Do You Have to Be Divorced to Get Child Support?
In Arkansas, how much child support is typically ordered by a child custody court in a divorce or legal separation case.
However, if there are unmarried parents, or the parents are not currently in a legal separation or divorce proceeding, the parent who has primary joint custody or legal custody of the child can file a petition with the court to request to receive child support payments from the non-custodial parent.
The only requirements to get child support are that you are not currently living with the other parent, and you have the child or children at least half of the time.
How to Get the Other Parent to Pay Child Support
It does not matter if you are married or not or how long you have been separated, you can pursue child support from the other parent by hiring an attorney or by opening a case with the office of child support enforcement; both have their own advantages and disadvantages.
How are Child Support Payments Decided?
The court will take several factors into consideration when determining the amount of child support to be paid, including the parent’s income, the number of children, the financial needs of the child, and the standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the parents had remained together.
The court may also consider the amount of time each parent spends with the child, as well as any special needs or medical expenses the child may have.
A lot of parents come to see us wondering how they are going to take care of the kids because their spouse has up and left. They aren’t ready to get divorced yet, but they need money for the kids.
What Someone Paying Child Support Looks Like
Most married parents might think they are stuck without the ability to receive child support until they get divorced. We had a client that was abandoned by her spouse after 10 years, and she wasn’t going to be able to support the children on her own.
We were able to get a child support case filed, get a hearing, and get a basic child support order all within a couple of months.
The child support is being withheld from her spouse’s paychecks and sent directly to her and she is now receiving financial support at a little over $800 per month in support that she is using to pay for food, gas, utilities until she decides what she wants to do long term with the possibility of divorce.
What if My Spouse and I Already Have an “Agreement?”
A second common scenario is that people think they can’t get child support because there is an agreement between the parents about splitting some expenses like medical insurance or daycare, but that is not the case.
A child support calculation would include those costs and already having an agreement in place to deal with those does not stop you from getting additional child support.
Once the court has determined the amount of child support to be paid, the non-custodial parent will be required to pay the support to the custodial parent on a regular basis, typically through the Arkansas Child Support Clearinghouse.
If the one parent fails to pay the support as ordered by the court, they may face penalties such as wage garnishment, liens on their property, or even jail time.
It is important for both parents to fulfill their child support obligations, as the money is used to help provide for the child’s basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing, and medical care.
Find Out More Information on Divorce and Child Support
If you are a parent in Arkansas and need help obtaining or enforcing child support, you should consider consulting with an experienced family law attorney who can assist you in navigating the legal process.