Fathers in Arkansas have a right to know whether a child is theirs. While this knowledge can help establish a relationship between the father and the child, and may allow the father to seek an active role in the child’s life, there is another important reason to determine paternity: to establish a child support order.
In fact, according to Arkansas Code section 9-10-109, once paternity is established either through a voluntary acknowledgement or a court-ordered paternity test, the court will then issue a child support order. When doing so, the court will adhere to the requirements, procedures and guidelines that would apply if the child was born to two married parents who are going through a divorce. Payments for child support in Arkansas will be made through income withholding.
There may be circumstances in which a father will have child support obligations after the child turns 18. This may be if the child turns 18 before graduating from high school, so long as the payment of child support is contingent on the child staying in school. In addition, if a child is disabled and is not able to lead an independent life, the noncustodial parent may need to keep paying child support.
As you can see, part of being a parent in Arkansas is supporting your child financially. If you are the noncustodial parent, this means paying child support. These payments are meant to help the custodial parent meet the child’s everyday needs. Fathers who have questions about whether they are obligated to pay child support after their parentage is determined may need to seek the advice of a professional.