Even if one parent is granted primary or sole custody over his or her child, the other parent still has a legal obligation to financially support that child until they child reaches a certain age. This dual responsibility has become especially relevant since Arkansas joined the long list of other states to establish an income shares model for child support decisions.
Determining how much support you will need to pay or how much your child’s other parent should pay you can be tricky without guidance from a Texarkana child support lawyer. With representation from a dedicated family attorney, you could have a much easier time making your case in court and getting a support order that serves both your needs and your child’s best interests.
As of 2020, the formula that Arkansas courts use to determine a baseline figure for child support now considers the combined monthly net income of both parents, rather than just the non-custodial parent’s income. As a Texarkana child support attorney could explain in further detail, this formula is merely a guideline that courts can deviate from if they deem it appropriate to do so.
In addition to all forms of work income like wages, commissions, tips, and bonuses, gross income may also include retirement and unemployment benefits, workers’ compensation, income from property, gifts and prize winnings, and the value of certain physical assets like houses. If the court believes a parent took a lower-paying job on purpose in order to avoid child support obligations, the court can also impute gross income based on the parent’s earning potential, rather than what they are actually earning.
After establishing gross income, a court will subtract federal and state taxes as well as certain other expenses, and then divide the final result by 12 to get net monthly income. The court will then use a standardized Family Support Chart to determine the basic child support obligation of each parent based on the number of children receiving support. Each parent is then assigned a percentage of responsibility based on their share of total net income per month.
The basic child support obligation is rarely the end of this process, as the result that the formula produces is almost never a perfect match for a family’s unique needs. Courts in Texarkana usually consider other factors as well, such as:
Based on these factors, courts have the authority to order a greater or lesser amount of support than the basic support chart recommends. A child support lawyer in Texarkana, Arkansas could also help a spouse seek an adjustment of a support order if a significant change in circumstances makes the old order untenable.
Despite the formula set out by state law, the process of determining how much child support you will owe, or be owed, is not set in stone. If the circumstances call for it, you might be able to convince the court to significantly change the amount of support ordered to be paid. However, this will be difficult to accomplish by yourself.
Assistance from a Texarkana child support lawyer could be critical to obtaining your desired outcome in support proceedings. Call today to speak with a legal professional about what may be possible in your situation.