Child Custody and Visitation Rights in Divorce Cases
Child custody can be one of the most stressful aspects of a divorce case. Obviously, everyone involved wants their child to be happy and healthy despite changes occurring within the family.
The problem is that not everyone has the same vision of what “healthy and happy” looks like for their children. This can result in some contentious disagreements between parents, making divorce proceedings more complicated than they necessarily need to be.
Fortunately, having a good understanding of child custody laws in the state of Arkansas can give you the knowledge to prepare for upcoming divorce proceedings, or even to renegotiate your current custody arrangements.
How does child custody work in Arkansas?
To fully understand how child custody works in Arkansas, you need to know the basics.
First, there are two types of custody: physical and legal.
For a parent or guardian who has sole physical custody of a child, that means the child lives with them. That parent or guardian is responsible for the child’s daily needs– food, water, shelter, safety, education, etc.
Legal custody, on the other hand, means that the parent or guardian has the right to make important decisions in the child’s life. Non-custodial parents (that is, parents who the child does not live with) can still have legal custody.
A good example of how legal custody comes into play is if a child needs important health care. If both parents have legal custody, they have to decide together on how to seek the necessary care.
Parents can also hold joint custody of the child– which means that the child might split their time between the parents’ households. Joint legal custody means that parents both make important decisions in the child’s life.
How does custody work within divorce cases?
It’s always the easiest and most helpful course of action if the parents have agreed beforehand about how they’d like custody arrangements to work after they’ve obtained a divorce.
If the parents have not agreed ahead of time about what they’d like the custody arrangements to look like, they will be determined by the courts.
Custody arrangements determined by a judge in court are always based on the best interests of the child.
When making the determination about custody arrangements, a judge will consider several factors– namely, the stability of each parent and their ability to provide a safe, nurturing home environment for the child. They’ll also consider the physical and mental health of each parent.
For example, if one parent is dealing with serious medical issues that take up a lot of time and energy for treatment, that parent might not be the best fit for sole physical custody or even joint physical custody.
Can custody arrangements be renegotiated after the initial ruling?
In the event of certain marital or life changes, parents or guardians can petition for custody renegotiation. This might come about if the parents have joint custody of the child, but one parent wishes to move out of state or some distance away that would affect the existing shared physical custody arrangements.
How can I prepare for a child custody hearing?
Because child custody is so incredibly important– the wellbeing of your child comes before any division of property or assets– it’s best to go into the negotiation fully prepared and with a good understanding of how it all works.
Working with an experienced attorney who knows the ins and outs of child custody in Arkansas will also be extremely beneficial for your case. At Digby Law Firm, our lawyers are fully prepared to fight in court and help you ensure the health and happiness of your child.
If you have questions or would like to schedule a consultation, please give us a call or schedule via our website. We’re here to help during what is most likely a stressful process for you and your family.
What Should I Expect When Working with a Child Custody Lawyer?
If you and your ex can come to an agreement outside of court, the process will be less expensive, shorter, and less emotionally damaging for everyone involved. But if you do end up in court, the judge’s job is to decide which parent is more willing and able to care for the child(ren) – and that’s who will be given primary custody. If you wish it, and if you’re both deemed equally able, you may be granted shared custody. A badass child custody lawyer will make sure that the outcome is fair and that the proceedings don’t get out of hand.
The length of time your case takes, visitation concerns and whether or not you qualify for child support vary from case to case. So be sure to ask your lawyer about anything you have concerns about.
In fact, a truly bad-ass child custody lawyer will welcome any and all questions. We want to make sure that you feel as comfortable and confident as possible – so here are a few to help you get started:
- How many years have you been practicing?
- What is your experience with cases like mine?
- What is the most difficult part of my case?
- What is the process for handling this case?
- Will you handle my custody case, or will another attorney at the firm be handling it?
- How will you keep me informed throughout the process?
- Can I have a written copy of the fee agreement?
- Do you spend at least 90% of your time on family law/child custody cases?
- How much will the legal representation cost?
- Will I receive copies of all the documents pertaining to my case?
- Will my calls be returned promptly?
A good lawyer will be able to answer all of these questions, and any others that you might have, clearly and in a way that makes you feel heard and comfortable.
If you’re looking for a badass child custody lawyer in Arkansas, look no further! Just contact the Digby Law Firm and schedule your free consultation today.
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