ARKANSAS: Supreme Court Overturns Visitation Bans In Child Custody Cases
The Arkansas Supreme Court today reversed a lower court child custody order that prohibited a parent from having overnight visitation with his child in the presence of his long-term domestic partner. The ruling ends a widespread practice in Arkansas custody cases of courts automatically barring parents from living with an unmarried partner regardless of the circumstances.Read the full ruling.
A Pulaski County judge had ordered that it was in the child’s best interest to have overnight visitation with his father, John Moix. However, Moix’s partner was barred from being present in their home during any overnight visitation. The judge imposed this restriction despite determining that the father and his partner have lived together in a committed relationship for at least five years and that the partner “poses no threat to the health, safety, or welfare” of Moix’s son.
In today’s decision, the Arkansas Supreme Court said that there is no “blanket ban” against cohabitation and that whether such a restriction should be imposed on a parent must be based on the circumstances of each particular case and in light of the best interest of the children. The case was sent back to the trial court to make this assessment.