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How does an Arkansas judge determine child custody?

When deciding who should get custody, the law in Arkansas stipulates that each parent should be considered in the same way. That is to say, the court should never assume that a father does not want custody or give preferential treatment to a child's mother for no other reason than that she happens to be the mother. Instead, to determine who should get custody, the court will look at many different factors, including:-- Which parent demonstrates a level of love and affection that means he or she will care for the child properly-- The economic situation that both the mother and the father will find themselves in after the divorce-- Whether or not there is a history of aggression and abuse in the home, stemming from either parent-- The overall character of both parties, looking at their honesty and other such factors-- The home environment itself, specifically as that environment pertains to the health of the child-- What needs to be done to keep multiple children living under the same roof-- What the children want and have requested on their own

For each of these points, the court is going to come at things from the point of view of the child, attempting to determine what falls in line with that child's best interests. While most of these things are not deal-breakers on their own -- save, perhaps, for a dangerous home and a history of abuse -- the court will not always give them each the same importance.

As you fight for custody of your children, be sure you know what the court looks at to give yourself the best possible case.

Source: Arkansas Legal Services Partnership, "Child Custody and Visitation," accessed April. 29, 2015

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