It can be hard for children in Alabama to watch their parents get divorced. In most cases, though, it is best for unhappy parents to end their marriages and move forward with happier, more fulfilling lives. This is usually best for their children, too. However, this means that parents must comply with an important aspect of family law -- child support.
Not everyone is happy to learn that they will have to pay child support, perhaps partly because they may not fully understand its purpose. Children need financial support from both of their parents, which is fairly easy when the parents are married. When parents divorce, one parent is usually ordered to pay child support in order to continue that type of financial support. The parent who has primary physical custody is usually entitled to receive support from the ex-spouse, the noncustodial parent.
Child support covers the daily expenses associated with raising a child. This means things like paying rent or mortgage, buying food, purchasing new clothes, and covering the cost of transportation. Health care is also usually addressed with child support. Support can even help out with entertainment expenses for children, which can help maintain a sense of stability after their parents' divorces.
Understanding what child support is intended to cover can be helpful, but some parents may still not understand why they were ordered to pay a certain amount. Family law judges in Alabama will usually follow a formula when determining how much a parent should pay. This includes considering both parents' incomes and other factors.