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How does a judge determine child support?

On Behalf of | Apr 21, 2020 | Family Law

When parents in Arkansas split, there are many child-related matters to handle. Custody is usually the thing that comes to mind first, but what about child support? Figuring out child support can be impossible for two parents. This is why a court will often take over and a judge makes the final ruling. But how do they decide who should pay what? 

Across the board, civil statutes regulate payment of child support. Enforcement happens at a federal level. This ensures that all parents pay the support they owe. Each state tends to use its own model to calculate the exact amount a parent owes, though. 

There are several primary methods of determining payment percentages. The income shares model, the Melson formula and the percentage of income model are a few. In some cases, the outcome depends on court discretion, but this does not occur often. 

Most states use the income shares model, but Arkansas uses the percentage of income model. Courts base their calculations on a percentage of the non-custodial parent’s net income. They also calculate based on the number of children this parent supports. This includes children from families they may be joining post-divorce. The income percentage is either varying or flat. If it varies, payment will change if the parent’s income fluctuates. 

Matters of child support are complex and emotional. Understanding how the courts work when it comes to child support issues can help. If you want to read more, you can click the link here. It will take you to our web page on child support matters.