Child Support FAQ

1.  What determines how much child support I have to pay?
In Arkansas, it is determined by a judge who must refer to the Supreme Court’s Administrative Order No. 10. Most child support determinations are used by following Administrative Order No. 10′s Arkansas Family Support Chart, which can be viewed online at “http://www.courts.arkansas.gov/rules/admin_orders_sc/adminorder10_supplement.pdf”

2.  Will my overtime pay be included in child support calculations?
Usually.

3.  My ex is not spending the child support on the kids.  Can I make him or her account for how the support money is spent?
Not as a general rule.  However, upon application to the court, a judge may require any person receiving support to file a verified quarterly report of all money or goods received therefore, upon a showing that it is warranted.

4.  The Child Support office has miscalculated my payments.  Now they claim I have an arrears!  What can I do?
First, contact your caseworker at the local child support office and see if you can resolve the miscalculation that way.  If not, you should request a copy of your payment history from the Child Support office and then contact an attorney for assistance.  You may contact our office by phone (501-296-9999) or email Jim Tripcony to schedule a free consultation.

5.  May I deduct my child support payments from my taxes as an expense?
Child support payments are not tax deductible by the parent paying the child support.  Similarly, child support payments are not considered income by the parent receiving the child support.  Tax consequences are often given heavy consideration in all negotiations regarding a divorce settlement.  If you or your attorney is not aware of such tax implications, you should consider consulting an accountant.

6.  My ex is applying for a loan and insists she needs proof that I am paying child support, which I am.  Do I have anything to do with her loan?
No.  It is not your responsibility to provide the proof of her income, whatever the source(s).

7.  How can I prevent unjust seizure of my income tax refund check?
Before your state or federal income tax refund can be seized or intercepted, you are entitled to advance written notice from the Office of Child Support Enforcement that a seizure or interception has commenced, of your right to an administrative hearing, and the procedures to follow if you desire to contest the seizure or interception, you can contest the action. The seizure or interception can be contested on the grounds that the seizure or interception is improper due to a mistake of fact.

8.  Can the Court make me pay for a private school for our child(ren)?
The Court can and will under some circumstances, but usually will not.

9.  Can the Court make me pay for our children’s college education?
An Arkansas court cannot make you pay for your children’s college education. However, if you have previously entered into an Agreed Order with the opposing party, wherein you agreed to pay for your children’s education, the Court can enforce that Court Ordered agreement.

10.  My employer garnished my paycheck but hasn’t sent the money to the Child Support Office.  Is there anything I can do?
If your employer garnished child support from your paycheck pursuant to an Income Withholding Order, your employer is legally obligated to forward that money to the Office of Child Support Enforcement and can be penalized for failing to do so.

11.  Can I make my support payments directly to my ex?  Should I?
You can make support payments directly to your ex if the child support order specifically directs you to do so.  Otherwise, you should not send support payments directly to your ex.

12.  How can I keep track of support payments?
You can obtain a certified pay history by requesting one from the Office of Child Support Enforcement and you can also maintain your own record by keeping track of your cancelled checks.

13.  Are they allowed to include my new spouse’s income when setting child support?
Arkansas Administrative Order No. 10 permits the court to consider “other income or assets available to support the child from whatever source” as a relevant factor in determining the appropriate amount for child support.

14.  How do I get my child support increased?
You will need to file a Motion to Modify Child Support with the court.  You would be well-advised to seek the assistance of an attorney or the Office of Child Support Enforcement to properly pursue such a court action.  You may contact our office by phone (501-296-9999) or by email to Jim Tripcony Jim Tripcony to schedule a free consultation.

15.  My ex has a live-in boyfriend or girlfriend who is helping out with expenses.  Can I get my support lowered because of this?
In Arkansas, probably not.

16.  How can I get support when I can’t even locate my ex?
You can apply for assistance thorough your local Office of Child Support Enforcement.  That office has access to the Federal Parent Locator service and perhaps they can locate your ex.

17.  My ex never told me I had a child and concealed this fact for over a decade.  Will this be taken into account when they set my child support?
In Arkansas, this probably won’t affect the amount of “current” child support ordered; but it might affect the amount, if any, of retroactive child support you may be ordered to pay.

18.  Can clothing costs be considered as child support?  My ex owed $250.00 on back support and he or she spent $250.00 on clothing for the kids instead of giving me the money.
In Arkansas, this is usually NOT acceptable to the Court.

19.  Can child support be reduced if you remarry and have more children by your new wife?
It can be, but it usually won’t be.

20.  During my divorce, a child support amount was set.  Later I moved out-of-state.  My ex wants more money now.  Can the child support office cross state lines and make me pay more?
Yes.

21.  How is a support order established if paternity hasn’t been determined and no documents have been signed by me?
The other parent, or the O.C.S.E on behalf of the other parent, can file a Petition for Determination of Paternity and Child Support against you in the proper court.  If the judge then determines you are the father, the judge can set child support.

22.  I was laid-off and my unemployment benefits are nowhere near what I used to make.  Can get my child support lowered?
The judge might lower your child support if you file a proper motion to do so and seek that relief.

23.  If I get joint custody, will I still have to pay child support?
Probably, if your child lives primarily with the other parent, especially if your income is significantly greater than that of the other parent.

24.  If a father’s parental rights are terminated, does he still have to pay child support?
Yes, unless a new father adopts the child, and, even then, he may still have to pay a child support obligation that accrued prior to the adoption.

25.  Is it necessary to legally terminate child support at age 18, or does it happen automatically?
Unless a court order for child support specifically extends the child support obligation, the duty to pay child support terminates by operation of law when the child reaches the age of eighteen (18) unless he or she is still attending high school, provided that any unpaid child support obligations owed under a judgment or arrearage are satisfied.  If the child still attends high school, the child support obligation terminates upon the child’s graduation or at the end of the school year after the child reaches nineteen (19) years of age, whichever is earlier, again provided that any unpaid child support obligations owed under a judgment or arrearage are satisfied.  The duty to support also terminates when the child is: emancipated by a court of competent jurisdiction; marries; dies; or upon the marriage of the parents of the child to each other, provided that any unpaid child support obligations owed under a judgment or arrearage are satisfied.

26.  My ex owns his own business.  I know this means he can show whatever he wants for income.  How can I be sure he is providing correct information?
You can never be positive, but getting his income tax returns, and employment tax records are a good first step.

27.  How long should I keep the receipts showing the child support I’ve paid?
Until the youngest child reaches age 23.

28.  The ex-wife has moved to several different states without notifying the court or the father, and her whereabouts are currently unknown.  The child is now in foster care.  Will the father have to pay the back support?
In most cases, yes.  However, there are some exceptions which are based on the unique facts of each case that may cause a judge NOT to require the father to pay back support.  See an attorney for advice regarding those exceptions.  You may contact our office by phone (501-296-9999) or by email to Jim Tripcony Jim Tripcony to schedule a free consultation.

30.  I spend three days a week plus a full day (24 hours) every other week with my kids, plus 50% of their holidays.  I have joint custody, but pay full support.  Can I lower my child support?
Possibly, but it depends on your income and the wording of your previous child support order(s).  You may contact our office by phone (501-296-9999) or by email to Jim Tripcony Jim Tripcony to schedule a free consultation to discuss this matter.

30.  Can child support be granted even after adopted children are receiving subsidies from the state that exceed their child support requirements?
No.  Once the adoption is granted, the obligation of a parent whose parental rights have been terminated to pay current or future child support ceases; however, such parent may still owe child support that accrued before the adoption became final.

31.  How often can a non-custodial parent be taken back for modification if the payee gets wind that the payor is making more money?
We see no such limitation under Arkansas law.

32.  My 18-year-old recently quit high school.  She says she is going back next year.  Am I still obligated to pay child support while she makes up her mind?
No.

33.  My ex wants me to share one half of school expenses, clothes, shoes, supplies, etc.  Isn’t that what child support is for?
Yes.

34.  My ex would like to negotiate a lump sum payment for child support.  Would this hold up in court if either of our incomes increased significantly?
No.

My ex moved away without letting me know where he or she moved to.  Do I still owe child support?
Yes.