Last year legislation was filed by Representative Jimmy Gazaway (R – Paragould) introducing House Bill 1486, which aimed to amend Arkansas law § 9-10-113 putting unwed Arkansas fathers and mothers on equal footing in custody disputes. When Gazaway introduced the bill, he is quoted as saying, “It’s 2019 and it’s time we have laws that reflect equal rights for both mothers and fathers.” Many parental equality advocates considered the law to discriminate based upon gender as it automatically gives custody of the child to the mother without considering the child’s best interest. The premise of the amendment is based upon the fact that custody disputes occurring during divorce proceedings the law awards custody based upon the best interest of the child without considering gender. When custody is requested by a father of a child out of wedlock it is very difficult for him to even establish basic parental rights. Unfortunately, the proposed bill did not pass.
As of today, Arkansas law 9-10-113 pertaining to the custody of a child born outside of marriage are as follows:
Arkansas law 9-10-114 deals with paternal visitation rights. It states that when the paternity of a child is established, the court orders the father to pay child support, establish reasonable visitation rights and, if necessary, enforce those visitation rights.
There are exceptions to the above when the child was conceived out of rape. Arkansas law 9-10-121 is about the termination of certain parental rights for putative fathers convicted of rape.
Although there are specifics written into the law that support the biological father, it can be rather difficult for him to obtain custody. The fact that the proposed bill failed is proof that the courts still favor the biological mother in these types of custody issues. If you are the biological father of a child out of wedlock seeking custody, Kevin Hickey Law Partners can help. Cases like this require professional legal counsel to ensure the best possible court representation for the best outcome. Our professional legal staff can help you. We have years of experience when it comes to child custody issues. Schedule your consultation today.