Child Support in Arkansas
Under Arkansas law, parents have a legal obligation to provide financial support for their children. As a result, courts have the power to order noncustodial parents to make regular child support payments to their child’s custodial parent, under certain circumstances. Child support can be ordered when parents decide to get divorced, when they are separated, and can also be ordered in cases in which the parents were never married.
Child support disputes can be extremely acrimonious and complicated, and mistakes can be both emotionally and financially costly. Anyone involved in a child support dispute should retain a Little Rock child support attorney as early as possible. At Destiny Law Firm, we have the skill and experience needed to represent your interests and ensure that your child support case is resolved as favorably as possible. To discuss your case with one of our knowledgeable child support attorneys, contact our office today. Destiny Law Firm’s experienced Little Rock child support attorneys will ensure you are represented and that your rights are protected.
Arkansas Child Support Determinations
In Arkansas, child support is calculated according to guidelines that are set out in an order issued by the Arkansas Supreme Court known as Administrative Order Number 10. That order incorporates charts that set child support on a weekly and monthly basis based on time spent with and income of each parent.
There is a rebuttable presumption that the amount of child support that a court should award is the amount that is shown on the most recent version of the Family Support Chart. Judges are free to grant more or less support if there is evidence that an exception exists under Administrative Order 10. The chart that will be used in a particular case depends on how often the noncustodial parent is paid.
In determining the noncustodial parent’s income, the court will look at pay stubs and also deduct certain expenses from his or her gross pay. These expenses include the following:
- Support payments for other dependents that have been ordered by a court;
- Medical insurance payments for children;
- Social security, Medicare, and railroad retirement withholdings;
- Federal and state income tax.
When Does Child Support End in Arkansas?
Some events automatically end collection of child support, such as the child turning 18 and graduating from high school. The court may determine that child support should continue, even when the child is older than 18, such as when the child has disabilities and is unable to care for themselves independently.
Other circumstances that might lead to child support ending include:
- The child marries;
- The child dies;
- The child is declared emancipated by a court, which can be done if the child is considered financially stable and living separately from the parents. However, this is not a guarantee, as the court may deem that child support should continue despite the child’s emancipation.
Modifying an Existing Child Support Order
Under Arkansas law, a parent may petition the court to change an existing child support order if there has been a change in the paying parent’s gross income of 20 percent, or more than $100 per month. While this may seem straightforward, in cases where parents have variable sources of income, such as closely-held businesses or investment portfolios, a thorough analysis may be necessary in order to determine whether a child support order can be modified.
Child Support and Mediation in Arkansas
In some cases, parents may decide to work out child support together through mediation, or the court may deem it necessary to discuss child support using the mediation process. Our Little Rock child support attorneys can help.
Because a mediator must act as a neutral party, neither parent can bring a mediator into the case on their own. The Arkansas Access and Visitation Mediation Program includes a roster of attorneys who may be chosen to assist with your case. The program covers up to six hours of mediation time, which includes the time it takes to get the case scheduled.
Contact Our Child Support Attorneys in Little Rock
Disputes regarding child support can be complicated. At Destiny Law, we work with parties who are seeking a child support award, those who are opposed to paying it, and individuals who are seeking to file a child support modification request. To schedule a case evaluation with one of our Little Rock child support attorneys, contact us at 501-372-1200.