There are many things to consider when entering into a child custody case. The court first considers the child’s best interest in determining whether to award sole physical custody of the child or children to one parent or to award joint custody to both parents. In addition to the child(ren)’s wishes, factors that play a part in the determination including, but are not limited to:
- Parents’ wishes;
- Parents’ ability to communicate with each other;
- Whether or not there are siblings;
- Parents’ physical and mental health, which includes any domestic violence issues;
- Which parent would be more open to allow meaningful, frequent, and continuous contact with the other parent.
Sole Custody vs. Joint Custody
The decision to award either sole custody or joint custody involves a number of factors. To be awarded sole physical and legal custody, one party must overcome the presumption of law that leans in favor of joint custody. There are various ways to approach overcoming the presumption and numerous factors to consider.
In joint legal custody, the parents make joint decisions about the children’s welfare and upbringing. Generally, Arkansas courts favor an award of joint legal custody, but there are exceptions. Example of exceptions are abuse, neglect, and abandonment.
Regardless of whether sole or joint custody is granted, a decree or final order should lay out a detailed plan for visitation or time-sharing for minor children, as well as whether the parents will share legal custody. Additionally, a well-planned decree or final order will outline each party’s care and expense obligations to the children. Find out more about child support here.
Child custody is a multifaceted issue that requires a skilled attorney to navigate the many legal nuances of a case. Contact Destiny Law Firm to schedule a one-hour consultation with our attorneys.