packed moving boxesThis is the next post in a series of articles discussing child relocation requests when a Little Rock parent is forced to move outside of Arkansas to accept new employment. Our previous post provided an overview of the topics to be discussed throughout the series. It also stressed the importance of contacting an experienced family law attorney to assist you with preparing your relocation request. When a parent is forced to move out of state for employment reasons and wishes to relocate with their child, they must first obtain the advance permission of the court to do so. This article will discuss how the need to move quickly for immediate reemployment may impact this process. If you need assistance, contact our office to speak with a lawyer.

We have previously written about requests to relocate with a child generally. In every relocation case, the family court judge will evaluate whether the move is in the child’s best interest. This also holds true for requests based on the urgent, employment-related needs of a parent. While the motivation to financially support one’s family will be important, it will not be the only factor considered by the judge. A parent seeking to move quickly for purposes of taking a new job must present as much information as possible at their hearing to demonstrate that relocation will be in the child’s best interest. This may be particularly challenging when a request is made for an expedited decision with little time to prepare a complete relocation plan. Moving requests are often challenged by the parent remaining behind. Challengers may argue that a vague and undeveloped relocation plan is an indication that the requesting parent be denied permission to move with the child, at least until more information is available.

Even when prepared on an expedited basis, the more concrete information shared with the court in a relocation plan, the better the chance of being granted a temporary or permanent relocation order. For instance, to the extent the information is available, the judge will be interested in the details about a parent’s job opportunity. Vague assertions of a potential job opportunity or a “better job market” elsewhere are not as meaningful as a formal job offer. Information about living arrangements, school systems, and family or friends in the new location may also be helpful. If the child will be relocating a significant distance from their other parent, it is important to demonstrate how the child will maintain a meaningful relationship with them after the move. The relocation plan should include a proposed visitation schedule, complete with holiday schedules, travel details, digital calls, or other methods of communication. As in all custody-related cases, factors such as the parent’s ability to meet the child’s needs, compliance with existing support and visitation orders, criminal history, etc. will be considered by the judge.

If you are considering relocating with your child for employment or other reasons, contact us today to speak with a Little Rock attorney. In addition to Little Rock, we also handle matters in Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Springdale, Jonesboro, North Little Rock, Conway, Rogers, Pine Bluff, and throughout the rest of Arkansas.