If you have children and are considering a divorce or have a current agreement, there are issues surrounding child custody that you need to be aware of to make sure that your children’s needs are being met. We are OMG Law Firm and we are the law firm to turn to in Arkansas for all family law matters including divorce and child custody. In this week’s blog, we will look at child custody and some very important guidelines as you navigate this process.

How is Custody Decided?

  • The rule the court will follow is what is best for the child.
  • It’s customary that the court deems it in the child’s best interest to have sustained contact with both parents. This means days or weeks of visitation, depending on the circumstances.

What if I Don’t Agree With the Court’s Decision?

  • Of course, parents often disagree with what the court thinks is in the best interest of the child, so if you feel strongly about the matter, you will have to prove your case. For instance, if you feel the other parent is an unfit parent you will have to help your lawyer build a case. This will require documentation and proof. Keep records so your lawyer has all the information needed. Keep a record of times the other parent does things that concern you and get proof if you can.
  • These things can include being later to pick-up or drop off the child(ren), not feeding them, not getting them to school, leaving them unattended or with inappropriate supervision, drug use, harsh punishment, and any verbal or physical abuse. If the child is old enough their preferences may be taken into consideration. Court ordered visitation can include siblings or grandparents if the court sees these as important to the stability and mental health of the child.
  • When you have a case built, you can file for a change of custody. The court may or may not grant it, but you can try.

Can We Come Up with Our Own Schedule?

  • Yes, and in fact, it can be helpful for the parents to agree upon a visitation schedule before the court date. The court is under no obligation to grant your schedule and make it part of the court order, but generally speaking, judges prefer to work with parents who are cooperating.

Is There a Standard Visitation Schedule for Arkansas?

  • No. The schedule for visitation you get will depend on what judge you get. Your lawyer at OMG Law Firm has experience with the judges and can navigate the system for you.
  • That being said, many judges grant every other weekend and rotating holidays to the non-custodial parent.

Can I Request Supervised Visitation?

  • Yes. You can request that visitation be supervised by a social worker or therapist, but again, this will have to be requested and ordered by the court.
  • Supervised visitation often takes place at a child visitation center or, on rare occasions, via Skype.
  • In order to have supervised visitation granted, you will have to prove to the court that the parent is a danger to the child. You will have to build a case and present it to the court formally.

These are just a few issues that you may come across when you are dealing with child custody. It is best to have experienced family lawyers by your side. Call OMG Law Firm today and speak with a lawyer.