Law Office of Michael Lilly FAQ
Q: In a divorce or child custody case, how old does a child have to be to decide where he or she wants to live?
A: In Arkansas, there is no “magic age” when a child can automatically determine which parent will have custody of that child. Instead, custody is determined based on the “best interests of the child,” which is usually made up of a number of factors. The child’s preference can be one of those factors and, in some cases, may be the most important factor. How much weight a judge will give to a child’s preference is usually determined by the child’s age and maturity.
Q: Is it true that child support can only be increased or decreased once every three years?
A: There is no set time that you must wait to file for an increase or decrease in child support. A child support increase or decrease can be sought when there has been a “change in circumstances” that is sufficient to warrant a modification. Usually, this is determined by whether the person paying the child support has had an increase or decrease in pay of at least $100 per month.
Q: Do I need my child’s other parent to consent to an adoption by my new spouse?
A: Under Arkansas law, a parent’s consent to an adoption is not necessary if that parent has failed significantly to pay support or visit with the child for a period of at least one year.
Q: Does alimony exist in Arkansas?
A: A court in Arkansas may award alimony in a divorce case if it is justified based on the financial condition of the parties. The two biggest factors that a court will look at is the “need” of the party requesting alimony and the “ability to pay” of the other party. Some other important factors are:
- Income of the parties
- Length of the marriage
- Other assets available to the parties
- Education of the parties
- Age of the parties
- Accustomed standard of living