Fort Smith, AR Child Custody Lawyer
It is rare to get married with the expectation that your marriage will end up in divorce. Unfortunately, an abundance of marriages in the United States result in divorce. If spouses share a child or multiple children, and they file for divorce, the question of child custody will undoubtedly come into play. If you need legal assistance in a child custody dispute, contact an experienced Fayetteville child custody lawyer.
At Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP, our firm is dedicated to providing you with the legal representation that you deserve. We understand the impact a divorce can have on a family, and we are here to alleviate the process. To schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your child custody case, contact Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP at (479) 439-9840, or contact us online.
Arkansas Child Custody Laws
Child custody refers to which parent will have rights to care for and raise children after a divorce. However, child custody issues can also arise when two parents were never married.
There are multiple types of child custody that the court could award a parent:
- Joint Physical and Legal Custody – Each parent has the right to spend equal time with the child and make important decisions on behalf of the child (i.e., healthcare, education)
- Joint Physical Custody – The parents are permitted to spend equal time with the child
- Joint Legal Custody – Each parent can make important decisions on behalf of the child
- Sole Legal and Physical Custody – One parent is responsible for all important decisions regarding the child, not obligated to permit visitation
If you and your spouse cannot decide the terms of child custody in the midst of a divorce, you will likely have to work with the family law court to resolve this matter. In earlier years, Arkansas courts would prefer to take the side of the mother regarding a number of issues pertaining to child custody. Now, instead of favoring the mother of a child, Arkansas examines the best interests of the children in addition to various other factors to determine the appropriate parent to have custody.
One factor the court may consider when awarding child custody is the child’s personal preference. If the child is old enough to communicate that they would like to live with a certain parent or split time between both parents, the court may heed the wishes of the child.
It is important to note that the court does not have to consider the child’s preferences during a custody hearing, but some judges will.
Financial Situation of Each Parent
The financial situation of a parent is an important factor when awarding custody of a child. For example, if a parent could not hold steady employment throughout the life of the marriage, this may be used to determine their suitability for child custody.
A parent’s living situation is also important in determining custody. If a parent resides in a home that is too small to accommodate a child, this could also be an issue. Additionally, if a parent resides with others that engage in illegal activity, this may also be used as a factor for custody.
Additionally, if a parent receives custody of a child and their former spouse is in a substantially better financial position than they are, the court may order the payment of child support. Child support payments will depend upon the income level of each spouse and the needs of the child.
Child Custody for Unmarried Parents
There are various couples that have a child out of wedlock. Arkansas employs different standards when determining custody for children with unmarried parents. In Arkansas, if the mother of a child is unmarried, legal custody of the child will automatically be given to the mother. The mother will retain custody of the child until they reach the age of 18.
Under certain circumstances, the court may award custody of the child to the biological father. This scenario typically occurs if the court believes that the mother is unfit to care for the child. The father could also present evidence to the court to show that the child would be better off in their custody than with their mother.
There are other issues that must be addressed when discussing child custody. Our firm can help you pursue custody of your child.
Our Fayetteville Child Custody Attorneys are Here for You
If you require legal aid to handle a child custody matter, consult with an experienced Fayetteville child custody attorney today. The family law attorneys at Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP possess decades of combined legal experience, and we will utilize this experience to help you pursue a desirable outcome to your child custody case. To schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your legal options, contact Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP at (479) 439-9840.