When you've filled in the boxes and clicked on the calculate button, you'll get a rough estimate of the amount of child support that the noncustodial parent will have to pay to the custodial parent.
But note that Alabama revised its child support guidelines in 2022. The revised guidelines apply to all support cases filed on or after May 1, 2022. You can find the current (and past) child support guidelines, schedules, and worksheets on the Alabama Courts Child Support Information website.
Learn more about how child support works in Alabama, including details on the steps for calculating support and adjustments that the state's guideline allows for child support.
Alabama's child support guidelines take into account both parents' income and how many children need support. The guidelines also make adjustments for things like the cost of health insurance for the child, certain child care costs, split custody arrangements (when each parent has primary physical custody of at least one of their children), and situations when a parent has very low income.
The state presumes that the "recommended child support order" calculated under the guidelines is the correct amount. But Alabama judges may order a different amount if they find that it would be unfair or inappropriate to apply the guidelines strictly. You and the other parent may also agree to a different amount of support, but your written and signed agreement must be fair and must state the reasons for deviating from the guidelines. (Ala. Rules Jud. Admin., rule 32(A)(1) (2022).)
But if you aren't married to your child's other parent, you may get help with requesting support by applying for child support services from the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR). (You'll be referred for these services automatically if you receive Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) benefits.)
Under Alabama law, any child support order must include a "withholding order." That way, the support payments that are due will be withheld from the paychecks of the parent who's obligated to pay support. The employer will send the money to the state, which will then pay the other parent. (Ala. Code § 30-3-61 (2022).)
But that arrangement might not work in certain cases, like when parents are self-employed or run their own business. When that's true, Alabama offers ways to pay child support.
If you're having trouble collecting support payments, the Alabama DHR can also help enforce court-ordered child support through various methods, such as having tax refunds intercepted, placing a lien (legal hold) on property like bank accounts or cars, and suspending or revoking licenses.
Either parent may ask the court to change an existing support order. But if you're requesting a modification of child support, you'll need to show that you've experienced a significant change of circumstances that's ongoing and would affect the amount of support under Alabama's guidelines.
In Alabama, the judge will presume that child support should be modified if a new calculation under the guidelines results in an amount that's more than 10% different than the existing order. But a parent may offer evidence to counter that presumption. (Ala. Rules Jud. Admin., rule 32(A)(3) (2022).)