When a married couple wishes to separate or divorce, their possessions
will be split during the divorce process. However, one of the most precious
possessions in nearly any divorce is custody of any children that have
been involved in that divorce. Child custody is often one of the most
hotly contested aspects of any separation, and one of the most difficult
decisions a family court must give.
The ultimate deciding factor in any child custody case can be boiled down
to one determination: the “best interests” of the child. The
best interests of the child involve a number of different aspects of their
livelihood, such as education, medical care, living conditions, parent
character and more. The relationship between the parents themselves can
even be a factor in which parent is ultimately given child custody.
The courts can consider a number of factors, including:
- Which parent will provide the most continued contact with the other regarding
- Which parent is more likely to foster a caring environment of love and
- Does either spouse have any history of domestic abuse?
- What is the character of the spouse requesting custody like? Do they have
a history of alcohol abuse? Do they have a stable job? Do they have any
- What will the home environment be for the requesting parent?
- Which parent can provide a more stable economic environment?
- Which parent does the child prefer to live with?
- In instance of multiple children, is it better to have them stay together
or split them up?
When parents can work together and cooperate on the growth and development
of their children, they may be able to request joint custody from their
judge. If granted, this essentially gives an equal share of parenting
decisions on important issues such as education, healthcare and more to
both parents, and creates provisions for allowing as close to equal visitation
time for both parents.
Of course, this must also be in the best interests of the children. Just
because two parents may agree to stay friendly after their divorce is
not always in the best interests of their children, particularly when
one parent relocates over a significant distance or has a major change
in lifestyle that will have a substantial negative impact on their ability
to perform their parental duties.
When parents cannot come to an agreement as to who will get custody of
their children in a divorce, their custody becomes contested and the court
will make the final decision. Once again, this too is based on the best
interests of the children. The court will use the factors listed earlier
to determine ultimately which parent shall be given custody, and then
assign a parenting plan, granting visitation to the non-custodial parent.
A final custody order is not necessarily final. Either party may request
a change in their original decree by filing a petition with the court
and paying a $50 fee to re-open their case.
When you are facing a divorce with children involved, it is extremely important
that you retain the services of an experienced Jonesboro family attorney
that can help you through the divorce process and fight on your behalf
for the best interest of you and your children. A skilled legal representative
will be familiar with the laws and codes surrounding child custody and
can stand up for your desires and needs in divorce negotiations.
If you need assistance with child custody negotiations or representation
in any form of family law matters, the experienced attorneys at
Ford & Cook, PLC may be able to help you. Our team has served the Jonesboro community for
30 years, and we work hard to protect the community by representing clients
when they need assistance with the laws of our society. We place the health,
safety, and well-being of your loved ones at the forefront of any legal
case we take, and we work hard to ensure the best interests of all parties
involved are looked after.
Call Ford & Cook, PLC at (870) 853-3621 to request an initial consultation
with our skilled Jonesboro family lawyers today.