I’ve heard it said that there’s an element of truth in most lawyer jokes. In this case, it’s absolutely true. The best and most efficient way to settle your divorce is to work out as many details as possible with your spouse before even contacting an attorney. Don’t pay $200+ an hour to have your attorney divide up the lamps in your living room. Don’t get me wrong–we’ll absolutely do it for you. But save the money. I’ve gone back and forth for two weeks on a case trying to determine what “the small kitchen table” means. Is it the one next to the window? That one’s small, but there’s another one by the refrigerator that is pretty small; who wants what? The legal fees alone arguing this could have bought ten new small tables!
One of the most common questions I get is, “what will the child support be?” Many people have the misconception that child support is arbitrary, ordered only in some cases, or that the calculation is negotiable. Clients are often shocked to learn that child support is mandatory in virtually every divorce involving children, and is set per Rule 32 of the Alabama Rules of Judicial Administration. Attorneys have very little flexibility in what the child support amount will be; in most cases we have no flexibility. And there are several factors that go into the calculation of child support, including the costs of work-related child care and health insurance.
Each party must submit a CS-41, Income Statement/Affidavit which provides each party’s gross monthly income as well as costs for childcare and insurance.
Once income, childcare, and health insurance information is obtained, attorneys use a CS-42 worksheet to calculate the actual child support.
Finally, we must submit a CS-43, Notice of Compliance, which states whether the Rule 32 Guidelines were followed, or an explanation for any deviation.
As you can see, figuring child support in Alabama involves many factors and each case is different. I recommend you contact a Family Law Attorney who specializes in these cases, as there are many pitfalls and potential errors if the calculations are done improperly.
Rule 32 Guidelines: