Raising a child or multiple children is rewarding for a parent, but it is also an endeavor that will cost you more money than you might imagine. When a person is acting as a single parent, they may need financial assistance to ensure that their son or daughter receives the proper care they deserve. If you are considering filing a request to receive financial support from the other parent of your children, talk to an Arkansas child support attorney today.
Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP has decades of knowledge and experience concerning family law issues like child support. We understand the difference that monthly child support payments could have for a parent’s ability to raise a child, and we remain invested in getting our clients the help you need. Call our law offices at (479) 439-9840 and schedule your consultation.
How Arkansas Calculates Child Support Payments
Child support is typically a monthly payment that is made from one parent to another. When submitting a request to the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) in Arkansas, a parent or guardian must possess custody of the child in question. The courts will determine what is the appropriate amount of money for a parent to pay in financial support. Note, however, that money paid the support of a child will not be uniform across all cases in Arkansas. There are multiple factors that the courts must analyze.
Normally, most states choose to solely use the noncustodial parent’s income when calculating child support payments. However, when Arkansas passed “Administrative Order No. 10” in April 2019, they changed how payments are set by the court. Now, Arkansas uses the “income shares model,” which requires that the monetary amount of child support payments will hinge on the income of both parents. This means if the noncustodial spouse earns significantly less money than the custodial spouse, their monthly payments cannot be tremendously high.
Additionally, if Administrative Order No. 10 came into effect after a parent was already making monthly payments, there is a possibility that the parent could lower their payments. Talk to our Arkansas child support attorneys to get more information about how this regulation could affect your case.
Other Factors for Child Support Calculations in Arkansas
Each parent’s income is not the only matter to consider when the court issues an order for child support. Arkansas’ child support guidelines also look at the following factors:
- Deductions made from a parent’s income
- Expenses for child care needed when a parent has to work
- How much of a parent’s income could be devoted towards child support
- The costs of health insurance for the child
It is also vital to note that a court is not limited to only examining issues presented by Arkansas’ child support guidelines. If there are special circumstances, the court may increase or decrease payments accordingly.
How to Modify Child Support Orders in Arkansas
When the court has assigned a monthly amount for child support payments, it is foreseeable that a noncustodial parent would not agree with the level of support they must provide. Luckily, Arkansas allows a person to request a modification of a court order for support.
A person can petition the court for a child support modification just once in a 3-year span. The following must be true for the OCSE to approve a request for modification of the court order:
- The monthly payment ordered differs from the payment calculated in accordance with the guidelines
- The parent has sustained a $100 per month or 20% change in their gross income
Note that a request to alter a child support order is not a guarantee that the value of your payments will decrease. Instead, the court may uphold the current payment order or may even increase the payments you owe to the parent of your child.
It is also possible for a person to request a change in their support order before the 3-year threshold has been met. Specifically, the parent that wants to modify the order will need to provide evidence that their financial circumstances are substantially different than it was at the time of the order was issued.
If you think that the court has not accurately measured your child support payments, now would be the time to retain an Arkansas child support lawyer. A parent should not have to pay an amount that they feel is incorrect and that places in them tight constraints financially.
Terminating a Child Support Order in Arkansas
For a noncustodial parent, there are no options for terminating a child support order without regaining custody of the child. However, an order for support would automatically terminate once your child reaches 18 years of age or graduate high school. There could be some scenarios where the court will order support to be paid even after either of these events occur.
A custodial parent may close a child support order if they determine that they no longer wish to receive support.
Speak with Our Arkansas Child Support Attorneys
If you would like to request child support payments that would substantially help you raise your child, our Arkansas child support attorneys are here for you. Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP, could assist you if you want to apply for support, modify a support order, request elimination of support, or other related issues. Make your confidential consultation with us by dialing (479) 439-9840.