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Arkansas Child Support Guidelines

All parents, regardless of legal custody designation, have a legal obligation to support their child(ren). Generally, Arkansas will use the state's Child Support Guidelines to guide its decision on how child support is ordered. There is a rebuttable presumption that a child support award based on the child support guidelines is the appropriate amount that should be ordered. Parenting plans (also referred to as visitation or timesharing schedules) may play a role in a final number that is ordered or if support is ordered at all if, for example, the parties share equal physical time and equally share all other expenses such as medical care and activity fees.

However, the court has the power to deviate from the guidelines if there is evidence showing that the child(ren) needs a different amount of support. When deciding whether to deviate, the court will strive to do what is in the best interest of the child, and will only deviate from the guidelines if the award resulting under the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate.

This article provides a brief overview of the Arkansas child support guidelines.

Calculation of Child Support in Arkansas

The obligated parent's basic support amount is calculated by using the most up-to-date Monthly Family Support Chart. This chart takes into account the parent's monthly income and the number of children provided for in the order. Under A.C.A. § 9-14-201, a parent's support obligation is based on their monthly income. The idea is for "income" to be a broad term in order to benefit the child. Gross income is used for child support calculations.

The following guidelines provide calculated amounts of child support for a combined parental gross income of up to $30,000 per month, or $360,000 per year. The child-support obligation for incomes above $30,000 per month shall be determined by using the highest amount in these guidelines. The court may then use its discretion in setting an amount above that to meet the needs of the child and the parent's ability to provide support.

Code Section

Calculation of Support -- Income Which Exceeds Chart

% of the Parent's Income

One dependent: 15%

Two dependents: 21%

Three dependents: 25%

Four dependents: 28%

Five dependents: 30%

Six dependents: 32%

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Imputed Income

How is child support calculated if the non-custodial parent is unemployed or underemployed? In these situations, the court may consider whether the parent is underemployed as a matter of choice or not. If the court determines that the parent is working below their full earning capacity without reasonable cause, the court may impute income to the parent.

Additional Resources

Need Legal Help? Contact a Family Law Attorney

If you're facing a potential child support issue or dispute, whether due to divorce or as a single parent, a family law attorney can help by fairly and zealously representing either side in a child support proceeding. For case-specific information regarding Arkansas' child support guidelines contact a local family law attorney.

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