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Little Rock Family Law Blog

Why Arkansas grandparents may not be able to adopt grandkids

If Arkansas children have ended up in foster care, as more than 4,600 currently are, because their parents are no longer around or unable to care for them, it may seem obvious that state agencies would reach out to other family members, such as grandparents who are able and willing to give them a good home, and that judges would allow that. However, some Arkansas grandparents are frustrated with the difficulties they are encountering getting that chance.

In some cases, a bad relationship with one or both of the child's parents may be behind a decision not to allow grandparents to adopt or even foster their grandchildren. The fact that many of these grandparents and other family members who would like to take the children are on fixed incomes and in often below the poverty level may be an issue as well. Representatives with the Arkansas Department of Human Services, however, acknowledge that the foster care system is overwhelmed with children.

Showing that visitation is in a child's best interests

When making custody and visitation decisions in Arkansas, the court has one basic focus that is applied to every case: What is in the child's best interests?

Parents often get to court thinking about their own desires and what they'd like to get out of the arrangement. While the court will certainly listen to what you want, your happiness is not the overall goal. Above all else, the court wants to make sure that the child is safe and happy.

Should you try to keep emotions out of a divorce?

If you're going through divorce, you know how hard it can be to keep from feeling emotional. This is true in almost all divorces—whether you asked for the split, your spouse did, or you both agree it's for the best. It's still a huge change and you could feel a wide range of emotions as things play out.

While this is only natural, experts do say it's best not to make emotional decisions as much as possible. You need to make calm, rational decisions that focus on what is best for your future—and for your children, if you have them. Decisions should not be made out of anger, spite, or sorrow.

Key things to do when going through a child custody battle

In an ideal world, child custody would be easy to decide and you and your ex would agree on everything. If you're going through a child custody battle in Arkansas, though, you know that it can be far less than ideal. Below are a few things that can help.

1. Always be honest.

Divorce timing can be important, especially with a prenup

The day that you and your spouse decide to file for divorce can be quite important as it pertains to the length of your marriage. This is especially true if you have a prenuptial agreement.

To learn how this works, take a look at a high-profile celebrity divorce. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner decided to split up. However, this wasn't something that came out of the blue over the summer. The two had stopped living together; basically, they were no longer spending time as a married couple, even though they still had to take care of the official side of things.

Parents of Amy King, cousin of the TV star Duggars, to divorce

Amy King used to appear on a reality TV show called "19 Kids and Counting." The show has since been cancelled amid a lot of controversy, and now her parents are splitting up. They had been married for nine years.

King is the cousin of two of the main stars of the show, Jessa Seewald and Jill Dillard. Both were Duggars before getting married and changing their names, as was King. Though not as big of a name as them, King had been on the show, and she recently spoke about the coming divorce.

4 huge divorce questions

The most common question people ask about divorce is what the cost is going to be. While this is a logical question, every case is different, so there's no standard answer. Below are four other common questions that are a bit easier to answer outright—though there are still differences from case to case. Be sure you understand the answers to these and any other legal questions you have in Arkansas.

1. How long should the divorce process take?

We help work through complex divorce cases

In an ideal world, you wouldn't have a complex divorce. You'd just take what was yours, your spouse would take what he or she owned, you'd shake hands, and you'd go your separate ways.

In the real world, of course, things are almost never this simple. Just determining who actually owns what property can be incredibly complex. Is the car yours because you've been driving it every day for the last five years, or does it belong to your spouse because his or her name is on the paperwork? Does the home the two of you got in your parents' will belong to you since it was initially in your family, or do you both have a claim to it now as your family's home?

Custody papers are needed when parents don't agree

A woman recently wrote about her child custody situation, saying that it helped to ignore the custody agreement and focus on her daughter. The article gained a lot of traction as a way to show that custody agreements aren't needed, but reading between the lines showed that it also told the opposite tale.

The way that the woman and her ex got by without using the agreement is that the were willing to compromise. Here are two examples that she used:

It's best if fathers stay nearby after a divorce

If you and your spouse get divorced, you may be tempted to move far away. This could be due to anger and resentment that you feel for your spouse, or you could just be looking for a way to start over. However, if you have children, experts say that it's actually best if you stay close to them in Arkansas.

A study confirming this was done at Arizona State University. It was then printed in the Journal of Family Psychology. The goal of the study was to combat the idea that children don't experience any negative impact after a divorce if they're only involved with one parent. The study says that they really do need both parents in order to grow up and develop in a healthy manner.

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