Legal Information: Arkansas


View all
February 14, 2022

What is joint custody? Is joint custody favored in Arkansas?

Joint custody is defined as the “approximate and reasonable equal division of time with the child by both parents.”1 Joint custody is favored in Arkansas and there is a “rebuttable presumption” that joint custody is in the best interest of the child. This means that the judge will assume (presume) that joint custody is what’s best for the child but either parent can offer evidence to change the judge’s mind (to “rebut” the presumption). The judge can decide not to order joint custody if one of the following are true:

  • The judge determines that there is “clear and convincing evidence” that joint custody is not in the best interest of the child;
  • The parties come to an agreement on all issues related to custody of the child and decide upon their own custody terms;
  • One of the parties does not request sole, primary, or joint custody; or
  • One of the parties offers evidence that convinces the judge to “rebut” the presumption and give one parent sole custody.2

If, at any time, the judge determines that one parent has a pattern of intentionally creating conflict in an attempt to disrupt a current or pending joint-custody arrangement and there is nothing the judge can order to reduce areas of conflict caused by the disruptive parent, the judge can consider such behavior to be a “material change of circumstances” and can change a joint custody order to an order of primary custody to the non-disruptive parent.3

1 A.C.A. § 9-13-101(a)(5)
2 A.C.A. § 9-13-101(a)(1)(A)(iii), (a)(1)(A)(iv)
3 A.C.A. § 9-13-101(b)(1)(A)(iii)

WomensLaw serves and supports all survivors, no matter their sex or gender.