Legal Thursdays – Child Support Advice

Here is the link to the No Sleep in Helena blog page for this article: http://helena-alabama.blogspot.com/2012/03/thursday-in-helena_15.html

I have received several questions regarding child support recently so I will address those this week.   My office handles all types of domestic law cases so give me a call if you need help or have question.

Question:  I am considering a divorce but my husband says he won’t pay me any child support.  Is this true?

Answer:   This is a pretty big issue that I see often in my practice and is something that many people do not understand.  A divorce is between you and your spouse.  Child support has nothing at all to do with the problems between you and your spouse.  Let me say that once more for those of you steaming mad at your ex or soon to be ex: child support has nothing to do with whatever is going on between you and your spouse.  Child support is about taking care of your children.  The law very clearly states that a non-custodial parent must take care of its obligations to support its children through the payment of child support.   A judge cannot let the non-custodial party not pay child support unless there is really, really, really good reason.   So, the short answer is no that is not true.  If you would like to know about how much you will receive just contact my office and I will be happy to calculate the number for you or you can look at the information at http://www.alacourt.gov/ChildSupportInfo.aspx for links to the guidelines.

Question:  My former spouse has not paid child support in over a year.  What do I do?

Answer:  The answer depends on which Court awarded child support.  Since you said former “spouse” I will assume it was the Circuit Court that rendered a judgment of divorce.  The Court that issued your divorce retains jurisdiction over the matters in the order, particularly child support.  My first recommendation is to hire an attorney immediately to represent you in the enforcement of the Order because you will need to file a Motion for Rule Nisi.  This is lawyer speak for asking the Court to hold the other side in contempt of court for failing to obey the order.  The court can hold a contemptuous (read, deadbeat) party in either civil or criminal contempt and force it to pay what it owes (called purging), award you attorney’s fees, and even throw them in the slammer (hooscow, pokey, clink) for up to five days per violation.  Yes, that’s five days in jail for each month he or she has not paid.  You would be surprised how money suddenly becomes available when they are looking at two months as a guest of the County.

Send your legal questions to Brian Davidson at cbdavidson@davidsonlawoffice.com