One of the most complicated issues that need to be resolved in a divorce is child support. In Alaska, each parent, regardless of whether or not they are married, has a legal obligation to support their children financially. Although there are specific guidelines that the courts rely on, understanding these rules requires the advice and counsel of a knowledgeable family law attorney.
Peggy Roston has extensive experience helping parents resolve questions over child support. Whether you are going through a divorce, or you are a single parent looking to obtain a support order, she will work to ensure your rights are protected and that your children are provided for financially.
Calculating Child Support in Alaska
In Alaska, child support is calculated according to the formula found in Civil Rule 90.3. The court first looks at the overnights, and if one parent has less than 110, then that parent is the non-custodial parent. The court will then consider a percentage of that parent’s adjusted or net income.
In determining adjusted income, the court looks at the parent’s gross income, which includes the value of certain employer-provided benefits, as well as unemployment compensation. Based on this figure, the court will calculate adjusted income by subtracting deductions for income taxes, social security and retirement contributions, and court-ordered child support payments from prior relationships.
Next, the court will consider the custody arrangement because child support is calculated based on the amount of time the children spend with each parent.
If primary custody has been awarded, the children live with the custodial parent more than 30 percent of the time or 110 overnights per year, and with the other parent less than 110 overnights per year. The amount of the noncustodial parent’s child support obligation depends on the number of children and that parent’s adjusted income: for one child, the noncustodial parent’s income is multiplied by 20 percent, 27 percent for two children, and 33 percent for three children.
In this arrangement, the children live with each parent at least 30 percent of the time, or more than 110 overnights per year. The court considers the adjusted income of both parents, and the percentage of time the children spends with each parent.
In short, these calculations are complicated and become even murkier if other custody arrangements have been established, such as divided custody or hybrid custody. By engaging the services of Peggy Roston, you will have a dedicated advocate by your side to guide you through the process.
Modifying Child Support
After a child support order is in place, either parent can ask the court for a modification, provided that there is a compelling reason to change the order. Generally, valid reasons for a modification include:
- A substantial increase or involuntary decrease in either parent’s income resulting in more than a 15% change in the child support obligation.
- The entry of a custody modification order or motion to modify child support where actual custody schedule differs from the schedule set out in the current custody order
If you need to modify your child support order, Peggy will file a motion on your behalf with the court, help you prepare the necessary evidence of your income and expenses and represent you before the judge. In cases where the parents agree to change child support, she can prepare an agreement, file it with the court, and ask the judge to issue a new support order. But parties cannot agree to waive a child support obligation without proving to the court extraordinary circumstances. All waivers of child support must be court-approved or they are unenforceable.
Child Support Enforcement
It is not uncommon for noncustodial parents to fail to pay support on time, pay less than the monthly amount, or not pay child support at all. In these situations, it will be necessary to ask the Child Support Services Division (CSSD) to enforce the child support order. CSSD can garnish wages or even obtain the revocation of the non-custodial parent’s driver’s license.
Alaska Child Support Attorney
Peggy Roston is dedicated to helping her clients resolve complex issues and ensure that all parents fulfill their duty to provide financial support to their children. She is well versed in the formulas under Civil Rule 90.3 used to calculate child support in Alaska and works closely with her clients to help them understand their rights. She also assists parents who are seeking child support modifications and enforcements. Because each situation is is unique, Peggy tailors solutions to meet each client’s particular circumstances.
Located in Anchorage, Law Offices of Peggy A. Roston serves clients in Fairbanks, on the Kenai, in the Mat-Su Valley and throughout the state of Alaska. Contact Peggy today with all of your family law needs.