Child custody in Arkansas is one aspect of divorce that causes strife between parents. Parents who plan to divorce or are already in the process should keep in mind that regardless of everyone’s feelings and wishes, the courts ultimately base custody agreements on the best interests of the children.
To prevent issues that could create additional obstacles to achieving a desirable child custody agreement, parents should try to avoid making the following mistakes.
1. Becoming too aggressive
Some parents focus more on getting the better of their spouses than on what is best for their kids. Though there are circumstances where it might become necessary to become less tolerant of the other party’s actions and behaviors during divorce and child custody proceedings, an aggressive approach could have a negative impact on a child.
The more animosity that exists between parents during the separation process, the greater the likelihood of the children suffering short- and long-term psychological damage. A more practical, calm and practical approach when dealing with child custody matters can lessen the harmful impact of divorce on the kids and help to prevent additional problems.
2. Ignoring the best interests of the children
The main role of the courts in child custody matters is to enable kids to have a healthy and proper relationship with both parents. Unless there are legitimate issues that endanger the children or pose a detriment to their overall well-being, the courts will not favor one parent’s custody preferences over another. Instead, child custody decisions are made in consideration of the evidence, parental circumstance and set criteria outlining the best interests of the children. These typically include the following:
- How old a child is and what his or her preferences are
- The relationship of a child with other siblings, with each parent and with extended family
- The stability of each parent's home
- Educational and social circumstances
When parents are familiar with what the courts consider to be the best interests of the child, they can adjust their expectations, set aside conflict and work together toward a workable plan that the judge will accept.