Child Custody Laws in Arkansas

Arkansas law regarding child custody is an ever evolving and sometimes confusing concept so we thought we would break it down for you.

What is Child Custody?

Child custody is generally the legal obligation or authority to care, nurture, and protect a child. Child custody may refer to physical custody, in which the parent shelters and supervises the child, or it may be legal custody, which refers to decision making for the minor child.

In a divorce or paternity action, a judge will make the decision about both legal and physical custody based on the best interest of the child(ren). There are numerous factors judges considered when determining what is in the best interest of a minor child and each situation is different.

Legal Custody

Parents may be awarded joint legal custody, or one parent may be awarded sole legal custody.

When parents are awarded joint legal custody, the parents have joint decision-making authority for the minor child. The purest form of joint legal custody is when the parents must agree on all decisions regarding the minor child. Obviously, this requires a great deal of cooperation between the parents and sometimes judges in Arkansas find that this may not work for the parents and require that the parents consult and attempt to make joint decisions but give one parent the final decision-making authority.

Alternatively, sole legal custody gives one parent total decision making authority to the exclusion of the other parent.

Physical Custody

Similarly, parents may be awarded joint physical custody, or one parent may be awarded primary physical custody with the other parent receiving visitation with the child. In Arkansas, joint physical custody is presumed to be in the best interest of a minor child with both parents having the approximately the same amount of time with the minor child. That does not mean parents will always be awarded joint physical but judges

For more information on child custody in Arkansas please Contact Us!


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