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Arkansas Fathers' Rights FAQ

Q:

As a father, how can I obtain primary custody of my child?

A:

There is no formula one can follow to win primary physical custody of their son or daughter. Courts apply the “best interests of the child” standard, which is based on the individual circumstances in each case. Should you believe that your child will be better off spending most of their time living in your home, we will review the circumstances and develop a comprehensive argument as to why granting you primary physical custody is the best way to provide your child a safe, healthy environment that meets their needs.

Q:

How can a father get emergency custody of his child?

A:

Obtaining emergency custody of a child is a severe measure that is only available if the youth’s health or well-being is in immediate danger or if there is evidence that the other parent is about to take the child out of state in violation of the existing custody order. If you believe that urgent action is required, we can bring a motion to the court seeking relief on a temporary basis until the merits of the case can be fully considered.

Q:

Do courts favor the mother when determining custody of the child?

A:

Under Arkansas law, there is no preference for either mothers or fathers. Should parents fail to reach a consensus on child custody terms, the court decides what is in the child’s best interests. Depending on the circumstances in your case, some of the factors commonly used by judges might favor one parent over the other. For example, if one parent stays home and takes care of most of the child-rearing responsibilities, that parent might be more likely to receive primary physical custody.

Q:

Can I withhold child support if my ex doesn’t follow our custody order?

A:

No. If you are required to pay child support to the mother of your son or daughter, you must do so or face potentially severe legal consequences. Violations of custody orders are serious transgressions as well, however, and you should take appropriate actions to enforce your rights as a father. Our firm advocates for men who are not being given the ability to participate in their child’s life through effective communication and, if necessary, can petition the court for enforcement of the custody order. In cases involving repeated or outrageous violations, a judge might revise the legal parenting arrangements to promote compliance.

Q:

What if my former wife tries to move my children out of the state?

A:

When a material change occurs, such as a job relocation or family medical crisis, parents with primary physical custody are usually permitted to move their children out of state unless the objecting parent shows that doing so would harm their son or daughter. Simply noting that visitation will be more inconvenient for you likely won’t stop the relocation. If your former wife has informed you that she intends to leave Arkansas with your child, you should speak with a family lawyer promptly if you are considering going to court in order to prevent the move.