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The public shares ideas with Arkansas child support office

In a recent local survey, several parents gave opinions regarding the child support system in Arkansas. The Office of Child Support Enforcement provided responses.

Some viewers proposed that the OCSE should be more active in implementing visitation rights of non-custodial parents. The OCSE responded by stating that it does not have federal funding or statutory authority to issue orders enforcing visitation rights of non-custodial parents. Implementation of access and visitation rights are within the jurisdiction of the courts. However, the Arkansas Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission provides mediation services concerning visitation and other rights, either for free or at reduced costs, if the parties are willing to choose an out-of-court resolution of the issue.

Some viewers proposed the idea, based on laws in other states, that the names of people who default on child support payment should be made public. Under Arkansas family law, limited information regarding customers of the OCSE can be disclosed. However, the OCSE encourages tips from public and other interested parties to help them track non-custodial parents who are failing to pay the child support.

The OCSE stated that Arkansas law allows interested people to petition, through the courts, to receive quarterly reports on expenditure of the child support money. Additionally, under state law, the OCSE is authorized to issue income withholding orders to more than one employer in order to meet the full amount owed by a non-custodial parent toward child support, when that parent works two part-time jobs.

The OCSE also stated that Arkansas has one of the most favorable worker-to-case ratios compared with other states. Case workers are adequately trained to handle cases assigned to them and can provide required assistance to customers. However, if any customer is dissatisfied with the services provided by the case worker, that person can consult with a supervisor. Services are provided by the OCSE in lieu of a nominal fee, which is deducted from the child support money that is collected.

Child support is a sensitive area of family law and the OCSE plays an important role in ensuring that every child receives the support to which that child is entitled. Every custodial parent needs to be aware of the kind of services provided by OCSE and, if needed, may seek help from an attorney.

Source: KATV.com, "Child support: six parents, six ideas" Jason Pederson, Oct. 31, 2014

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