In many — in fact, most — divorce matters in Arkansas and nationally, the parties at the center of dissolution-related issues are the so-called “nuclear” components, that is, mom, dad and the kids.
Although that mix of parties and related interests most often defines what might be termed a “typical” divorce, it does not of course comprise the totality of divorces across the country.
And that is because it flatly omits a demographic that can sometimes be of central importance in a family and regarding divorce-related considerations, namely, loving and intimately involved grandparents.
Here’s a fact stated right upfront concerning the rights and role of grandparents in an Arkansas divorce matter, as referenced on our website at the Little Rock family law firm of Robertson, Oswalt, Nony & Associates: “The general rule is that a parent’s choice is determinative on the issue of grandparent visitation.”
Does that end the matter, though?
Indeed, and in many instances, it does not.
And here is why: That “general” reference can widely open up the door in some cases to strong and compelling arguments from grandparents as to why they should be allowed to have a continuing and meaningful connection to their grandchildren following a divorce.
Perhaps, for example, there is already an enduring and loving bond across the generations. Courts unquestionably take note of that, especially when they consider the best interests of children in a custody/visitation matter.
Or it might be the case that, because of alcohol/drug use, family violence or some other factor, a parent is arguably unfit, necessitating a central caregiver role for grandparents who are already willing to assume that role.
Other factors, too, can influence a court to rule on the side of grandparents in visitation matters.
We can discuss those factors with any Arkansas grandparent seeking information on this important family law topic, and also provide clear guidance on legal options and rights.