Lumping together child support and child custody seems to be an obvious thing to do. After all, they both involve the care of the child. However, it is not that clear cut when it comes to the law. Child support and child custody are two separate issues under Arkansas law, according to the Department of Finance and Administration.

The court will never use custody decisions to impact child support or vice versa because the two are distinctly different areas of law. While they may influence each other, the court looks at them separately. This is important to note because it can have an effect on you and your children.

Withholding custody

Perhaps the most common misunderstanding when it comes to child support and custody is that you can withhold visitation rights if the other parent fails to pay support. This is not true and is a crime if you have a court order for custody. The court can hold you in contempt for not following its ruling on custody.

The opposite is true as well. You cannot stop paying support just because the other parent does not let you see the children. You will face penalties for not paying court-ordered support.

Only the court

One important thing to note is that only the court can make changes to custody or support orders. Even if you and your ex agree on changes, the court must approve them for them to be legally valid. You should always follow the instructions you get from the court in regard to visitation arrangements and child support payments.

One note

Even though support and custody are separate issues, they still may influence each other. For example, if you have physical custody of your children and they spend most of their time with you, then the other parent will have a higher responsibility for child support. This means you will receive support instead of paying it.

Any issues involving your children are going to be tricky. You only want what is best for them, but once you get into custody and child support issues, you may not always get to do what you want, because the court has the ultimate say.