PATERNITY cases are on the rise in Arkansas. Generation Z members are typically not as bound by the previous social and/or moral mandates that marriage accompany a pregnancy.
In 2009, 6 paternity cases were filed in Washington County, Arkansas.
In 2019, 23 paternity cases were filed in Washington County, Arkansas. That is a 283% increase over those 10 years.
The statutes in Arkansas containing the laws regarding paternity can be found at A.C.A. §§9-10-102 to 9-10-121. When a child is born to an unmarried woman, legal custody of said child is in the woman giving birth to the child until the child reaches 18 years of age unless a court of competent jurisdiction enters an order placing the child in the custody of another party. A.C.A. §9-10-113.
The Court may award custody to the biological father upon a showing that:
He is a fit parent to raise the child;
He has assumed his responsibilities toward the child by providing care, supervision, protection, and financial support for the child; and
It is in the best interest of the child to award custody to the biological father.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF PATERNITY
Pursuant to A.C.A. §9-10-120,
A man is the father of a child for all intents and purposes if he and the mother execute an acknowledgment of paternity of the child pursuant to A.C.A. §20-18-408 or A.C.A. §20-18-409, or a similar acknowledgment executed during the child’s minority.
Acknowledgments of paternity shall, by operation of law, constitute a conclusive finding of paternity, subject to the modification of orders or judgments under A.C.A. §9-10-115, and shall be recognized by the circuit courts and juvenile divisions thereof as creating a parent and child relationship between father and child.
Such acknowledgments of paternity shall also be recognized as forming the basis for establishment and enforcement of the child support or visitation or without a further proceeding to establish paternity.
"Kimberly made the experience of mediation much more comfortable than I had ever anticipated. I felt complete at ease being honest and speaking freely about all my concerns. She was very hepful in walking me through one of the most stressful parts of my life and I'm very thankful to her for her services." - A mediation client from September 2015
"Mediation with Kimberly was smooth. " - A mediation client from September 2015
"I recently mediated a domestic relations case with Kimberly Canova and Adell Ralston. I have utilized mediation in several of my cases over the years; however, this was my first experience with co-mediators. I found utilizing co-mediators to be very worthwhile. It saved time, was cost effective, and made my client more at ease. Often times in mediation, as was the case in this matter, the mediator opts to caucus the parties. In doing so, many times my client and I are left waiting on the mediator for hours to come back with information from the other side. With the two mediators, we were able to keep the dialogue going and brainstorm throughout the time we were there, which I felt assisted us in coming to an agreement in a more timely manner. I also believe my client felt “heard” the entire mediation, which made her feel she got more from the experience and her money was well spent. " - M. Kemper, Attorney at Law