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After you get a divorce, you will have custody of your child at least some of the time. However, the court will want to see that you have a home that is safe for your child, so that it is assured that the child’s best interests have been considered.

As a now-single parent who has to make ends meet in Arkansas, getting the right apartment is a necessity, but it also has to be within your budget. What should you look for? What would be acceptable?

The interesting thing is that it’s not that hard to find a home that is acceptable by the court’s standards. There are a few factors to consider. These include:

  • The proximity to your child’s school or activities
  • The number of bedrooms in the home
  • The quality of the home itself (I.e.: no mold, mildew or harmful substances)
  • Safe, working appliances

All the things you’d look for in an apartment for yourself are things to consider in an apartment for yourself and your child. You will want to show that you’ve considered your child’s safety and comfort by creating a designated bedroom, having gated areas if they are young and avoiding housing in dangerous areas, like along busy streets or highways. You should also avoid moving to areas that are known for crime, if possible.

Your living accommodations could affect your custody rights, so it is important that they are as good as possible. The standard for what is expected of you is based on your individual circumstances and your child’s needs.

A judge may also consider the impact of a significant change in the size of a home on the child. For instance, if your child’s other parent is moving into a large home similar to the one you owned together and you are downsizing into a small apartment, the judge will consider if your child will be able to adjust comfortably and have enough space to live well in that home. Overall, though, the judge just wants to make sure the child will be safe and comfortable while visiting, regardless of the size of the property.

Safety, health and security are the most important factors when you choose a home, so think carefully before renting or buying a new property. The decision you make could have an impact on your child custody arrangements, which is something to keep in mind.