Legal Information: Arkansas

Arkansas Child Support

Laws current as of
January 3, 2024

Child Support

Who can file for child support?
Where can I file for child support?
How will the judge calculate child support?
If my circumstances have changed, can my child support order be changed?
How long will child support last?
What can I do if the other parent is not paying the ordered child support?

Who can file for child support?

Arkansas allows for any of the following people to request child support:

  1. the custodial parent;
  2. any person or agency with physical custody of the child;
  3. a minor child through his/her guardian or another adult who is not a relative but who has strong ties to the child (“fictive kin”);
  4. a child over 18 years old to whom support was owed while s/he was a minor; or
  5. the Office of Child Support Enforcement when the parent, putative father, or person with physical custody, is receiving assistance under certain governmental programs or is receiving child support services.1

1 Ark. Code § 9-14-105

Where can I file for child support?

Generally, you can file for child support in circuit court.1 The Office of Child Support Enforcement may also be able to provide support and guidance through this process.

1 Ark. Code § 9-14-105

How will the judge calculate child support?

To determine child support, the court will use a family support chart that is available on the Arkansas Judiciary website. The court will assume that the amount in the chart is appropriate unless there are specific reasons it would be unfair or inappropriate.1 The court can also reduce the amount if the child is staying with the parent who is paying child support for long periods of time.2

The Arkansas Judiciary website also has a Child Support Calculator that estimates the amount of child support to be ordered.

When filing an initial child support petition, the judge can order the non-custodial parent to make a retroactive payment covering the three years before the petition was filed. If the child is younger than three years old, the retroactive payment can go back to the date of birth of the child. If a child over 18 is the person applying for child support, s/he can ask the judge to order support for the last three years prior to turning 18.3

1 Ark. Code § 9-14-106(a)(1)
2 Ark. Code § 9-14-106(a)(2)
3 Ark. Code §§ 9-14-105(c)(2); 9-14-106(c)(1)

If my circumstances have changed, can my child support order be changed?

Arkansas law provides that a child support order can be changed in the following circumstances:

  1. if the income of either parent changes by 20% percent or more;1
  2. if either parent is not able to continue providing health insurance to your child;2 or
  3. under some circumstances, or if either parent requests it, the order can be reviewed every three years.3

1 Ark. Code § 9-14-107(a)(1)
2 Ark. Code § 9-14-107(b)
3 Ark. Code § 9-14-107(c)

How long will child support last?

The child support obligation ends when your child turns 18, unless:

  1. s/he is still in high school, in which case it will continue until the end of high school or until the end of the year where your child turns 19, whichever happens first;1
  2. when your child is emancipated by a court, marries, or dies;2
  3. you marry the other parent of your child;3 or
  4. the child is legally adopted.4

1 Ark. Code § 9-14-237(a)(1)(A), (a)(1)(B)
2 Ark. Code § 9-14-237(a)(1)(C)
3 Ark. Code § 9-14-237(a)(1)(D)
4 Ark. Code § 9-14-237(a)(1)(E)

What can I do if the other parent is not paying the ordered child support?

If the other parent fails to make the payments that are ordered, you can seek help from the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) of the Revenue Division of the Department of Finance and Administration. The OCSE is considered a law enforcement agency and it is the only public entity that can withhold income of support payments.1

Also, the OCSE can do the following:

  1. The other parent’s driving, professional, occupational, or business licenses can be suspended if:
    1. s/he is behind in payments for three months or more; or
    2. there is a warrant against him/her related to the child support.3
  2. The other parent can be referred for criminal prosecution if:
    1. more than $10,000 of child support is owed and remains unpaid; and
    2. s/he is not making regular payments.4

The court can also order other remedies, such as holding the other parent in contempt of court.5

1 Ark. Code § 9-14-206(b)
2 Ark. Code § 9-14-206
3 Ark. Code § 9-14-239(b)(1)(A)
4 Ark. Code § 9-14-241(a)
5 Ark. Code § 9-14-202

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