Child Support Amendment

In Alabama, child support is calculated according to the mandates of what is termed Rule 32.  Rule 32 is actually part of the Alabama Rules of Judicial Administration.  Last year, the Supreme Court of Alabama issued an amendment to Rule 32 changing the calculation of child support.  

The amendment provides for the following: 1) The reasons for deviating from the guidelines when computing child support are expounded upon and two additional specific reasons were added;  and  2) The change in the computation of health insurance costs taken into account in computing child support.  

The two specific reasons added for deviating from the guidelines are as follows: 1) When the custodial parent is not claiming the federal and state income-tax exemptions for the child or children, as is assumed by the guidelines; and 2) When the child-care costs exceed the costs allowed under the guidelines.  The latter addition has the benefit of encouraging both parents to seek and maintain employment.

The child support computation change is an attempt to approximate the actual cost of the health-insurance premiums for a child in the calculation of child support.  The Rule 32 computation now is based on the pro rata portion of the medical-insurance premium attributable to a child who is the subject of the support order.  The old rule required that the total amount paid for family insurance be included in the computation.   The child support calculation also now allows for the inclusion of health insurance paid by someone else on behalf of the children  with the aim of promoting stepparents' provision of health coverage for children. 

Bowman Law Firm, Family Law

Huntsville, Alabama