Calculating child support goes beyond taking a percentage of the non-custodial parents’ income, and looks at several factors when calculating the final payment.
While going through a divorce can be emotional and stressful for a couple who has decided to end their marriage, it can be even more devastating for the children who are involved. Not only must a child adjust to living with a separated family, but there are often financial concerns as well. Many children of divorce experience a change in the quality of life that they had become accustomed to while their parents were married. Child support in Arkansas is designed to provide financial stability and bridge the financial gap that occurs when parents decide to file for divorce.
Child support model
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Arkansas calculates child support based on a percentage of the non-custodial parent’s income. This means that the custodial parent’s income is usually not calculated into the final child support amount. There are, however, several considerations that the court will take into account when determining how much each child will receive. According to the Arkansas Child Support Guidelines, these factors include:
1. Any medical circumstances or health care needs
Whether the child needs a basic medical insurance plan or has a condition that requires more extensive coverage, both parents are responsible for the child’s medical expenses.
2. The child’s educational expenses
All school fees, book expenses, tutoring, tuition, special education and other costs tied to the child’s education are considered.
3. Whether any child care is required
Some single parents rely on child care while they are working. Both parents may be required to pay for these expenses.
4. Details of the parenting plan
The amount of time the child spends with each parent, as well as how far away the parents live from one another can increase or decrease the amount of child support owed each month.
5. The quality of life set during the marriage
In order to provide a more stable environment for the child, the courts will attempt to keep the child’s quality of life as close to the same as possible.
Keeping the child’s bests interests in mind
Arkansas courts keep the best interests of children in mind when making judgements regarding child support, parenting plans and child custody. If you are entering into the divorce process, you may want to consider speaking to a lawyer about your legal options. The divorce process can be somewhat challenging and may leave you feeling unsure of where to turn to. An attorney may help to make things easier by preparing you for what lies ahead.
Several options in uncontested divorce are available, including mediation and collaborative law. An attorney may be able to help ensure the terms are fair.
It is understandable for couples going through a divorce to want to avoid as much heartache, cost and legal hassle that they can. When disputes are hotly contested, the litigation process may compound all of these problems. Fortunately for couples in Arkansas, there are other options that may reduce these problems if they are conducted properly. These options are known as uncontested divorce methods. It is not always necessary to involve an attorney in some uncontested cases, but an attorney may be beneficial to protect the best interests of each side.
First, it can help to understand the benefits of ending a marriage through uncontested means. These may include the following:
• Can cost much less than a traditional litigated divorce
• Are often less time-consuming
• May reduce conflict and stress
• Can teach valuable negotiation and communication skills
• May shield children from conflict
The most common uncontested divorce methods are known as mediation and collaborative law. The following points explain what is involved in each process, as well as the role an attorney may play.
The mediation process involves the divorcing couple meeting with each other and a neutral third party to discuss their divorce disputes and trying to reach agreements that they both can live with. Mediation works best when each spouse is able to discuss things calmly and civilly, as well as keep an open mind to each other’s needs and wishes. An attorney is not required during mediation. However, it may help to have an attorney present during mediation who can state whether a suggested solution is fair. At the very least, an attorney may be able to read through the proposed agreement before it is signed.
Family law attorneys are an integral part of collaborative law. During this process, each spouse has his and her own attorney. They may also consult with additional professionals, such as tax advisors and child therapists. Collaborative law can be beneficial for those with complex property division or child custody disputes, who still want to avoid going to court. If litigation proves necessary, however, the attorneys must resign and each spouse must start over with new lawyers. This rule may give each spouse an incentive to continue trying to reach a resolution without going to court, since hiring multiple attorneys and litigating may be costly and time-consuming.
Before agreeing on one type of divorce method, it is important to discuss your situation with an experienced Arkansas family law attorney. An attorney should be able to review your case and help you decide on the best way to proceed.