Child Support with No CS Forms

Will an Alabama appellate court ever allow a child support award to stand that’s not supported by the appropriate Child Support Forms? The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals has answered that question with a quiet yes on a few occasions. Now, however, it has found the case with no child support forms that it says merits a reversal.

Every judge who handles divorce or child support knows (or should know) that the child support forms (CS-41 income affidavit for both parents and CS-42 showing the calculations) are nearly always an essential step in sustaining a child support award on appeal. On occasion, the Appeals Court has affirmed a trial court judgment even though the record did not contain CS forms, but only when the record “clearly indicates that the award comports with the evidence regarding the parties’ incomes.” Rimpf v. Campbell, 853 So. 2d 957 (Ala. Civ. App. 2002); Mosley v. Mosley, 747 So. 2d 894 (Ala. Civ. App. 1999).

In the case of Harmon v. Harmon, Case No. 2031063 (Ala. Civ. App. November 4, 2005), however, the Appeals Court ruled that the child support awarded did not meet this standard. The trial court had awarded $650 per month for one child to a mother who made $7,800 per year from a father who made $80,000 to 85,000 per year. The Appeals Court stated that application of the guidelines would result in an award of child support “significantly greater than $650 per month.”

Lee’s Note: Actually, my use of the guidelines (which you can check for yourself if you use Internet Explorer as your browser) results in a figure of $781 per month. That’s higher than $650, but I’m not sure it’s “significantly higher,” particularly if the father’s cost of health insurance (not in the record) was significant.

The Appeals Court acknowledged that the trial court had ordered the father to pay private school tuition and that the child was no longer attending private school, but it noted that it was bound to consider the case on the record, which said nothing about the child’s change of schools.

Therefore, because the trial court neither awarded child support under Rule 32 on the basis of the husband’s percentage share of the parties’ combined income nor made an express finding that a deviation from the Rule 32 child-support guidelines was justified, we reverse the judgment as to the award of child support and remand the cause for the trial court to render a child-support award in accordance with Rule 32, Ala. R. Jud. Admin.

The Appeals Court affirmed the trial court on its allocation of marital property and alimony award. In their dissent, Judges Thompson and Murdock dissented from the court’s ruling on the grounds that the trial court’s rulings on property division and spousal support were so stingy with the wife as to exceed the trial court’s discretion.

3 comments

  1. amy ferrett says:

    My name is amy ferrett judge reich allowed my ex-husband to take my son’s child support to pay on his own debt to citi financial laeving me with $37.00 a month to support my son. i had a job making about 400.00 every two weeks but my ex-husband made 950.00 every two weeks. i have tried to appeal this but every attorney i talked to said they did not want to piss off the judge. i said i don’t care how pissed off the judge gets what he did was illegal and it was not my son’s job to make his dad’s car payment. i did how ever get a slight raise in my child support. to $156.00 a month. but of course my ex-husband had to lie to the judge to keep me from ever getting full support from this asshole. my ex told the judge in court that the car would be paid off in 5-04. well after about 2 months of getting full support my ex- went back to court told the judge he made a mistake and the car would not be paid off until 5-05. but i got the title to that car in 3-05. and my ex neve went back to court and told the judge anthing different so he could continue to pay me as little as possible. i ffel that some one needs to help make my ex pay my son back for making his car payments,after all where does it say that it is a littlie boy’s job to pay his father’s car payment. and where does it say in the child support giude lines that a judge can award child support to a child and let the father use the money to pay his bills instead of supprting his child. this judge is an asshole and i pray an attorney will read this and help me sue that judge and my ex-husband for all that money owed o my son. i mean the car was a1992 buick regal and my ex-husband paid $4,100.00 for the car and the payments were $258.00 a month it does not take 5 years to pay off this car unless he refinanced it several times which he did to keep me from getting the title and so he would not have to pay full support to me ever. well all i want is the$13,000.00 paid back to my son with intrest amd the $500.00 dollars my ex owes me from the trailer we lived in together which ws repoed and he never paid me for that so now i want that with intrest to so i would have to ask for about $2,500.00 . i pray to god that i find a lawyer who will say i’ll help you because you did not deserve this from that asshole or that dumb ass judge. yes i’m mad and i will always be mad until some one helps me set the record straight and show these two assholes that they can’t do this to children and get away with it. hell will have no fury like a womman scorned.
    that judge needs to kicked off that bench so hard that he gets splinters in his ass.

  2. marcia says:

    It’s not just women who take advantage of child support/alimony. My ex-husband has a master’s degree and has refused to work for 8 years. He has bankrupted me and has no shame about it.

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