You should be aware of your rights and responsibilities as a parent in Arkansas, especially when it comes to child support and how much you should expect or owe. Usually, this is an area where many parents disagree, so you need to know what you can and cannot do for child support.

Who Needs to Pay Child Support?

The custodial parent is owed child support by the noncustodial parent in order to equally distribute the financial hardship of raising a child. There are additional factors beyond who has custody that the court will look into when deciding child support. One of these factors is whether the noncustodial parent spends a lot of time taking care of the child, such as if there is shared physical custody or if the noncustodial parent has the child for long periods of time.

How Can I Petition for Child Support?

You can ask for child support in Arkansas by either applying through the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) or the court. You do not have to have all of the information about the noncustodial parent when you begin the process of seeking child support, but the more you can provide, the faster it will go. The information that you will be asked to provide include the other parent’s name, social security number, address, last employer’s name and address, names of any friends, family or organizations the parent is involved in, other financial information, and a physical description or photo of the other parent.

What If I Do Not Pay Child Support?

There are several things that can happen if you do not pay child support. For one, you could be found in contempt of court, and end up arrested or even in jail. Late child support payments are reported to credit bureaus and will affect your credit score. You could have a criminal case with the federal government because you are extremely behind on payments. Bank accounts can be seized and used to pay for child support. You can also lose your license or be denied a passport.

Usually, the first step if you are delinquent in payments is taking part of your income from every check to pay child support. Also, your tax refund will be taken to make payments before any more serious measure, such as being arrested or having your bank account seized, are taken.

Will Nonpayment Affect My Visitation?

Visitation and child support are only connected to see if you can lower child support payments. This means that you have the right to visitation even if you are behind on child support. The other parent cannot deny you, and if they do refuse to allow for visitation, you can go back to court to enforce your visitation rights.

How Can I Stop Paying Child Support?

Never stop paying child support on your own, or you will end up behind on your payments and in trouble with the law. You need to take legal steps to stop your payments. The main way to stop payment is by showing that you are not the biological father through a DNA test. If you are proven to be the father, then you are responsible for the cost of the test. However, if you are not the father, then the mother is responsible for any fees.

Another way to stop child support is if you and the other parent can reach an agreement to not pay child support.  Bear in mind that such an agreement must be approved by the court before it can be valid.

Where Can I Find the Right Lawyer?

Since there are so many complications and issues that can come up with child support, it is extremely important to find the right Arkansas child support lawyer to help you. They can help guide you through the process and represent you in any major disagreements that come up in relation to child support.