Going through a divorce is tough enough on its own, and having to navigate child custody can make it even more complicated. With a multitude of factors being taken into consideration finding the information you need for a successful case can be difficult. Below you will find a comprehensive guide to child custody to gain the information you need to better understand the process.
Types of Child Custody
There are four main types of child custody to consider when deciding what’s best for you, your spouse, and your child(ren).
- Joint physical and legal custody: Where both parents have the right to make decisions on the behalf of the child. These types of decisions include where the child will go to school, non-emergency medical needs, religious life, extracurricular activities, among others.
- Joint physical custody: This simply means that the child will spend an equal amount of time with both parents.
- Joint legal custody: Where both parents have the authority to make important decisions on behalf of the child.
- Sole custody: Where only one parent is given the right to make important decisions on behalf of the child.
How A Judge Determines Custody
When parents are unable to agree on custody terms, the duty falls to a judge to make the decisions. Here are some factors that judges consider when deciding what is best for the child:
- The financial stability of both parents
- The mental and physical health of both parents
- The physical and mental health of the child
- The child’s relationship with siblings and other extended family members
Once a judge examines all of these factors, they are able to order parents to share both or either legal/physical custody of the child. There is also the possibility that a judge may order sole custody of a child be given to one parent in cases where abuse, domestic violence, or abandonment are found.
The state of Arkansas, however, prefers that couples enter a joint custody agreement to provide the best chance for their child to have a normal upbringing.
Changes Due to Relocation
Courts usually will not modify a custody agreement simply because one parent decides to relocate. In fact, most courts will not modify a custody agreement unless there has been a marital change or a certain period of time has elapsed.
Even though one parent’s relocation may merit significant change, it doesn’t always create a material change in circumstances. A custody modification may be made, however, if the relocation of the custodial parent will come to the detriment of the child. In cases such as these, one parent may be given sole physical custody if the other parent still decides to move.
In Arkansas, if an unmarried woman was to have a child, legal custody would be given to her until the child turns eighteen. If the mother is deemed to be unfit to hold custody, Arkansas child custody laws allow courts to grant custody to another individual, typically the biological father. The father would then have to prove to the court that he is able to care for the child physically and financially, as well as if it is in the best interest of the child.
Contact Our Arkansas Child Custody Team Today
Understanding child custody laws can be stressful and overwhelming for parents that are already trying to weather a divorce. We are committed to providing compassionate and personalized services and make sure you have the legal representation you need to succeed.
If you would like to discuss your family’s case, do not hesitate to contact us today through our website or give us a call at (479) 888-2039 to schedule a free consultation!