Frisco, TX asked in Child Custody for Arkansas

Q: I was told Arkansas has a law called “year and a day” when it comes to child custody.

I was wondering what that is exactly and what can set that into motion for his father to sign his rights over .

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1 Lawyer Answer
Patrick R. Lee
Patrick R. Lee
  • Licensed in Arkansas

A: This question is a little confusing, but I think you're referring to the definition of abandonment in the family law section of the Arkansas Code (Title 9). The law is that if a parent significantly fails without good reason to communicate with a child or pay support for the child for over a year, that person is deemed to have abandoned the child. That doesn't mean his rights are automatically terminated at "a year and a day."

For example, if a father doesn't see his kids or pay child support for over a year and the mother is remarried, the stepfather could petition for adoption and the biological father's consent wouldn't be needed for the adoption to go through. In that case, the adoption would sever the rights of the biological father, but it's not automatic.

If you are in a similar situation, it would be wise to consult with an attorney about your options.

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