Alabama Child Support Enforcement Resource Center

Alert! COVID-19 INFORMATION: Support Collectors is here to help during these difficult times. Read our full statement ›

Alabama Child Support Enforcement Resource Center

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.

Alabama Support Enforcement Measures

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 court may require employers to deduct child support from the paying noncustodial parent’s paycheck through wage withholding.
  • Liens may be filed against his or her property or other assets.
  • Driver’s, professional, and hunting/fishing licenses may be suspended.
  • A judge may sentence a nonpaying parent to jail and enter a judgment for past due child support.
  • Passport applications may be denied.
  • Federal and state income tax refunds, state or property tax credits, and state lottery winnings may be intercepted.
  • Delinquent support payments may be reported to credit reporting bureaus

Who Can Enforce Court Ordered Child Support in Alabama?

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.

Full Time Equiv. Staff 746
Total Caseload 235,327

1 U.S. Office of Child Support Enforcement, Boxscores for FY 2005

Interest on Missed Child Support Payments

Alabama allows interest to be charged on missed child support payments and adjudicated arrears at the rate of 12% per annum.

AL Statute of Limitations on Back Child Support Payments (Arrears)

In Alabama, child support enforcement must take place within 20 years from date of judgment for purpose of obtaining an order of support.

AL Statute of Limitations on Determining Paternity

Paternity must be determined in Alabama by the child’s 19th birthday.

Age of Emancipation / Age of Majority in Alabama

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.

How Does Alabama Determine Child Support Payment Amounts?

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.

Custody and Visitation Issues

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.