As a family law firm, we have many clients who come in believing to know what they are going to be ordered to pay in child support because they used an online calculator that spit out a number. Unfortunately, these calculators are often far from accurate.
As a FindLaw.com article explains, these calculators can give you a ballpark estimate at what your child support payments could be, but they can rarely predict exactly what you will owe. That’s because judges have the final say over how much child support should be ordered after considering state statutes.
The reason these calculators typically cannot tell you with accuracy what you will be ordered to pay in child support is because they don’t take into account the unique circumstances of your situation. Most child custody and child support cases are complicated, which the online calculators don’t account for.
For example, a judge will be able to adjust child support based on issues like your child having special needs or you losing your job.
Additionally, the amount of child support ordered is also based heavily on the child custody arrangement, so you will need to know what that is going to be before child support can be determined.
To get the best prediction of what you can expect to pay in child support, meet with an experienced family law attorney in your state who can analyze the facts of your case along with the laws that apply.
In Alabama, child support is calculated after considering many factors, including the income of both parents, the cost of child care and health care, and what the state believes is necessary to raise a child. Other factors, too, may be considered and influence the amount of child support that is ordered.
In order to avoid being misled, it’s important to understand that the child support calculators you see online do not consider the entire picture and may cause you to reach a shockingly inaccurate conclusion.
Working with an experienced attorney is the best way to protect your rights and to make sure that your child support payments are fair.