Paternity Lawyer & Guardianship Attorney Ben T. Roberds
Guardianship and paternity suits are often executed with the welfare of a minor or child in mind. Understanding the difference between guardianship and paternity allows you to seek the proper legal action when necessary.
Guardianship in Arkansas
A guardianship can be created to ensure the welfare of a person (called the ward) and/or their property. Guardianship of a minor commonly occurs when their parents are unable or unwilling to provide care for a period of time. Guardianship is often requested by family members, though any adult could request a guardianship. Guardianship in Arkansas is not restricted to minors, and you can obtain legal guardianship for adults.
As with all legal matters, becoming a legal guardian can be a complicated and stressful process if you don’t understand your options and obligations. One of the most important aspects of guardianship is ensuring that the guardian is aware of his or her responsibilities under Arkansas guardianship laws.
A guardian must meet certain qualifications as defined by the state of Arkansas. Convicted or unpardoned felons are not eligible to become guardians. The guardian of a person and/or estate has an obligation to provide formal accountings and reports to the court. The guardian is responsible for the ward and the ward’s property. That does not bestow parental rights on the guardian, however, and some decisions require written permission from the court.
In order to obtain a guardianship, you must file a petition with the appropriate court. A professional evaluation will be conducted by a professional in order to report to the court on the ward’s condition. The judge will then determine whether the ward is in need of guardianship. In some cases, the judge may determine other options exist that would better serve the ward.
Guardianships can be effective tools and have a variety of effective time lengths, but there are a number of potential costs and hurdles that you may need help navigating. Guardianship attorney Ben Roberds has successfully represented individuals in both contested and uncontested guardianship cases.
If you would like to discuss guardianship, call the Roberds Law Firm at (479) 464-0904 for a complimentary consultation.
- Guardianship Resources – Arkansas Legal Services Partnership
- Arkansas Bureau of Legislative Research – Guardianship Checklist – pdf
Paternity in Arkansas
According to Arkansas law, a person can have the court determine paternity, thus establishing the father’s rights and responsibilities. Both men and women have access to the court system for this purpose. A child born during wedlock is presumed to be the married couple’s biological child, unless contradictory evidence is presented. When a child is born to an unmarried couple, Arkansas law states that the biological mother is presumed to be the primary custodian of the child. In this instance, the father and child will have no legal relationship unless the father completes an Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP).
In some cases the mother and father sign the AOP voluntarily, establishing paternity quickly and at no cost. This may occur if the parents are not married at the time of the child’s birth or if the father is someone other than the mother’s current spouse. While it may not be necessary for the mother and father to go to court to establish paternity, it can be beneficial to consult with an experienced paternity lawyer.
Alternately, a mother can seek legal support from the state or a private attorney to establish paternity. The alleged father may agree to genetic testing or, if necessary, a court order may be obtained to require the father to appear for paternity testing. The court cost and cost of testing will depend on the outcome of the paternity test.
There are steps you can take if you wish to disestablish paternity. Depending on when the child was born or the AOP was signed, you may be able to submit a standard rescission form. If enough time has passed, however, you will need to file a motion with the court, either independently or with the aid of an experienced paternity lawyer.
The Roberds Law Firm works with DNA laboratories to establish biological paternity. Paternity lawyer Ben T. Roberds has dealt with contested and uncontested paternity issues and has helped men and women receive court-ordered child support, custody and visitation.
Call Ben T. Roberds at (479) 464-0904 today for a complimentary and confidential consultation.
- Arkansas DFA (Department of Finance & Administration) – Paternity
- Establishing Paternity – Arkansas Legal Services Partnership – pdf
But, you may still have questions or concerns about guardianship or paternity in Arkansas…
I can’t afford an attorney right now.
Many attorneys and firms, including the Roberds Law Firm, offer free consultations where you can ask questions and determine if you wish to pay for their legal services. Guardianship and paternity suits will impact your life and that of your child or ward, and only you can decide if the investment is worth it.
How long will all of this take?
The amount of time it takes to request a guardianship or establish paternity depend on a variety of factors. In some cases, the legal steps can be completed in as little as a few days or weeks. Other times it may take longer before the paternity test can be completed or a hearing can be scheduled. An experienced family lawyer can help you review your situation and provide an estimated timeline.
Is there anything else I should be doing right now?
The best thing you can do when taking legal action is to be informed. You may wish to schedule a free consultation with an experienced family lawyer who can help you understand your rights and responsibilities as a guardian, ward or parent.
Bentonville’s Premier Paternity & Guardianship Attorney
If you are considering requesting a guardianship or you have questions about how to establish or disestablish paternity, the Roberds Law Firm can help you understand your legal rights and obligations. Contact family lawyer Ben T. Roberds today at (479) 464-0904 to set up a free, confidential consultation to discuss your options and how you can proceed.