Arkansan Divorce Custody
Earlier, Arkansas courts believed in tender year’s doctrine while dealing with divorce custody cases. According to this doctrine, mothers were to automatically get the custody of the child. Times and cultural values today have changed. Now, Arkansas divorce custody laws are very specific that the best interests of the child and his/her welfare get the top most priority. Based on this premise, child custody cases in Arkansas courts are settled. The guidelines which are followed while deciding child custody are as follows:
Child custody laws are to ensure that the best happens to the child despite of the divorce of his/her parents.
- Courts in Arkansas are not gender biased. Meaning, while settling divorce custody battles, judges do not prefer one parent over the other, just because that parent is a man or a woman and can be deduced to be a good parent simply because of his/her sex.
- Judges in Arkansas courts also try to determine parental preference of the child if he/she is considered mature enough to take such a decision. Here, the appropriate age above which the child is asked to decide on this matter is not clear. It is left at the discretion of the judge.
- Child custody is awarded to the parent who is more likely to allow the other parent interact well with the child. Courts dealing with Arkansas divorce custody cases know the significance of both the parents in the growing up of the child. Hence, the parent who is seen to be following the guidelines of good parenting has higher chances of getting the child custody.
- While handling Arkansas divorce custody cases, divorcing parents may be asked to participate in divorce custody mediation. Here, a custody mediator is asked to help the divorcing parents to formulate a parenting plan. This plan specifies the visitation schedules, elaborates on the visitation rights and hence, helps both the custodian and non-custodian parent to effectively raise their child even after a divorce. This mediator is a third party who is unbiased and neutral. His/her only aim is o see to it that the child is well taken care of and all his/her needs are met.
- Courts try to ensure that there is continued interaction of both the parents with their child. Though physical custody is awarded to only one parent (custodian parent), if the other parent called non-custodian parent is physically and mentally stable, then he/she may be awarded the joint custody of the child.
- The non-custodian parent gets the visitation rights to see the child and interact with him/her in weekends, holidays, vacations etc.
- Arkansas divorce custody laws follow a standard visitation schedule which both the parents are expected to follow. However, if there are special instances where, the custodian parent is not in Arkansas or has moved out of the country, then the visitation schedule id modified to suit the interests of the child and the ex-spouses. The parenting plan is laid out accordingly and the visitation schedule is formulated based on practicality.
- If any parent has a history of child abuse, child neglect, domestic violence etc, then Arkansas courts would not prefer shared custody and visitation rights may also be forfeited from that parent if he is /she is found to be a threat to the child.
- Child support is again an important issue that courts consider while dealing with divorce custody cases in Arkansas. In this state, the needs of the child are first assessed and then the capacity of the non-custodial parent is evaluated to arrive at a child support figure. Various source of income of the non-custodial parent is computed to determine how much child support should that parent supposed to give to the custodian parent.
- According to Arkansas laws, child support is till the child reaches the age of 18 years. In cases of any physical and mental disability due to which the child, despite reaching adulthood, is unable to earn a living, then also child support needs to be extended.