The following is a summary of Arkansas child support laws, and is by no means intended to be an all-inclusive description of what to expect in your particular case. In some cases, the exact text of the statute may have been simplified and/or modified to provide for easier understanding. For a more specific understanding of the laws, you should consult the full Arkansas Code and/or consult with an attorney about how the law might apply to your particular situation.

Calculating Child Support in Arkansas.

In determining a reasonable amount of support initially or upon review to be paid by the noncustodial parent or parents, the court shall refer to the most recent revision of the family support chart.

In all cases where the support and care of any children are involved, the court may order either parent to secure and maintain health care coverage for the benefit of the children when health care coverage is available or becomes available to the parent at a reasonable cost. “Health care coverage” includes, but need not be limited to, insurance of human beings against bodily injury, disability, or death by accident or accidental means, or the expense thereof, or disablement or expense resulting from sickness, and every insurance appertaining thereto.

“Income” means any periodic form of payment due to an individual, regardless of the source, including wages, salaries, commissions, bonuses, workers’ compensation, disability, payments pursuant to a pension or retirement program, and interest.

The definition of “income” may be expanded by the Arkansas Supreme Court from time to time in the Arkansas Child Support Guidelines, Arkansas Supreme Court Administrative Order Number 10.

Health care coverage premiums shall not be deemed or used as a direct offset to the child support award. However, premiums for health care for a minor child can be considered in determining net take-home pay of the noncustodial parent when setting the current child support award.

-From Chapter 14 of Title 9 of the Arkansas Code

Deviation from Child Support Guidelines.

It shall be a rebuttable presumption for the award of child support that the amount contained in the family support chart is the correct amount of child support to be awarded. Only upon a written finding that the application of the family support chart would be unjust or inappropriate as determined under established criteria set forth in the family support chart shall the presumption be rebutted.

The court shall consider whether an adjustment in child support is appropriate, giving consideration to the fixed obligations of the custodial parent that are attributable to the child, to the increased costs of the noncustodial parent associated with the child’s visit, and to the relative incomes of both parents.

Relevant factors to be considered by the court in determining appropriate amounts of child support shall include:

  1. Food;
  2. Shelter and utilities;
  3. Clothing;
  4. Medical expenses;
  5. Educational expenses;
  6. Dental expenses;
  7. Child care (includes nursery, baby sitting, daycare or other expenses for supervision of children necessary for the custodial parent to work);
  8. Accustomed standard of living;
  9. Recreation;
  10. Insurance;
  11. Transportation expenses; and
  12. Other income or assets available to support the child from whatever source.

Additional factors may warrant adjustments to the child support obligations and shall include:

  1. The procurement and maintenance of life insurance, health insurance, dental insurance for the children’s benefit;
  2. The provision or payment of necessary medical, dental, optical, psychological or counseling expenses of the children (e.g., orthopedic shoes, glasses, braces, etc.);
  3. The creation or maintenance of a trust fund for the children;
  4. The provision or payment of special education needs or expenses of the child;
  5. The provision or payment of day care for a child;
  6. The extraordinary time spent with the noncustodial parent, or shared or joint custody arrangements;
  7. The support required and given by a payor for dependent children, even in the absence of a court order; and
  8. Where the amount of child support indicated by the chart is less than the normal costs of child care, the court shall consider whether a deviation is appropriate.

-From Section 9-14-106 of the Arkansas Code and Administrative Order No 10

Order for Income Withholding.

All support orders issued shall include a provision for immediate implementation of income withholding, absent a finding of good cause not to require immediate income withholding or a written agreement of the parties incorporated in the order setting forth an alternative agreement.

-From 9-14-218 of the Arkansas Code

Termination of Child Support in Arkansas.

The court may provide for the payment of support beyond the eighteenth birthday of the child to address the educational needs of a child whose eighteenth birthday falls prior to graduation from high school so long as such support is conditional on the child remaining in school.

The court may also provide for the continuation of support for an individual with a disability which affects the ability of the individual to live independently from the custodial parent.

-From Section 9-12-312 of the Arkansas Code

 

This information has been summarized from the Arkansas statutes. You can find the full-text version of these and other Arkansas divorce statutes online here: Arkansas Divorce Laws.

LEARN MORE ABOUT GENERAL CHILD SUPPORT LAWS.

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IMPORTANT: Help Yourself Divorce is a paralegal service, not a law firm. Please don’t rely on this information for legal advice. Seek help from an attorney if you need legal advice.

 

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