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PROTECTION OF NONCUSTODIAL VISITATION

Noncustodial parents have very few rights and even fewer protections for those rights. Good parents are frequently denied visitation with their child despite a clearly written custody order. Courts and law enforcement generally treat this as a civil matter, so the noncustodial parent must hire his own attorney and pursue the issue at his own expense, which is usually thousands of dollars. Months or years later when the issue is finally heard in court, the offense is often met with minimum consequences, encouraging the poor behavior to continue. The protection of noncustodial parents' rights is marginal at best and only exists for those who can afford it. 


Arkansas law already provides misdemeanor and felony penalties for interference with visitation and interference with custody. Unfortunately, they are usually disregarded by law enforcement. The failure to enforce visitation orders is even more sad when compared to the treatment of child support orders. The taxpayer-funded Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) exists to ensure that child support is paid, including providing attorneys and representation in court. Penalties for nonpayment include driver's license suspension, wage garnishment, and even jail time. 


Arkansas Advocates for Parental Equality supports the creation of a Noncustodial Parents' Visitation Rights Bill to protect and enforce parental rights, including:

  • A simple form provided by the court clerk for the noncustodial parent to file a motion with the court without an attorney

  • A hearing on the matter must be scheduled in a timely fashion from the date the motion is filed

  • An award of legal fees, if any, be granted to the prevailing party

  • Enforcement of the existing law regarding violation of visitation and custody orders, including cooperation by local law enforcement.