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Custody arrangement by court order versus by agreement

On Behalf of | Jul 26, 2023 | Child Custody & Support |

There are two ways to establish child custody in Arkansas. The parents can either settle the custody arrangement privately or leave the decision-making up to the court.

The initial determining factor

How do you tell if a custody arrangement should be made between parents or with the court’s intervention? The main determining factor is whether or not the parties come to an agreement. If they agree with the terms, they can draw up an agreement outside of court. However, if they cannot find common ground, they would have to leave the decision to the judge.

Note that it is also possible that the parties initially agree but clash ideas during discussions, so they end up bringing the matter to court.

The process

What is the difference between the two methods in terms of process?

When it comes to settlement, parents can negotiate on their own terms. They control the place, time and guidelines of the negotiation, of course with the guidance of a neutral third party and their respective attorneys. During the process, they will discuss everything that needs to be settled, including primary custody, visitation terms and other related child custody issues.

With a court procedure, the judge will also go through the same topics. The difference is that the parents do not have control over the hearings. This process usually takes longer since the court must consider several factors and circumstances surrounding each case.

The finish line

So, what happens at the end of each method? Whether the parents agree privately or have the court intervene, the court will have the final say. Once the parents finish drawing up the custody terms, they must submit the document to the court for approval. The court will determine whether the contract serves the child’s best interests.

Dealing with divorce, especially with children, can be challenging and emotional. The process can be overwhelming, especially if you are unfamiliar with the law. Having a knowledgeable professional guide you through the process can help alleviate any distress you may have.