions to Alabama's version of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). Jim was also recently appointed by the President of the Alabama State Bar Association to a serve on a committee whose purpose is to review and comment on Alabama legislation regarding joint custody for a proposal to the Alabama Legislature for possible changes in this legislation.

Jim has attained a Peer Review Ranking of AV from Martindale-Hubbell® - The highest an attorney can be ranked by his peers.

He continues to lecture to attorneys across the state regarding family law issues.

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Jeffries Family Law, LLC

Divorce Attorney | Child Support & Child Custody Attorney | Prenuptial Law Attorney

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