When you’re a parent who is filing for a divorce in an Arkansas court, you no doubt have multiple concerns regarding issues that will need to be resolved in order to achieve a fair settlement and provide for your children’s needs. If you and your ex get along well, you might be able to negotiate your own terms of agreement. It’s not uncommon, however, especially in cases where a set of parents have a contentious relationship, for the court to intervene and make child custody decisions.
The court addresses numerous matters during child custody proceedings. Such issues include decisions regarding physical custody, legal custody, child support and more. Physical custody refers to your children’s permanent residence whereas legal custody refers to authority to make decisions on behalf of a child regarding healthcare, education, faith and other important life issues. In certain circumstances, you might determine a need to request sole custody of your children.
You must convince the court that sole custody would be best
When you ask the court to grant you sole custody of your children in a divorce, the judge overseeing your case must be convinced that there is a legitimate reason to grant your request. The judge has your children’s best interests in mind when making custody decisions. Therefore, he or she must be convinced that granting you sole custody would be best for their safety and well-being.
There are numerous reasons why a concerned parent might request sole physical and legal custody of his or her children in a divorce. Such reasons include having evidence that the other parent is unfit, either because of mental illness, substance abuse issues or a history of child neglect or domestic violence. If your co-parent is in jail, this would also constitute a legitimate reason for requesting sole custody.
The court may modify its orders at any time
You might be granted sole custody of your children in an Arkansas divorce and later determine that a shared custody arrangement would be more appropriate. Perhaps your ex will have gone through a substance abuse rehabilitation program or anger management classes, etc., demonstrating that he or she is no longer a detriment to your children’s well-being.
If you do not request joint custody, you might be open to the court granting the non-custodial parent supervised visitation or unsupervised visits, if there is no reason to be concerned about your children’s safety. No matter what the terms of your current custody order are, if you determine a need to modify the agreement, you can file a petition to request a change. It’s important to remember, however, that, unless and until the court modifies its orders, the initial terms of agreement remain legally enforceable.