Kiplinger published an article which addressed steps to avoid financial disaster.
One of the suggestions addressed child support:
Every state relies on a standardized formula to determine a minimum level of child-support payments. Courts can award more if they choose. Federal law requires states to review child-support agreements from time to time and adjust them for inflation or changes in parents’ income.
Alabama does employ certain guidelines which generally dictate the amount of child support paid to the custodial parent. In the old days, seemingly, child support numbers were merely pulled out of the air and were fully negotiable. In today’s legal regime, the judicial discretion of the amount of child support is largely removed. The legislature has created a set of guidelines to determine child support based upon each parties income, health-insurance premiums, work-related childcare costs, and any pre-existing child support obligation.
The article rightly suggests that the custodial parent be protected by insurance. If somethings happens to the non-custodial parent, the expenses of raising a child continue. Therefore, life insurance is wise. This can be ordered by a court.
Also, if you are to receive child-support payments, insist that the paying spouse purchase a life insurance policy covering the term of the payments, naming you as the owner and beneficiary of the policy. Your ex-partner will also be unable to change the beneficiary without your agreement.
However, the article goes further to address an often overlooked area of child support: post-minority.
Because child-support payments usually end when the child reaches 18, it’s a good idea to write an agreement making clear who will pay for the child’s college education.
In Alabama, the obligation to pay for current child support actually ends at the 19th birthday. Who is responsible for the expenses related to college? Currently, Alabama appellate courts have narrowed the obligation of non-custodial parents to pay for college related expenses. Unless there is an express obligation in a settlement agreement, a court can no longer order a person to pay post-minority child support for a child in college.