Even if the non-custodial parent lives in another state, the law requires cooperation between states. The non-custodial parent is legally required to make regular child support payments, regardless of the state in which they reside.
If a non-custodial parent fails to pay child support, they are subject to enforcement measures according to Alabama law to collect any regular or past-due payments.
The Child Support Enforcement (CSE or IV-D) Division of the Alabama Department of Human Services is a joint Federal/State effort to help families establish paternity (when necessary), obtain orders for payment of child support, and secure compliance with child support court orders. The CSE is required by law to provide its services free of charge provided you meet certain criteria.
|ALABAMA CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT DIVISION CASELOAD STATISTICS1|
|Full Time Equiv. Staff||746|
1 U.S. Office of Child Support Enforcement, Boxscores for FY 2005
Alabama allows interest to be charged on missed child support payments and adjudicated arrears at the rate of 12% per annum.
In Alabama, child support enforcement must take place within 20 years from date of judgment for purpose of obtaining an order of support.
Paternity must be determined in Alabama by the child's 19th birthday.
Section 26-1-1, Code of Alabama 1975 defines the age of emancipation as 19 years old.
In Alabama, child support is terminated at 19 years old unless the child is emancipated before that age. Child support does not automatically terminate if the child leaves the household but does not emancipate.
A total child support obligation is determined by adding the basic child support obligation (specified by Alabama's Schedule of Basic Child Support Obligations), work-related child care costs, and health insurance costs. The total child support obligation is divided between the parents in proportion to their respective adjusted gross incomes. The obligation of each parent is computed by multiplying the total child support obligation by each parent's percentage share of their combined adjusted gross income. The custodial parent is expected to spend his or her share directly on the child.
If the court finds that there are special circumstances such as the child or children having additional or exceptional needs that require additional support, the payment amount may be greater than the basic guidelines specify.
Child support and visitation rights are legally distinct issues. The court may determine both and will usually order the non-custodial parent to pay support and the custodial parent to make the child available for visits.
The custodial parent has a duty to obey the court order for visitation, even if the non-custodial parent cannot or will not pay child support. The court can enforce its orders against either parent.