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Arkansas Child Support Definitions

Definition of income.
Income means any form of payment, periodic or otherwise, due to an individual, regardless of source, including wages, salaries, commissions, bonuses, worker’s compensation, disability, payments pursuant to a pension or retirement program, and interest less proper deductions for:

1. Federal and state income tax;
2. Withholding for Social Security (FICA), Medicare, and railroad retirement;
3. Medical insurance paid for dependant children, and
4. Presently paid support for other dependents by Court order.

Nonsalaried payors. For Social Security Disability recipients, the court should consider the amount of any separate awards made to the disability recipient’s spouse and/or children on account of the payor’s disability.

For Veteran’s Administration disability recipients, Workers’ Compensation
disability recipients, and Unemployment Compensation recipients, the court shall consider those benefits as income.

For military personnel, see latest military pay allocation chart and benefits. BAQ (quarters allowance) should be added to other income to reach total income. Military personnel are entitled to draw BAQ at a "with dependents" rate if they are providing support pursuant to a court order. However, there may be circumstances in which the payor is unable to draw BAQ or may draw BAQ only at the "without dependents" rate. Use the BAQ for which the payor is actually eligible. In some areas, military personnel receive a variable allowance. It may not be appropriate to include this allowance in calculation of income since it is awarded to offset living expenses which exceed those normally incurred.

For commission workers, support shall be calculated based on minimum draw plus additional commissions.

For self-employed payors, support shall be calculated based on last year’s federal and state income tax returns and the quarterly estimates for the current year. Also the court shall consider the amount the payor is capable of earning or a net worth approach based on property, life-style, etc.

Imputed income. If a payor is unemployed or working below full earning capacity, the court may consider the reasons therefor. If earnings are reduced as a matter of choice and not for reasonable cause, the court may attribute income to a payor up to his or her earning capacity, including consideration of the payor’s life-style. Income of at least minimum wage shall be attributed to a payor ordered to pay child support.

Spousal support. The chart assumes that the custodian of dependent children is employed and is not a dependent. For the purposes of calculating temporary support, a dependent custodian should be counted as two dependents as a guide in determining support. For final hearings, the court should consider all relevant factors, including the chart, in determining the amount of any spousal support to be paid.

Allocation of dependents for tax purposes. Allocation of dependents for tax purposes belongs to the custodial parent pursuant to the Internal Revenue Code. However, the Court shall have the discretion to grant dependency allocation, or any part of it, to the noncustodial parent if the benefit of the allocation to the noncustodial parent substantially outweighs the benefit to the custodial parent.

Health insurance. In addition to the award of child support, the court order shall provide for the child’s health care needs, which would normally include health insurance if available to either parent at a reasonable cost.

Affidavit of financial means.

The Affidavit of Financial Means shall be used in all family support matters. The trial court shall require each party to complete and exchange the Affidavit of Financial Means prior to a hearing to establish or modify a support order.

Deviation considerations.

Relevant factors. Relevant factors to be considered by the court in determining appropriate amounts of child support shall include:

1. Food;.
2. Shelter and utilities;.
3. Clothing;.
4. Medical expenses;.
5. Educational expenses;.
6. Dental expenses;.
7. Child care;.
8. Accustomed standard of living;.
9. Recreation;.
10. Insurance;.
11. Transportation expenses; and.
12. Other income or assets available to support the child from whatever source.

Additional factors. Additional factors may warrant adjustments to the child support obligations and shall include:

1. The procurement and/or maintenance of life insurance, health insurance, dental insurance for the children’s benefit;.
2. The provision or payment of necessary medical, dental, optical, psychological or counseling expenses of the children (e.g. orthopedic shoes, glasses, braces, etc.);.
3. The creation or maintenance of a trust fund for the children;.
4. The provision or payment of special education needs or expenses of the child;.
5. The provision or payment of day care for a child;.
6. The extraordinary time spent with the noncustodial parent, or shared or joint custody arrangements; and.
7. The support required and given by a payor for dependent children, even in the absence of a court order.

Abatement of support during extended visitation.

The guidelines assume that the noncustodial parent will have visitation every other weekend and for several weeks during the summer. Excluding weekend visitation with the custodial parent, in those situations where a child spends in excess of 14 consecutive days with the noncustodial parent, the court should consider whether an adjustment in child support is appropriate, giving consideration to the fixed obligations of the custodial parent which are attributable to the child, to the increased costs of the noncustodial parent associated with the child’s visit, and to the relative incomes of both parents. Any partial abatement or reduction of child support should not exceed 50% of the child support obligation during the extended visitation period of more than 14 consecutive days. In situations in which the noncustodial parent has been granted annual visitation in excess of 14 consecutive days, the court may prorate annually the reduction in order to maintain the same amount of monthly child support payments. However, if the noncustodial parent does not exercise said extended visitations during a particular year, the noncustodial parent shall be required to pay the abated amount of child support to the custodial parent.