Assisting Arkansas Families With Child Custody Issues
Parents want the best for their children, so when it comes to child custody disputes under Arkansas law it is no wonder that they often feel overwhelmed. At Robertson, Oswalt, Nony & Associates, in Little Rock, we know that family court can sometimes feel unpredictable or even unfair. Our clients can have confidence about things that are under our control. We promise you aggressive dedication to your best interests, thorough preparation of your case, clear and consistent communication, and creative problem solving.
Arkansas courts make child custody decisions based upon the “best interests of the child.” AR Code § 9-131-101. Under recently enacted law, there is a rebuttable presumption that joint custody is in the best interests of the child. Joint custody gives both parents the authority or input to make decisions about how the child is raised. Often, in a joint custody arrangement, one parent has primary physical custody and the other, noncustodial parent has visitation rights.
We Take Aggressive Action
Knowing our court system, we take a balanced approach to child custody law: our child custody attorneys take aggressive action and fight for our clients’ rights to see their children, but we also encourage them to be smart, thinking in the long term about the decisions they make. We can also help you petition for a modification when circumstances change or an agreement is not being adhered to and the court should intervene to help.
Although Arkansas courts make child custody decisions without regard to the sex of the parent, they do consider the roles that parents have in their children’s lives, like the breadwinner providing financial support or the caretaker at home.
Other child custody issues we handle include:
- Protecting the rights of fathers
- Assisting parents who are accused of child neglect
- Parents who wish to move out of town or out of state
- Alienation of a parent by the other
- Co-parenting and visitation rights and schedules
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE CHANGE IN ARKANSAS’S CHILD CUSTODY LAW
The Arkansas legislature recently passed a new law concerning child custody arrangements. If you or someone you know has an impending divorce, and you have minor children, it’s a good idea to understand exactly what this new law entails, and how it will affect the court’s determination of your child custody arrangement.
WHAT THE NEW LAW DOES
This new joint custody law, known as Act 604 in the legislature, went into effect in July of 2021. Under the new law, joint custody is now the default custody arrangement for all child custody orders.
If one or both parents want a different arrangement – such as sole custody – they now have a higher standard to meet. Namely, they need to establish, through clear and convincing evidence, that joint custody is not in the best interest of the child.
Clear and convincing evidence is one of the law’s strictest standards, and it can be difficult to meet that standard in court. An example of a situation where the court likely wouldn’t order joint custody is if one spouse can show through clear evidence that the other is abusive or dangerous.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR PARENTS
When parents have joint custody, they share equal time with the child. They must follow a visitation schedule that allows as close to equal time as is possible in their situation. Typically, this means alternating weeks with the child.
They also have joint decision-making authority for all essential educational, medical, legal and other decisions. Both parents must work together to make these decisions, rather than one party having the exclusive authority.
It is still possible that the court will award one spouse a spousal support award, even if the ex-spouses have joint custody of the children. This is because spousal support is determined based on the spouses’ respective earning capacity, not on custody of the children.
Negotiating and litigating over child custody is often the most contentious part of divorce proceedings. By making joint custody the assumed standard, the Arkansas legislature has greatly simplified the process and ensured that, in most cases, the child will have equal access to both of their parents.
Fighting For Your Family
Contact Robertson, Oswalt, Nony & Associates, by calling 501-588-4451 or 866-311-3815 to talk with an experienced and knowledgeable family law attorney about your child custody concerns during an initial consultation. You may also contact us by email. We can help you understand the new child custody law and advise you on the impact it may have in your situation.
Our firm fights hard for your rights and the best interests of your children. We know how hard child custody fights can be, so we make sure that families make decisions that will work for them and their children, now and in the future. From our office in Little Rock, we are proud to help clients throughout Central Arkansas.