Often when parents get divorced, one of their biggest concerns is what will happen to their child or children. Their specific concerns can vary greatly depending on their situation. “Will my ex try to prevent me from seeing my children?” “How will we make sure our children continue to have strong relationships with both of us?” “Will I still get to spend as much time with my child?”
It can be especially concerning when the divorce is acrimonious or involves accusations of abuse or instability. It can also be an issue if the parents intend to live a long distance apart after the divorce.
In Arkansas, there are three custody options:
- One parent has sole legal and physical custody.
- Both parents have joint physical and legal custody, meaning they both spend time with the child and jointly make decisions about the child’s education, medical needs, etc.
- The state takes third-party custody and the child is adopted, institutionalized, or entered into the foster care system. Neither parent has custody.
The child’s best interest is always the primary factor in deciding custody orders in Arkansas.
Other factors that courts will consider include:
- The child’s preference;
- Each parents’ history with drug or alcohol abuse;
- The quality of each home environment;
- Each parents’ work schedules; and
- Each parents’ relationship with one another and with the child.
In accordance with the Tender Years Doctrine, Arkansas courts formerly favored the mother in child custody cases. Today, however, the Tender Years Doctrine has been eliminated and each parent has equal opportunity to obtain custody of the child.
Once the court makes its child custody decision, this Order is fairly difficult to change. You have to be able to prove that one or both parents experienced a significant change in circumstances, such as military deployment or remarriage, requiring that the custody arrangement change in the best interest of the child.
Who can help me navigate the ins and out of child custody in Arkansas?
At OMG Law Firm, we understand the importance of fighting for your family. We take pride in our client-focused approach, which allows us to give your child custody case the individualized attention it deserves. Our knowledge and experience make us the perfect guide through your legal challenges. Contact us at (870) 330-7324 to learn more about what we can do to help you.