ArkansasChild Visitation Laws
Arkansas Child Custody Guide :: Table of Contents
What is child visitation?In the context of a child custody case, visitation is defined as the rights for a non-custodial parent to see their child, or as temporary custody that's been granted for a period of time to an otherwise non-custodial parent or relative.
In general, courts in Arkansas assume that it is beneficial for both biological parents of a child to have shared custody or visitation, unless it is shown to be against the child's best interests. A biological parent who is denied custody may be awarded visitation rights to provide for a relationship between the parent and child.
Visitation by grandparents, family members, or other third-parties is less clear cut in Arkansas, and nationwide. While there are state guidelines regarding third-party visitation in certain situations, these laws are frequently challenged.
Above all else, courts in Arkansas strive to make custody and visitation decisions that are "in the best interests of the child". The court handling each individual visitation case has significant flexibility in determining what arrangement is in the child's best interests. You can read about Arkansas' visitation guildelines on this page.
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For the state of Arkansas, grandparents or great-grandparents can petition a circuit court if a marriage has been through a divorce, death, or some specific legal separation. This can also happen if the child is found to be illegitimate, and the petitioner is a direct maternal or paternal grandparent or grandparent, which paternity having already been established by a court. When a permission to visit is denied, it can be assumed that the reasoning for the denial is in the best interest of the safety and well-being of the child.
In order to form a relationship with the child, any petitioner needs to have resided with the child for at least six months in a row, or performed regular visits for twice the amount of time. This petitioner must also provide proof that they are able to provide guidance and care for the child, and that they can cooperate with those in charge of the child’s custody if visitation is approved. Visits by both maternal and paternal grandparents and great-grandparents can occur when opposite sides of the family are given custody of the child.
In case of denial by parents, brothers or sisters of a child may petition the court to be granted access to visitation, regardless of the blood relationship between siblings.
In the state of Arkansas, there are a number of laws regarding child visitation regarding visitation for third-parties other than the biological parents of the child. While state laws regarding third-party visitation have been frequently been challenged in courts, they are a good indication of Arkansas' positions regarding non-parental visitation rights.
Visitation Rights Of Grandparents In Arkansas:
Arkansas has special statutes regarding the child visitiation rights of grandparents under different circumstances. Under state law, the grandparents of children may obtain visitation while the parents are alive, regardless of the parent's marital status.
Regardless of state presumptions regarding grandparent's visitation rights under specific circumstances, an Arkansas court may allow or prevent visitation rights in any situation based on the best interests of the child.
Visitation Rights Of Other Parties In Arkansas:
Are step-parents granted visitation rights in the state of Arkansas?
Generally it is an uphill battle for step-parents seeking visitation rights for a step-child, especially if the biological parents of the child are alive and are opposed to the visitation.
The state of Arkansas does not have any laws that grant child visitation rights to step-parents, which may make applying for visitation significantly harder. In all cases, third-party visitation rights are more likely to be granted by the court if they are deemed to be in the best interests of the child.
Can other interested parties or relatives be granted visitation rights to a child in Arkansas?
Under state of Arkansas law, it may be possible for other individuals to be granted visitation rights by the court. This might include relatives other than the child'a parents, previous caregivers, etc.
Can parents be granted visitation rights after termination of parental rights or adoption in Arkansas?
In the state of Arkansas it may not be possible to be granted visitation rights after losing parental rights or giving up a child for adoption. This is the case with both biological parents and previous guardians.