4 Jan 2014

Does My Child’s Opinion Matter To The Court In Determining Custody?

The Child’s Best Interest Is The Deciding Factor In Arkansas Child Custody Cases

Arkansas law prefers that parents have joint custody of their children after a divorce. In a joint custody arrangement, both parents share legal custody of the child; one parent is chosen as the primary residential custodian, and the other parent has a regular visitation schedule. The welfare and best interest of the child is the court’s primary concern when making a determination of where the child will live. Factors the court takes into account when choosing the primary residence include:


  • The child’s preference and the motivation for the preference
  • The emotional and developmental needs of the child
  • The home environment of each parent
  • The parents’ work schedules
  • Each parent’s financial resources
  • The child’s relationship with other siblings and where those siblings reside
  • Which parent usually performs the day-to-day parenting functions, such as taking the child to doctor’s appointments, feeding him, and helping with homework
  • Any issues of addiction, drug use, misconduct, abuse or neglect affecting either parent

Arkansas Law Gives Children A Voice in Child Custody Proceedings

As noted above, the court may consider the preference of the child in determining his or her best interests if the child is mature enough and has the mental capacity to think logically. The amount of weight the judge gives a child’s preference depends on whether one of the parents has attempted to influence the child’s decision by making threats, giving bribes or making the child feel guilty; whether one parent’s hostility toward the other parent has turned the child against the other parent; or whether factors such as moving to a new school or new community influenced the preference.


Although the child’s preference is not the sole factor in determining the primary residential custodian, the court will consider it in making its decision. If the judge believes the child’s preference is not in the child’s best interest, he will rule against it.

Kendall Law Firm, PLLC Can Help You In Your Child Custody Case

Kendall Law Firm, PLLC represents individuals and families in a wide array of family law matters. We have more than 60 years of combined experience guiding clients through child custody proceedings while providing advice and encouragement along the way. We will carefully review your situation, evaluate your options, and develop a plan for obtaining the best possible outcome in your case.


This website has been prepared by Kendall Law Firm, PLLC for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.  

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