Laws affecting husbands and wives, parents, grandparents, and children are constantly changing. Over the past several years, the Arkansas legislature and courts have established child support guidelines, provided for new forms of custody, and modified the factors courts use in classifying property as marital or separate upon divorce. Recent developments in law affect the division of pensions, the tax consequences of divorce, collection of child support across state lines, and custody disputes between residents of different states.
Beyond the considerable emotional pain, the end of a marriage is legally complex. There are three main types of divorce in Arkansas. You will need sound professional advice to determine child custody, financial support, and make a fair division of the property of the marriage. Learn more about each type and how it may affect you.
Adoption of a child can be a joyous and exciting event, but it is also a complicated process. Arkansas law requires that certain procedures be followed to adopt a child. Ordinarily, the child’s biological parents must consent to the adoption, but there are circumstances in which a parent’ consent may not be required, such that the parent has failed significantly to support or communicate with the child for one year.
Surrogacy, a form of artificial reproduction, is a fast growing area of the law. In Arkansas, both traditional and gestational surrogacy are allowed. Traditional Surrogacy is where a surrogate mother or carrier uses her egg and is artificially inseminated with the biological father’s sperm or donor sperm. Gestational Surrogacy is where a surrogate mother/carrier is carrying an embryo transferred to her uterus. This can be the sperm and egg of the biological parents, if married, the egg or sperm of a single parent and donated sperm or egg or can be a donated egg and sperm.
A power of attorney is a document that lets you name someone to make decisions on your behalf. This appointment can take effect immediately, or it can become effective only if you are unable to make decisions on your own. It is a less expensive and more flexible alternative to a guardianship. However, there is more potential for abuse and it may not always be honored by a third party.
You might need to petition for guardianship if you have a loved one, either a minor child or an incapacitated adult, who is not being cared for properly or who needs assistance. A legal guardian is a person who has the legal authority (and the corresponding duty) to care for the personal and property interests of another person, called a ward.
Joint custody allows both parents to continue supporting and caring for their children. Parents have the option of entering into a joint legal custodial agreement, a joint physical custodial agreement, or an agreement wherein the parents share joint legal and physical custody of their children. A well thought out joint custody agreement can make the best of a bad situation by limiting the amount of disruption the children must suffer in a divorce.
According to Arkansas law, courts may issue an order of protection in cases where there are allegations of domestic violence or there is an imminent threat of violence. There are two types of Orders of Protection – criminal and civil. Civil orders of protection are domestic relations cases and involve persons who are related by blood or marriage, are in a romantic relationship, live in the same home, or are the parents of a child.
A living will is a type of advance directive for healthcare, which can help free your family from the responsibility and stress of making difficult decisions without you. A living will is a set of written instructions that explain your wishes for healthcare in the event you can’t communicate as a result of a terminal condition or irreversible coma. By preparing your living will before the often intense, emotional times experienced when facing end-of-life issues, you offer those closest to you relief from the burden and stress of trying to guess what your wishes might be.
A spouse’s interest in a retirement or pension plan may be divided upon the entry of a divorce decree. The portion of a retirement account or pension plan that was acquired during the marriage between the parties is subject to division at the time a divorce decree is entered, and the court will distribute one-half to each party unless the court finds that such a division would be inequitable.
A post nuptial agreement is a written contract executed after a couple gets married to settle the couple’s financial assets in the event of a separation, divorce, or death. Such a contract is a legal agreement between spouses and can include provisions regarding property, debt, jewelry, income, and spousal support.
Many grandparents are worried about the welfare of their grandchildren. They may see their own children as lacking in parenting skills and find it impossible to watch their grandchildren suffer abuse and neglect. Nowadays grandparents are demanding the right to see their grandchildren after a divorce and under some limited circumstances they are being given visitation rights. The scope of these rights depend on Arkansas Law as well as state and federal constitutional provisions.
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