In Arkansas, courts require parties to submit a “Child Support Worksheet” when children are involved in a domestic matter. Some of the factors in a child support worksheet include, but are not limited to, how many children the parties share, the parents’ monthly income, the cost of the child’s health insurance, and child-rearing expenses. These factors help parties and the court determine how much each parent should be contributing financially to their child, and how much, if any, one parent is obligated to pay the other parent for child support.
Why Would a Court Order Child Support?
The purpose of child support is to help ensure that a child has their financial and health care needs met. Moreover, when considering the factors to determine child support, the child should ultimately be in a position to receive the financial support they would have received had their parents lived together and shared financial resources. This means support could be ordered even in a joint custody case.
Ultimately the Court Has Full Discretion
Nonetheless, courts have the discretion to deviate from the child support worksheet. For example, if two parents have similar incomes and they share an equal amount of time with their child, a deviation from the child support worksheet may be warranted. The court may require additional factors to be considered before granting a deviation from the child support worksheet.
Finally, the court in a domestic relations case has the final authority to determine the amount of child support ordered. A rebuttable presumption exists that the amount derived from the child support worksheet is the amount to be awarded, but said amount is not a guarantee of the amount of child support that will be ordered. Many factors may be considered and may affect the amount of child support awarded.