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If you are a father whose marriage is ending, your most important questions likely center around custody. You do not want divorce to jeopardize your good relationship with your children.

Arkansas courts agree. When it comes to divorcing parents, Arkansas law states that judges will award custody without regard to the gender of the parent. The sole consideration is the best interest of the children. As you begin divorce proceedings, you may have questions about what to expect.

Will courts treat you fairly?

The law is clear about awarding custody based on the children’s welfare; fairness does not come into play. Many couples share physical custody of their children, but that does not necessarily mean an even split of parenting time.

Still, it should be possible to create a parenting plan that gives each of you ample parenting time. If both parties agree to the plan, a judge is likely to approve the terms of the arrangement.

What about your job?

Certain careers demand long shifts or unusual schedules. However, courts should not penalize you for working long hours, doing shift work or traveling for work. Your children benefit from your ability to provide for their material needs.

What if one of you moves?

When one parent moves away, it can become difficult to maintain close, regular contact with the children. Your divorce agreement may include a stipulation against moving out of state.

What about the children’s wishes?

Courts may take the children’s wishes into account. However, a judge is not bound to grant custody according to those wishes.

When you are divorcing, the future can seem unclear. Fortunately, ending your marriage does not mean you will lose your rights as a father.