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What do child custody disputes involve in Arkansas?

A slight complication can turn a child custody issue into a dispute that might ultimately have to be settled by a court. In particular, the linked issues of child custody and support often come up before a judge presiding over a divorce. While this is usually a tussle between the parents, it can involve grandparents as well.

A custody battle may also require establishing the paternity of the child to determine who, apart from the mother, might stake a claim for custody of the child. Although only one parent might seek to retain child custody, the divorce court’s primary goal is to pursue an arrangement that is in the best interests of the child. For example, it may be necessary to keep the child in a certain environment even when other sources of support are available.

Even after custody has been awarded, the court may prefer that the other parent be allowed to visit the child only in the presence of other relatives, such as the grandparents. Per Arkansas law, the parents can set up the visitation schedule on their own accord without court supervision, including such details as place and time. However, if there are reasons to believe that, for the sake of the child, the presence of a third person might be helpful, the court can stipulate that condition.

While courts can enforce many decisions relating to child custody, they have no control over the emotional aspects of parenthood. Pulaski, Arkansas, residents may have heard of parents who, after being given custody, decide to relocate despite court orders requiring them to remain in the same state and thus ensure that the child’s upbringing is uninterrupted. Thus, it is ideal that the parents themselves come to an arrangement rather than the court imposing an order upon them.

Source:, “Child Custody and Visitation”, LaVona Traywick, accessed Sept. 25, 2014

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