Legislature Passes Invoice Altering Custody Legal guidelines In Arkansas

Hear the report from KUAR’s political reporter Sarah Kellogg.

Arkansas Legislation passed a bill designed to change custody laws in the state.

Senate Bill 18, passed by the Arkansas House by 71-16 votes, would change the rule in determining child custody for divorce or paternity to include a “rebuttable” presumption of joint custody the “best interests of the child”.

The legislation lists a number of circumstances in which joint custody could be refuted. This also applies if the court finds clear and convincing evidence that joint custody is not in the best interests of the child, for example in the case of domestic abuse committed by one of the parents, or if one of the parties involved does not want joint custody.

Rep Jimmy Gazaway, R-Paragould, who brought the bill to the House, denied claims that the bill would “break” the current system of custody determination.

“The system is broken now. And there have been a lot of good parents because of the system we have now and children who didn’t have the benefit of having those good parents in their lives. And that’s a shame and a shame and It it’s time we changed it, “said Gazaway.

MP Vivian Flowers, D-Pine Bluff, spoke out against the legislation

“I will ask you to ensure that joint custody is already preferred. To ensure that judges make decisions every day in the best interests of the children and give custody of the father,” Flowers said.

Flowers also said the bill could lead to “unprecedented consequences,” such as cases where a child may have to testify against parents accused of domestic abuse.

With the law changed in the House of Representatives, it now goes back to the Senate, where if passed again it goes to the governor.

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