Child support in Arkansas is calculated based on the payor’s net income for child support purposes. Click here to see my page on child support calculations in general. Once we determine the payor’s net income for child support purposes, that number is plugged into the current Arkansas child support chart that is published by the Arkansas Supreme Court. The chart gives us the presumptive child support obligation of the payor based on the number of children and the pay frequency of the payor (biweekly, semimonthly or monthly). In 99 out of 100 cases, the court will order the payor parent to pay the presumptive child support obligation that comes out of the child support chart. However, in some cases, the court will allow a deviation from the presumptive amount – either upward or downward depending on the facts of the case.
Custodial parents ask for upward deviations. They are asking the court to order the payor to pay more than the presumptive chart amount of child support. Most of time, this is an uphill battle. The circumstances under which a court would order an upward deviation are usually when a child has significant expenses associated with special schooling, learning disabilities, mandatory travel, or special medical requirements.
Payor parents ask for downward deviations. They are asking the court to allow them to pay less than the presumptive chart amount of child support. Most of the time, this too is an uphill battle. The circumstances under which a court would order a downward deviation are usually when the payor can show that the chart amount far exceeds the reasonable costs allocable to the child (remember Corliss Williamson’s case!), or where the chart amount creates an unreasonable burden on the payor or a third party.
Administrative Order No. 10 requires the court to note the reasons for deviation any time the court makes a deviation.
If you have any questions about child support deviations, I am happy to make myself available to visit. I can be reached on my cell phone at 501-519-0186, or at the office at 501-222-7378, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, thanks for reading!