As everyone is aware, this summer the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which had protected abortion as a constitutional right. Now that it has been overturned, states are able to enact their own laws regarding abortion. In Arkansas, our trigger law went into effect and was certified by the Attorney General.
The Trigger Law
Arkansas Code 5-61-304 prohibits abortions in Arkansas except to save the life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency. Arkansas Code 5-61-302 states that "life begins at the moment of conception and the child in a woman's womb is a human being." This means that, per the Arkansas General Assembly and Arkansas law, a fetus in utero is as much of a child as a baby post-delivery.
How It Affects Child Support
Generally, Arkansas domestic relations courts have not ordered child support to be paid by the father while the mother is pregnant with the child, as courts have not viewed unborn children as human beings. With the passage of 5-61-302, the General Assembly has directed Arkansas courts that a fetus is a life and a human being, which means that the fetus is entitled to the same support as a child who is not in utero. As such, mothers going through divorce before delivering their babies, and mothers who are not married should consider petitioning the court for child support. Additionally, courts may be willing (and historically have been willing) to order fathers to pay medical expenses and other pregnancy-related costs to mothers.
These are still new issues in Arkansas given the changing laws, and it is important to speak with an attorney who can properly advise you. If you hae any questions, please reach out to us and we will be happy to assist you.