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Arkansas Child Custody Laws

Physical and legal child custody is regulated by state laws, all of which conform to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). The sole purpose of the UCCJEA is to ensure that states honor the child custody orders of other states, in order to prevent parental abduction or other custody problems. Additionally, all states provide the option of visitation for eligible non-custodial parents, while many allow grandparent visitation as well. Virtually all states use the child's own best interests as the main goal of any custody order.

Child Custody Laws in Arkansas at a Glance

Arkansas courts allow physical and legal custody (or both) of children, based on a number of determining factors and are often bound by custody relocation laws. A custody order may be changed ("modification of child custody") if it would be in the child's best interests or for a "material change in circumstances," such as one parent being deployed for military service.

Arkansas family court judges have quite a bit of authority to make child custody decisions, and will consider the following factors:

  • Child's preference
  • Each parent's home environment
  • Work schedules of parents
  • Relationship of the parents
  • History of drug or alcohol abuse

You can find additional details about Arkansas child custody laws in the chart below. See FindLaw's extensive Child Custody section for more articles and resources.

Code Section 9-13-101, et seq.
Year Uniform Child Custody Act Adopted 1979
Types of Custody Available
  • Joint physical and legal custody - Both parents have authority to make decisions on behalf of the child; the child spends roughly equal time with each parent
  • Joint physical custody - Child spends equal time with each parent
  • Joint legal custody - Both parents have authority to make important decisions on behalf of the child
  • Sole legal and physical custody - One parent
  • Third-party custody - State becomes custodian of child (foster care, adoption, institution, etc.)
Grandparent Visitation Rights Recognized? Yes, §9-13-103
Child's Own Wishes Considered? Yes

Note: State laws are always subject to change at any time, usually through the enactment of new statutes but sometimes through higher court decisions or other means. You may want to contact an Arkansas child custody attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Arkansas Child Custody Laws: Related Resources

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