Legal Information: Arkansas


September 22, 2018

I am the child’s grandparent or great-grandparent. Can I get visitation of the child?

Maybe.  We have laid out the three main requirements/ steps that you must meet before you can get visitation. 

Step 1: A grandparent or great-grandparent can only petition (ask) the court for visitation if:

  • The parents were married but are now divorced, legally separated, or one parent has died OR
  • The parents weren’t married (the child is legally known as "illegitimate"). Note: If you are the paternal grandparent, the father's paternity has to first be established in court before you can file for visitation.  If you are the maternal grandparent, paternity doesn't matter.

If you fall into one of the above categories, you have the right to file for visitation.  Now go to Steps 2 and 3 to see what you have to prove to the judge.

Step 2: You must prove that you established a significant relationship with the child by proving one of the following:
     (A) The child resided with you (with or without the current custodial parent) for at least 6 consecutive months; or
     (B) You were the caregiver to the child on a regular basis for at least 6 consecutive months; or
     (C) You had frequent or regular contact with the child for at least 12 consecutive months; or
     (D) Any other facts that establish that the loss of the relationship between you and the child is likely to harm the child.

Step 3: 
You also must prove to the judge that visitation with you is in the best interest of the child by proving all of the following:
(A) You are able to give the child love, affection, and guidance; and
(B) The loss of the relationship between you and the child is likely to harm the child; and
(C) You are willing to cooperate with the custodial parent if visitation with the child is allowed.1

Note: By law, the judge has to assume that the parent's reason for denying you visitation is in the child's best interest.2  If you can prove the factors in Steps 2 and 3, you may be able to overcome this assumption and get visitation.

This is a complicated issue and it is usually best to discuss it in detail with an attorney. To find a lawyer in your area please see our AR Finding a Lawyer page.

1 A.C.A. § 9-13-103 (b)-(e)
2 A.C.A. § 9-13-103 (c)(1)