Following a nationwide trend, Arkansas will now calculate child support payments more fairly.
Instead of determining payments based only on the payor’s income, courts will now also consider the receiving parent’s income. Arkansas is the 41st state to adopt this concept, known as the income shares model.
The new law may affect how individual child support payments are calculated. However, changes to child support payments based on the new law are not guaranteed: parents must file a child support modification with the court to receive an adjustment to his or her payment.
An Arkansas child support lawyer can help you understand how your payments may change and what you can do to make the change official and in full accordance with the law. Below, Owings Law firm examines the new law and what it could mean for Arkansas families.
The information presented in this article is general in nature. You should always speak with an attorney for specific legal advice.
How the New Law Changes Child Support Payments
Arkansas has changed income inclusion guidelines through an Act to Revise the Family Support Chart to Reflect Payor and Recipient Income.
The previous model considered only the income of the parent who was paying the child support. Now, courts will also consider the income of the parent receiving the child support.
In addition, the methods of calculating child support have changed. These new methods are based on the income shares model that was developed by the National Center for State Courts. The income shares model supports the need for children to receive an equal portion of income that they would have otherwise received if the parents were still together and shared the same resources.
Several changes have occurred under the law, and there are inclusions and exclusions that go beyond the scope of this article. To ensure that you are taking advantage of every element of the new law, you should discuss the options available to you with an experienced Arkansas family law attorney.
What the New Law Means for Parents Paying or Receiving Child Support
Under the new act, courts allow either parent to file a modification for child support. Because the child support recipient’s income is now considered, it is likely that the non-custodial, paying parent will have a reduction or increase in his or her child support payment.
For various reasons, not all parents will want to participate in a modification. For more clarity and specific guidance about your options, you should discuss your case with an Arkansas child support lawyer.
The new child support laws do not automatically recalculate or change the payment you send or receive. If you wish to make a change to your child support payment, you must file a modification.
How Parents Can Receive a Child Support Modification
After discussing your options with an Arkansas child support lawyer, you must request a modification in the same court that signed the original child support order. Even if you and your ex mutually agree upon the change, it still needs to be official and on the record of the court. (It is never advisable to make changes to any court order on your own without the approval of the court.)
A mutual agreement between both parents may make the modification process less contentious. However, in most cases, there may be no mutual agreement made. Regardless of whether or not you reach an agreement with your ex, you can file a child support modification that reflects the changes in the law where a payment disparity occurs.
Your attorney will request a hearing where the judge will review the income of both parents and compare it to the new laws. The judge will take great care to ensure that the modification decision is lawfully made in the best interest of the child.
Hiring an Arkansas Child Support Lawyer
Due to the sensitive aspects of family law, you may want to hire a child support lawyer to support you through the process. He or she can respond to communications between you and your ex (or your ex’s attorney) to keep everything as civil as possible as you work through the new changes to your child support payment.
Your attorney can also devise a strategy that works for your family’s specific situation. The most vital factor to keep in mind is that you should plan for the long-term when it comes to receiving or paying child support. After all, the well-being of your child extends far beyond any hearing or legal proceeding.
Taking time to consider all of your options is a worthwhile investment when it comes to your child’s future. At Owings Law Firm, we understand the unique dynamics involved in child support matters, and we have decades of experience helping families just like yours.
Contact Owings Law Firm for More Information
If you are considering filing a modification for child support under the new income shares model in Arkansas, you may want to discuss your options with a child support lawyer at Owings Law Firm in Little Rock. We actively follow new developments under our state’s family law statutes, and we are prepared to respond with agility while considering the best interest of your child.
Our legal team will work to understand your family’s personal dynamics and help you react accordingly to the new changes. You will also have the peace of mind of knowing that you and your child’s rights are protected every step of the way with our caring and compassionate legal services. We will help you understand and prepare for the best possible solution for your family’s case. For more information, request an initial case review by calling our office at 501-661-9999 or submitting a request through our online contact form.