In Sebastian County, there are seven judges, three of whom preside primarily over domestic relations cases.
Domestic relations cases refer to the discipline of family law including matters such as divorce, custody, visitation, child support, and orders of protection.
In domestic relations cases, judges have the discretion to make certain decisions. For example, in domestic relations cases that involve minor child(ren), judges have the discretion to make decisions that are in the best interest of the parties’ minor child(ren).
Joint Custody and the Rebuttable Presumption
In the state of Arkansas, there is a rebuttable presumption of joint custody. This means that a judge will presume joint custody is in the best interest of the child(ren). Joint custody is defined as the “approximate and reasonable equal division of time with the child(ren) by both parents individually as agreed to by the parents or as ordered by the court.” See A.C.A. § 9-13-101. When a court finds that joint custody is in the best interest of a child, the custody arrangement assures the frequent and continuing contact of the child with both parents.
When joint custody is deemed to be in the best interest of the minor child(ren), child support is issued at the discretion of the court.
Finally, a judge presiding over a domestic relations matter has the discretion to review evidence submitted by either party. Such evidence can be in the form of pictures, text messages, Facebook messages, or even contractual obligations the parties entered into prior to or during their marriage.