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The role of the primary caretaker

The title of "primary caretaker" could become incredibly important in your divorce in Arkansas, so it's important to know exactly what this means and how it is used during the proceedings. Specifically, this is a term that relates to the child custody decision-making process.

Psychologists have determined that the person who takes care of a child often has a stronger bond with that child than the other parent. There are exceptions, of course, but this is a generally accepted idea. In turn, they have also determined that the child's developmental process is strongly impacted by the way he or she bonds with this person and the time they spend together.

Therefore, in cases where parents can't agree on custody rights, the court may consider who was the primary caretaker when they were married and then give custody to that person. This is by no means the only thing considered, but it's taken into account.

For example, if a mother has a full-time job and has to travel a lot for business trips, while the father stays home and takes care of the child, it can become clear through this division of both time and labor that the father is the primary caretaker. Another strong indicator is if one spouse doesn't have a career at all, but decided to drop out of the workforce in order to focus on raising the family.

Many times, parents really do split the duties and so joint custody makes the most sense. However, the divide is very clear in other families, and so the court will try to determine if that's the case and who the child has bonded with, so as not to break that bond.

Source: FIndLaw, "Preference for the "Primary Caretaker"," accessed Oct. 01, 2015

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