This answer is written by AI. The information provided in this response is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. Do not rely solely on the information provided in this response for any legal decisions. Consult with a qualified legal professional before making any decisions.

Can You Collect Back Child Support Without an Existing Order in Arkansas?

Question from Shakaren, Can You Collect Back Child Support Without an Existing Order in Arkansas?

Answer from AI:

When it comes to child support, each state has its own set of laws and regulations that govern how it’s handled, including the state of Arkansas. A common question that arises is whether a parent can collect back child support if no formal order was ever established, especially once the child has reached adulthood. This situation can be complex, and understanding the general legal landscape is crucial.

Understanding Child Support in Arkansas

Child support is a legal obligation paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent to contribute to the child’s living expenses. In Arkansas, as in all states, child support is considered a right of the child, not the custodial parent.

Key Points:

  • Child support orders are typically established through a court process or through the Office of Child Support Enforcement in Arkansas.
  • Child support payments are calculated based on the non-custodial parent’s income, the number of children, and other factors outlined in the Arkansas Family Support Chart.
  • Child support obligations generally continue until the child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later, but not beyond the age of 19.

Is Retroactive Child Support Possible Without an Existing Order?

Without an existing child support order, the process of obtaining back child support in Arkansas can be particularly challenging. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. No Retroactive Orders: Generally, courts do not have the authority to issue child support orders retroactively in the absence of a previously established order or pending child support case.
  2. Establishing Paternity: If paternity was not established before the child turned 18, this could further complicate the ability to seek child support retroactively.
  3. Legal Advice is Crucial: Given the complexities surrounding retroactive child support, consulting with a family law attorney is highly recommended to explore any possible legal avenues based on the specifics of your situation.

Steps to Consider

If you find yourself in a situation where you’re seeking back child support without an existing order, here are some steps you might consider:

  1. Consult a Family Law Attorney: A legal professional can provide advice tailored to your situation, including any potential for pursuing child support after the fact.
  2. Establish Paternity: If paternity has not yet been legally established, this is a necessary step before any child support can be pursued.
  3. Consider Other Legal Avenues: While traditional back child support may not be an option, there might be other legal remedies available based on the specifics of your case.


Collecting back child support in Arkansas without an existing order presents significant legal challenges, especially if the child is already 19 years old. While the law generally does not allow for retroactive child support in the absence of an established order, individual circumstances can vary. Therefore, it’s essential to seek personalized legal advice.

For more information on child support in Arkansas, you can visit the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration Office of Child Support Enforcement. Remember, this information is not legal advice, and it’s important to consult with a qualified attorney for guidance specific to your situation.

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