Visitation is essential to not only the child but to the parent as well. If you are facing family court regarding a child visitation issue, it is important to build the most robust case possible to ensure that there is continued contact through child visitation.
In this guide to child visitation rights in Arkansas, our family law attorneys will help you answer the following questions:
- How does Arkansas define child visitation?
- What types of child visitation does Arkansas allow?
- What if parents cannot work together?
- What is standard visitation?
- How do Arkansas courts make child visitation decisions?
- What does “in the best interest of the child” mean?
- How can a lawyer help me get child visitation rights?
You should always seek legal advice from a family law attorney if you need personalized information. However, the guide offered below will help you get a good start regarding the laws surrounding child visitation decisions in Arkansas.
How Does Arkansas Define Child Visitation?
In Arkansas, child visitation is the right of the non-custodial parent to spend time with their child. Since Arkansas courts automatically assume that visitation is in the child’s best interest, judges will typically grant visitation to non-custodial parents. However, judges can also deny child visitation if they decide it is not in the child’s best interest.
Parents who are denied primary custody may receive visitation rights to continue the relationship with the child. The laws are less evident regarding extended family members, but courts grant visitation to them under certain circumstances. However, these decisions are routinely challenged.
What Types of Child Visitation Does Arkansas Allow?
Courts are willing to grant the custodial and non-custodial parent liberal visitation rights if they can work together amicably. Liberal visitation rights are ideal for maximum flexibility. Parents can collectively decide on a visitation schedule, location, and length.
Receiving liberal visitation rights requires you to demonstrate that both parents may cooperate with each other. In general, a family court judge in Arkansas is likely to award visitation rights if the child will suffer in your absence.
What if Parents Cannot Work Together?
If the parents are unable to reach a satisfactory agreement on their own, a judge will decide on an appropriate visitation schedule in the final custody and visitation order. Some judges follow visitation guidelines known as standard visitation.
What is Standard Visitation?
Standard visitation in Arkansas is a set of guidelines that judges may use to make visitation decisions. These decisions are generally what most people think of when it comes to child visitation. There is usually a set schedule that alternates holidays and weekends so that both parents and the child have equal enjoyment of child visitation.
How Do Arkansas Courts Make Child Visitation Decisions?
The primary standard by which Arkansas family courts abide is to make decisions that are in the child’s best interest. This standard will be used when making critical judgments related to child custody, visitation, and support. If a decision is not in the child’s best interest, a judge will not make it.
What Does “In the Best Interest of the Child” Mean?
Family court judges have a tremendous amount of flexibility to establish visitation agreements. It is essential to consider numerous factors when formally determining how child visitation will be handled by both parents.
When it comes to legally defining the best interests of the child in Arkansas, judges will consider if:
- One parent is more likely to encourage contact
- The child is mature enough to express a preference
- A history of domestic violence or abuse exists on record
- A history of sexual abuse or assault exists on record
- A parent is a registered sex offender
- A parent may expose a child to a sex offender
- There are siblings involved
In addition to the above scenarios, judges also have significant discretion when it comes to a parent’s character. This means they may consider other factors, including:
- Ability to provide a safe, clean home
- Ability to provide economic and material support
- Criminal history
It is incredibly stressful to attend family court, and the pressure that parents face when attending court can leave families vulnerable to individual judge opinions. Having an Arkansas family law attorney on your side can help ensure that you receive every fair opportunity to see your child or children.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me Get Child Visitation Rights?
A lawyer can help you get child visitation rights by representing your case in family court. The judge ultimately hands down the decision, but a child visitation attorney in Arkansas can present your case before the court. Not only can attorneys help you in court, but they can also provide you with legal support in other areas of the child visitation rights process.
An Arkansas family law attorney can also help you:
- Negotiate custody agreements and visitation schedules
- Handle cases that are in mediation
- Request modifications of current visitation orders
- Mitigate interferences with your visitation rights
- Help grandparents and other parties seek visitation
The family law attorneys at Milligan Law Offices have extensive training and experience in the area of Arkansas child visitation cases. Establishing child visitation rights in Arkansas is unsettling for many parents, but a skilled legal representative by your side can make a world of difference while asserting your rights.
Get an Initial Consultation Today
If you need help establishing child visitation rights in Arkansas, get in touch with Milligan Law Offices today. Schedule an initial consultation now by calling (479) 783-2213 or by messaging us online.