Parents take their responsibilities very seriously. This can lead to intense child custody battles when parents choose to divorce. However, parents are not the only people who take a vested interest in a child’s life. Oftentimes the child’s grandparents are also interested in having a relationship with the child.
Under Arkansas law, grandparents may have the right to file for custody. In certain situations, grandparents may want to play a more active role in the child’s life. Typically, parents have the right to decide who can have a relationship with their children. In certain circumstances, however, grandparents can petition for a more permanent role. According to Arkansas family law, grandparents can file for custody of a child custody petition for custody of a grandchild if certain conditions are met.
First, a grandchild must have resided with the grandparent for one continuous year. This applies regardless of the child’s age. Next, the grandparent must have been the child’s primary caregiver during this time. This means the grandparent was responsible for the physical care of the child and was the main financial supporter of the child. Finally, the grandparent must have filed for custody over the child within one year of the time when the child was living with that grandparent.
If these conditions are met, the court will make a custody determination in the best interest of the child. This decision is to be made regardless of the grandparent’s gender. Additionally, the court will take into consideration the custody rights of the child’s parents.
Grandparents throughout Arkansas should understand when they have a legal right to seek custody of their their grandchildren. If a grandparent has been the sole provider for a grandchild, legal protections might be in place so that the relationship can be nurtured.