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Arkansas non-custodial parents and child support issues

Some Pulaski County non-custodial parents may feel like the legal system works against them. In truth, Arkansas courts do take sides when family law issues involve children – children's best interests are first. The Office of Child Support Enforcement is a state agency designed to help custodial and non-custodial parents resolve financial and other issues regarding children.

You and the custodial parent share responsibilities as well as parental rights. Part of those duties includes providing health care coverage and financial support for the children you share.

Ignoring orders to appear in court for a paternity or support dispute does not relieve a non-custodial parent of financial obligations to a child. If you are a legal parent in the eyes of the court, whether or not you live in the same household as your child, the state will hold you accountable for a fair share of funds needed to care for the child.

The enforcement arm of the OSCE is authorized to make sure parents live up to court-ordered support agreements. Relocating, job changes, imprisonment and bankruptcy do not affect what you owe. Modifications may be made to child support orders when circumstances warrant it, but changes are not effective until a court approves them.

Some non-custodial parents make the mistake of not dealing with overdue child support until they are deep in debt. This exacerbates legal difficulties. You can learn about your options to rectify child support issues by speaking with an attorney.

Courts are willing to consider support agreement changes like a modification of payments for a job loss or health issue. The sooner you notify a court about problems like this, the sooner an order can be altered to reflect changes. Let the Office of Child Support Enforcement know if you are working with a lawyer, so the attorney can be brought up to speed on your case and represent your interests.

Source: Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, "Noncustodial parents," accessed April. 03, 2015

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