Separating from a spouse or partner can be a very difficult transition in many people’s lives. Often the most difficult decision a couple makes when separating is how to split custody of their children. When determining child custody in Arkansas, a judge will make the final decision about how to award child custody based on the best interest of the child or children.
In determining what the best interest of the child or children would be, the judge has the discretion to look at various factors that he or she thinks are important. Some of these factors include:
- The child’s preference
- Work schedules of parents
- Financial stability of parents
- History of drug or alcohol abuse.
Though this list is not exhaustive, some of these determinations will be important for the judge to consider when awarding custody of children.
While in most cases either parent would ideally like to have full custody of their child or children, in Arkansas joint custody is usually favored. It is important to note, however, that there are two types of joint custody: joint legal custody and joint physical custody.
Joint Legal Custody
Under joint legal custody, both parents have authority to make important decisions on behalf of the child. Matters such as what school district the child attends and medical treatments must be discussed and agreed to by both parents on behalf of the children. This approach is common in Arkansas.
Joint Physical Custody
Distinctly, joint physical custody allows both parents roughly equal time with the child. Ideally, parents would agree on a schedule that would split the time they spend with their children in about even proportions. Since 2013, this approach has been favored by the courts in Arkansas and it is probable that judges will be more inclined to grant this type of custody. Courts prefer both parents present in their children’s lives; however, a judge must be persuaded that the parties are willing to work together in sharing custody of the children.
It is essential to consult with an attorney to make sure you have all the tools required to get a fair outcome in determining a child-custody agreement. Whether you are interested in joint custody or full custody of your children, obtaining the help of an experienced family law attorney will help you understand your options and clarify any questions you may have during the course of a custody agreement. The experienced attorneys at the Joyce Law Firm can help you with this vital process and will work diligently to fight for your interests. Please call our office to set up a FREE INITIAL consultation for your divorce or custody case.
Check our FAMILY LAW page for more information.