There are different legal steps you need take depending on whether you were married to the other parent when you had the child. If you were not married then your first step will be to establish paternity in order to get child support in Arkansas. This can be done in a few ways.
If you were married when you had the child then the child support arrangement will likely be in your divorce decree. However, sometimes during a divorce the spouses decide that child support does not need to be included in the divorce or the child support amount was set too high or low.
However, just because your final divorce decree doesn’t include child support (or it was set too high or low) it doesn’t mean that you cannot ask the court to do something about it. Either party can ask the court, at any time, to modify the divorce to include child support. In either case you will be reopening the original case to request that the court modify the child support amounts in order to get child support in Arkansas.
Reopening a case cost $50 – $60 in court fees as opposed to starting a new case that cost $165-$185.
If you were never married to the other parent of your child, but you have established child support payments then there is probably a separate support order. In either case you will be reopening the original case to request that the court modify the child support amounts. You will need to locate the original court order stating the child support arrangements or the final divorce decree that did not include child support. Specific information needed includes: the case number; court division; and support information (such as the amount and how often).
Next you will need to file a petition to the court requesting that child support be ordered or a request to modify (change) the order. Judges usually follow the Arkansas Child Support Guidelines.
ARKANSAS CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES
Arkansas has guidelines for exactly how much a non-custodial parent should pay in child support in Arkansas. These guidelines are found in Administrative Order Number 10: Arkansas Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines are to be reviewed and revise at least every four years.
The Supreme Court of Arkansas adopted child support guidelines in 1990 as a response to the U.S. Congressional “Family Support Act of 1988 – Title I: Child Support and Establishment of Paternity” and to Arkansas law, Ark. Code Ann. §9-12-312(a). The Family Support Act stated that that all states should adopt child support guidelines and that it be a rebuttable presumption that the amount of support calculated from the child-support chart is correct.
A rebuttable presumption is something that the court assumes to be true unless someone proves it is untrue. You can use the free ARLegal Snap Child Support calculator or view the latest Arkansas child-support charts can be found here.
Open Law can help you with establishing child support or making modifications to child support (increasing or decreasing payments). Contact us here.