Calculating child support in Arkansas divorce cases

Arkansas implements a percentage of obligator’s income model of child support and has strict enforcement rules as well.

Ending a marriage can be a big decision, especially when there are children involved. Kids who experience divorce may be subjected to certain lifestyle transformations, including dramatic financial and emotional changes that can be difficult to deal with. In an attempt to lessen the financial disparity a child may go through when their parents separate, Arkansas requires non-custodial parents to pay child support. Not only can child support funds help to maintain a stable financial life for the children involved in the divorce, the money can help to finance education or any other pursuits that will ultimately benefit their lives.

Child support model

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Arkansas uses a percentage of income model when dealing with child support. Unlike other models that combine the parents' income when calculating child support, the percentage of income model is based solely off of the non-custodial parent's income. In addition to child support funds, the state of Arkansas requires non-custodial parents to carry medical insurance for their children.

When determining the amount of child support a parent should pay, all sources of income are considered, including wages, commissions, bonuses, disability, workers' compensation benefits, insurance benefits and retirement benefits, according to the Supreme Court of Arkansas. Once the total amount of income is determined, Arkansas court will use a child support chart to calculate the percentage of income to be used in each specific case. This is dependent on how often the child support amount will be paid and how many children are covered. The court may take into consideration other details, including special needs of the children as well.

Child support enforcement

The Arkansas Office of Child Support Enforcement explains how there are several ways that past due child support funds may be collected from parents who have been negligent in making their court-ordered payments. The state may:

  • Withhold wages from the obligator's paychecks.
  • Intercept federal and state tax refunds.
  • Garnish or freeze the obligator's bank accounts.
  • Deny passports or professional licenses.
  • Suspend hunting and fishing licenses.
  • Report the delinquent amount to federal credit bureaus.

According to Arkansas Code, child support must be paid until the child reaches 18 years old, or until they graduate from high school. Any funds that are not paid up until that time may be considered delinquent and child support enforcement methods may be used.

Contact an attorney

Whether you are the custodial or non-custodial parent, it is important to do what is best for your children. An attorney can help ensure your children are getting the proper amount of child support. They can also help in cases where child support modification, termination or enforcement is involved.

Keywords: divorce, child support, custody