Child Custody Attorneys in Jonesboro Working Hard To Be Your Advocate so You Can Be Theirs
Child custody is one of the most important topics in many divorces and carries with it intense emotions, both from the parents and the children involved. We have an innate need to protect our children and provide for them the best life that we can give them. In the event that this may mean time away from your child, it can bring to light thoughts and fears that may be new to you.
At OMG Law Firm, these thoughts and fears are not new to us, in that we have helped multiple families through the custody process during our many years of experience. We understand that you want what’s best for your children, and we are prepared to help you do that.
Contact our offices today at (870) 336-6505 to discuss your specific case and how we can help.
What Are the Custody Options in Arkansas?
Arkansas recognizes two types of custody, physical and legal custody. Both of these can be determined as either sole or joint custody.
Physical custody refers to the daily care of the child and generally means the parent with physical custody is who the child lives with. If there is joint physical custody, the child shares time between the parents’ homes. If there is sole physical custody, it typically means that the other parent has a visitation schedule that has been agreed upon and established as part of the divorce agreement.
Legal custody pertains to important decisions in the child’s life, such as their healthcare, education, religion, and more. If legal custody has been determined to be sole, one parent has full responsibility for those decisions in the child’s life. If this has been set up as joint, each parent can make these decisions for the child, together with the other parent or individually.
How is Custody Determined?
There are many factors taken into consideration when determining custody. As a general rule, the courts will try to lean towards joint physical custody so that both parents can remain in the child’s life and play an active role in their upbringing. The priority here is what is in the best interest of the child, and that is the benchmark that courts use as they review the facts in each case.
Some of the factors that are commonly reviewed are what the home lives look like for either parent. Are there other siblings that live there? Is it a safe and welcoming environment conducive to a healthy upbringing for the child in question? In some cases, home studies are ordered to be performed, which allow for further review of the home life of each parent to determine if one household is a better fit for the child than the other.
What is the character of both parents? Are they trustworthy, dependable, and able to hold steady employment? What is their physical and mental health?
What are the financial situations of each parent? Are they both equally able to provide opportunities to the child? If medical costs should arise, are they both able to navigate those?
Who has typically cared for the child up to this point in terms of taking them to the doctor, helping with homework, or feeding them?
Are the parents working together thus far in allowing each other to see the child, or is one of them keeping the child from their other parent? Judges want to make sure that the parent that has custody ensures that continued contact with the other parent occurs.
Have there been drug, alcohol, or other abuse allegations or charges in the past for either parent? Or have there been physical/sexual abuse or neglect allegations or charges in the past?
Does the child have a preference as to where they will reside? Though sharing this preference doesn’t mean that the judge will rule in that manner, it is a factor that is considered.
What if I Need to Make Changes to the Custody Decision?
As life progresses and things change, sometimes it is necessary to make changes to the arrangement that was ordered in the past involving child custody. Have there been changes in the health of the custodial parent that is inhibiting them from providing the care your child needs? Is there evidence of drug/alcohol abuse that was not there when the courts made the original ruling?
There are various reasons that you may need to make changes, called a “modification of child custody.” Two things are necessary for modifying: that you can prove that a material change in circumstances has occurred since the original ruling and that it would be in the child’s best interest to change the custody arrangement.
Generally speaking, it is harder to modify a court’s decision after it has been made. That being said, having an experienced attorney on your side during the original determination of custody to make sure you are best prepared to present your case is imperative. Having a skilled professional on your team should you need a modification can be equally as important, as that is typically a harder case to prove.
Why OMG Law Firm?
As you can see, the complexities of child custody can be draining at times. It’s no surprise that there are many complex details involved when determining custody of your child, as children are, for most of us, the most important humans in our lives.
We have multiple years of helping families to best prepare for what to expect in custody cases. We are happy to be your advocate in this matter, so you can continue to be your child’s advocate. Contact our offices today at (870) 336-6505 to begin the process and learn more about how we can help you.