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If you have been served with divorce paperwork and child custody is in dispute, you may be experiencing fear and uncertainty about how much time you will be able to spend with your children after the divorce is finalized.
You may wonder what to do if your spouse refuses to work with you or reach any agreement about raising your children together. Consulting a family law attorney right away can help you navigate a contested child custody case successfully.
The most important concern to any judge in a divorce case where child custody is a contested issue is the “best interests of the child.” This means that regardless of what either parent wants regarding child custody, a court will look beyond that to consider what is best for a child.
Courts may consider many types of evidence when making a custody determination, including witness testimony, testimony from experts such as psychologists, doctors, and other professionals, photographs, and documentary evidence like school and medical records.
Courts may award “joint custody” to both parents which means that a child will spend approximately equal parenting time with each parent, or a court may order one parent to have “primary” or “sole” custody. A parent who is awarded primary custody will be responsible for the primary duties of raising a minor child most of the time, and the other parent will be awarded reasonable visitation with the child.
Primary custody may mean either primary legal custody or primary physical custody. Primary legal custody means that a parent is responsible for making most of the decisions regarding a minor child's welfare, such as where the child will attend school and receive medical care. Primary physical custody means that a child will spend most of their time with the parent awarded primary custody. A parent may be awarded one or both.
If you are able to communicate well with the other parent of your child, it is worthwhile to consider coming to an agreement regarding a visitation schedule. This can allow you to best plan around your work schedule and the schedules of any of your children's extracurricular activities.
Many courts in Arkansas have standard visitation schedules that may be implemented if the parties cannot agree on a schedule. A standard visitation schedule typically allows the non-custodial parent to spend approximately every other weekend and holiday with a minor child until the child reaches adulthood.
A court may revisit a prior order regarding child custody if there is evidence of a “material changed circumstance.” A material changed circumstance may include the following:
These are only a few of the many examples that could be considered a material changed circumstance warranting a modification of a prior child custody order in Arkansas. If you think that a situation has occurred that could affect your children since the entry of the last order, contact an attorney right away.
Do you have questions about a child custody case in Arkansas? Contact an experienced family law attorney by filling out our online form or call (501) 725-1100. If you have been served with paperwork in a divorce or child custody case, it is important to act right away.
Avery Law Office
300 S. Spring St. Suite 1015 Little Rock, AR 72201
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