When a marriage ends and the couple has children, both parents are responsible for financially supporting minors until they reach adulthood. The established Arkansas child support guidelines provide a starting point for the judge to determine a fair arrangement.
Learn more about what to expect from the state child support process, whether you plan to request full custody or share parenting time with your former spouse.
The process starts when both parents submit income information using the Affidavit of Financial Means form. The state calculates the noncustodial parent’s net income, subtracting deductions that include support for other children, medical insurance payments for other children and tax withholding. The judge compares this amount to the Arkansas child support charts to determine the correct child support payment amount. For example, if the noncustodial parent’s net income is $2,000 a month and the couple has two children, $613 is the monthly support amount.
Adjustments to the base amount
In addition to the monthly support amount, the judge will determine how the parents will share the cost of health insurance for the child. Ideally, the judge will require health insurance for the child if either parent has an employer plan at a reasonable cost (5% of his or her net income). The judge can also make adjustments if the noncustodial parent has significant overnight time with the children and for other reasons, depending on the circumstances of the case. He or she must document the reasons for adjustments in writing.
Parents may ask for child support modification in the following circumstances:
- Three or more years have passed since the previous child support order.
- Circumstances have changed significantly since the previous order.
- The noncustodial parent’s income has changed by more than 20% since the previous order.
Generally, the noncustodial parent must pay child support until the child turns 18. However, support can last longer if the child has a physical or mental disability, or if he or she is still in high school at age 18.