Child support and child visitation are touchy subjects for many. The unfortunate reality is far too many people don’t know what to do. Birmingham attorney at law Kevin R. Roberts wants you to know the facts.
“Any parent of a child or legal custodian of a child who has not attained the age of 19 can apply for child support,” said Roberts who has been working on child custody issues since 1999. “All they have to do is file a petition of support in family court of Jefferson County or request it during divorce proceedings.
“In Alabama, a child has a right to support from his legal parents,” he said. “Whether you are the parent with primary or sole custody, or the parent who visits on weekends, holidays, and the like, I can assist you in obtaining child support, modifying child support, and enforcing a child support order that is already in place.”
Roberts said the amount of support is determined by a number of factors.
“Support is determined by Alabama child support guidelines,” he said, “but it is also based on the income of both parties, work-related child care costs, and insurance costs.”
After the child support amount is determined, it is not set in stone. Modifications can be requested.
“Modifications to an order can be done at any time,” Roberts said, noting if there is a 10 percent difference in the amount of the current payment, the court is more likely to assume the modification is needed.
The key to any case involving kids is to do what’s in the best interest of the child. This includes visitation, which is not just limited to parents.
“Visitation is usually decided based on standard visitation guidelines used by the court,” Roberts said. “Parties can agree to something different.”
Contrary to popular belief, once a support order is in place, if the noncustodial parent requests a visit, the child must go, even if he no longer wants to.
“There is no age,” Roberts said when asked when a child can decide whether to visit the noncustodial parent or decide with whom they want to live. “The only way the visitation can be adjusted is by agreement or on a case-by-case basis.”