Recently, the State of Arkansas made the switch from a “Percentage of Income” child support model and joined forty other states in using the “Income Shares” method of setting child support.
The Income Shares Model is based on the concept that the child should receive the same proportion of parental income that he or she would have received if the parents lived together. In an intact household, the income of both parents is generally pooled and spent for the benefit of all household members, including any children.
Steps to Determine Payment Amount
There are four main steps to determining how much support must be made.
The first step in the new model for Arkansans is to determine the gross income – minus a few permissible deductions – for both parents of the child.
The use of both parents’ income is the major difference between the new model and the old model. Under the old model, the income of the custodial parent was not considered at all. The child support obligation of the non-custodial parent was based on the non-custodial parent’s income only.
Non-Custodial Parent’s Income (Minus Allowable Deductions) + Custodial Parent’s Income (Minus Allowable Deductions)
Combined Monthly Income
Each parent’s percentage of income available for support is then found by dividing the Combined Monthly Income by that parent’s individual income.
For instance, if the Custodial Parent’s Gross Income (Minus Allowable Deductions) is $2,000 and the Combined Monthly Income is $5,000, the Custodial Parent’s percentage of income available for support is determined to be 40% ($5,000 / $2,000 = .4). The Non-Custodial Parent’s percentage of income available for support in this hypothetical would then be 60%.
Once this the Combined Monthly Income is determined, the basic child support obligation can be found by looking at the Monthly Support Chart for the parties’ Combined Monthly Income and number of children they have.
A presumptive child-support obligation is then determined by adding the allowed additional monthly child-rearing expenses (including health insurance premiums, extraordinary medical expenses, and childcare expenses).
Each parent’s share of additional child-rearing expenses is determined by multiplying the percentage of income they have available for support, which has already been determined at this point in the process. The total child-support obligation for each parent is determined by adding each parent’s share of the child-support obligation with their share of allowed additional child-rearing expenses.
Lastly, the Non-Custodial Parent receives a credit for the additional child-rearing expenses that the he or she is paying out of pocket, resulting in their presumed child-support order. This is also a change from the old method of calculating child support in Arkansas.
The Non-Custodial Parent shall owe his or her presumed child-support obligation as a money judgment of child support to Custodial Parent.
Child Support Issues can be tricky no matter what method of calculating support a State uses. If you need help navigating child support issues, you should contact a licensed attorney in the appropriate jurisdiction.
How to Reach The Sheppard Firm, PLLC
Give us a call at today if you need help navigating child support issues, and we will evaluate your case to determine whether our Arkansas Divorce and Child Custody law firm may be the right fit for you. Our phone lines are open 24/7 for the added convenience of our Arkansas clients and potential clients.