Paying Child Support

What if the amount billed for income withholding through my employer does not match the court order?

Most court orders contain a provision requiring the employer to withhold an additional 10% to be applied toward child support arrears. There was recent change to the law, and in some cases the amount may now be 20%. For example, if the noncustodial parent owes $56.00 per week and there are arrears owed, the total due would be $61.60 ($56.00 for current support and $5.60 for arrears, computed at the 10% rate). The court can order a specific amount to be paid toward arrearages in addition to the monthly on-going child support amount. If you have questions regarding the amount that is withheld, please contact the agency that originated the wage withholding.

Additionally, the amount that can be withheld from an employee's wages is limited by the Federal Consumer Credit Protection Act to 50 percent of disposable income if an obligated parent has a second family and 60 percent if there is not second family. These limits are each increased by 5 percent (to 55% and 65%) if payments are in arrears for a period equal to 12 weeks or more.

Do I have any alternatives to income withholding?

All new or modified support orders normally require income withholding. However, the court may allow an exception by making a written finding that there is "good cause" to not order income withholding. To get this exception, you must show that withholding would not be in the best interest of the child and you have made your payments (if any) on time.

NOTE: You cannot get this exception if you had an exception to income withholding before and your withholding was reinstated because you missed payments.

My court order says to pay child support through the Clerk of Court. Can I do that, or do I have to make payments through the Arkansas Child Support Clearinghouse?

If you are employed and child support is being deducted from your wages, your employer is required by state law to send payments to the Arkansas Child Support Clearinghouse.

I've been paying child support, but now my child lives with me. What do I do?

You are required to pay child support until a court order is modified. You should seek the advice of legal counsel regarding a change in physical or legal custody.

How can I find out if a payment was made to the custodial parent?

You may call your caseworker, call the Arkansas Child Support Clearinghouse Customer Service at 866-428-8382, or you may look online at OCSE WebPay.

How can I dispute a collection action taken by OCSE?

OCSE uses many different collection tools to enforce child support. If you want OCSE to stop taking a particular action, the first step is to contact the caseworker who enforces your case. Your support enforcement caseworker has a duty to collect current support and arrears. The manner of collection and the amount of the arrears payment are sometimes negotiable if you work with your support enforcement caseworker and honor any agreements you make. There are situations, though, when your caseworker cannot release a collection action, even if you pay regularly. For example: in most cases, OCSE must keep wage withholding in place if we know where you work; if you owe back child support we must file a lien.

I am a noncustodial parent as well as a custodial parent. OCSE has stayed on me to pay support, and I do. But I can't get a dime from my ex-spouse. What is the problem?

You are to be commended for complying with your court order. Unfortunately, not all cases are alike. While our goal is to collect support for every child in our caseload, success is determined on an individual case basis.

How does OCSE process payments?

OCSE processes approximately 8,000 payments each business day. OCSE receives payments by mail and electronically. OCSE images all payments it receives by mail and deposits all payments promptly. Payments are credited by the Payor's name and nine-digit case number. If the case number has not been provided, a payment may be identified by the Social Security number of the Payor. If a payment is properly identified and there is no incomplete information, then the payment is generally credited to the appropriate account within one business day of OCSE receiving it. If the custodial parent has Direct Deposit, then the payment is usually deposited into their account within two business days. If you have not chosen Direct Deposit, a check is mailed within two business days.

If the payments are supposed to be deducted from my wages and that hasn't started yet, what should I do?

You are responsible for your child support payments. If they are not deducted from your wages, then you must send in the payments yourself to the Arkansas Child Support Clearinghouse. You also must notify the local office managing your case of where you are working.

What happens if the check OCSE receives from an employer or noncustodial parent is returned for insufficient funds?

The check is processed through the bank twice, and if after two times there are still insufficient funds, then OCSE takes steps to recover the funds from the payor. The custodial parent receiving the funds is not asked to refund the payment they received from OCSE as a result of an insufficient check.

When current child support is no longer owed, what happens to the arrears owed?

OCSE will continue to collect the arrears that are owed and can use most of the same enforcement methods used to collect current support.