Sure, there was a time when divorce-linked custody outcomes in Arkansas and across the country had a distinct cookie-cutter look about them. Moms got so-called primary physical custody almost all of the time, with dads popping in at slated intervals — often every other weekend or so, with a designated week night sandwiched in — to spend a day or two with the kids.
“You used to see all the dads at Denny’s on Wednesdays,” notes one family law expert in an article stressing the flexible nature of contemporary child custody arrangements.
Indeed, many fathers in Little Rock and across Arkansas can well remember their divorces in bygone decades that seemed to be centrally marked at every corner by a judicial anti-dad bias. It certainly was the case in former generations that it was a virtual certainty for children in a divorced family to live together with the mother, with the father living elsewhere and having approved — and often quite limited — visitation rights.
Many fathers’ rights groups in Arkansas and nationally emerged principally as a result of that perceived ill treatment by courts. And, in fact, many former and still-serving judges openly acknowledge these days a clear pro-mom slant years back in custody matters.
And while that view is obviously not firmly eradicated now, it is decidedly in the judicial rear-view mirror.
We prominently note that on our family law website at the experienced Little Rock divorce firm of Robertson, Oswalt, Nony & Associates. We stress therein that courts overwhelmingly interpret the “best interests of the child” these days as centrally embracing fathers’ roles and their continuing close ties with their children post-divorce.
We’ll take a look at increasingly modernized forms of custody outcomes and their tandem flexibility in our next blog post.