In Alabama, a non-custodial parent is ordinarily required to pay child support. Alabama courts use statewide guidelines to make fair and consistent support orders. These guidelines take various factors into consideration. These factors typically include the following things:

  • The total combined income of both parents
  • The number of children each parent is currently supporting
  • Health-insurance costs


It is not uncommon for a parent’s financial circumstances to change after a child support order has been entered. In order for an Alabama court to modify or change a child support order, the parent asking for the change must prove that there has been a material change in circumstances since the entry of the last order and that change is substantial and continuing. Normally, in order for the judge to modify the child support order, the person asking for the change must prove that their income has decreased so much that it would change the amount of child support they are ordered to pay by more or less than 10%.

Unfortunately, it is common for parents to fall behind in their child support payments due to the loss of a job or another reason that caused their income to decrease so much that they are no longer able to afford the court-ordered payments. However, unless the parent notifies the court of their income change, the court has no way of knowing about it and their child support obligation will continue at the same amount until the court is notified of the change. This can lead to the accumulation of large child support arrearages that a parent is legally responsible for paying, even though they legitimately could not afford the payments after the income change. Even after the court is notified of a change in financial circumstances and a modification has been requested, a parent is still responsible for any child support arrearage that accrued prior to the modification. This is why it is very important to notify the court of any material changes in your circumstances and request a modification of the current child support order as soon as possible after the change occurs.

If you need assistance with a child support situation, please contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free consultation.

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