For many years, the tender years doctrine guided Arkansas family court decisions regarding child custody. This doctrine enforced the belief that after a divorce or separation, a child’s best interests could only be protected and represented by the child’s mother. However, fathers’ rights are now being pressed and family courts are increasingly analyzing the best interests of the child with respect to both parents before deciding custody.
For child custody and child support issues, paternity plays a very important role. Any parent wanting to understand how to acknowledge or deny paternity in Arkansas may visit our legal blog for detailed information on the subject. However, further clarification and additional information usually requires a face-to-face meeting with one of our firm’s attorneys.
In order to understand the process of establishing voluntary paternity in Arkansas, a father needs to file a petition acknowledging paternity of the child. A mother looking at establishing paternity must file a legal action in court to obtain an order for a DNA test in order to establish parentage of the child.
When dealing with paternity-related issues, it is also important to understand the various terms and phrases that are used by the courts, of which “putative father” is one example. According to the legal definition, a putative father is a man who may not be the biological father of a child, but one either claiming to be the father or alleged to be the father of the child in question.
In addition to these complexities, paternity actions, irrespective of who initiates them, can have long-lasting effects. At the same time, a pending paternity action can see the well-being of a child hanging in the balance.