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Arkansas Visitation FAQs

Q:

Do my children’s grandparents have a right to visitation?

A:

Generally, parents have the legal right to decide who can see their children. When parents are married, grandparents typically do not have the ability to establish legal visitation rights. However, if you and your co-parent were never married, or are divorced or separated, the parents of your former partner might be able to petition the court for visitation with your child. This would also be the case if your co-parent died. To secure visitation, grandparents must demonstrate that they have a significant, viable relationship with their grandchild and that granting visitation would be in the child’s best interests.  

Q:

What if a noncustodial parent fails to exercise his or her designated parenting time with the child?

A:

Noncustodial parents should make every effort to abide by the parenting time schedule that has been set forth in their custody and visitation order. Of course, some unexpected events might occur that justify an occasional change, but both parents should work together to reschedule the visitation or compensate in some other way whenever possible. If intervening events have made it difficult for the parents to comply with the existing visitation terms, they should attempt to work out a revised order and submit it to the court. Making informal changes to visitation terms can lead to costly problems if a dispute arises.

Q:

Can a judge order supervised visitation or deny visitation altogether?

A:

Visitation is very important for parents who do not have physical custody. Ideally, the visits should give noncustodial parents time alone with their children so that they can catch up and maintain their strong bond. However, the judge sets custody and visitation arrangements based on what is in the child’s best interests, so if the judge believes that the youth might be in some danger due to the parent’s history of violence, neglect or substance abuse, the order might require supervised visitation. There are numerous providers of supervised visitation services that work to establish a positive, safe environment in these cases. In extreme circumstances, the court might deny visitation altogether.

Q:

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

A:

No. Child support is a vital legal and moral obligation. Many legal enforcement measures exist so that a noncustodial parent is compelled to pay what they owe. Preventing a father or mother from seeing their child is not one of them. Remember that denying visitation isn’t just a legal violation, but also punishes your son or daughter, along with your former partner. If you are not receiving the child support you are entitled to, you must continue to honor your co-parent’s visitation rights, but you should consult a lawyer promptly about securing the payments through other means.