Scared child on stairsThis is the next post in our series on requesting an emergency custody modification in Little Rock, Arkansas. Our last article discussed what is considered an “emergency” in child custody cases. It is important to understand that the Court is likely to consider the matter urgent only if it is shown that one’s son or daughter is in imminent danger. While non-critical disagreements may be enough to modify one’s custody or visitation arrangement, they are not likely to be heard by the Court on an expedited basis. In this article we will discuss an important topic – the process by which one files for an emergency custody modification. If you or a loved one require assistance then contact our office today to speak with a lawyer.

The first step in a Little Rock emergency custody case is for parents to file a Motion with the Family Court

The first step in requesting an emergency change of custody is to file a Motion with the Court. This is a formal document in which the requesting parent will state the facts of their case, how such facts impact the best interests of the child, and what they believe the new visitation schedule should be. Documentary evidence (known as “exhibits”) will be attached to the Motion. This evidence may include police reports, phone records, and more. A hearing date will be set once your Motion is filed with the Court. In emergency situations, your counsel will file a request that the matter be heard on an expedited basis (typically within a day or two). The other parent will be served with notice of the hearing and each side will attend with their counsel.

Arkansas Family Court Judges have many ways in which they can proceed in an emergency child custody case

It is important to understand that the initial hearing on your Motion will not be a trial. It is unlikely that witnesses will testify or that the Court will devote substantial time to the matter. Instead, the attorneys for each side will make their arguments and the Judge will issue a decision. When reaching this decision, the Court has several options. It may deny the Motion outright. This means that the current custody order will remain in place and that the case is over. The Court may also make a temporary change in custody, if the facts warrant it, and then set a trial date. The trial is where the Court will decide whether a more permanent change should be ordered. Finally, the Court may decline to make an immediate change but still set a trial date in order to determine whether a change should be made. It is important to understand that how the Court will rule, in any given situation, is always going to depend on the specific facts of your situation.

One point we cannot stress enough is that it is best to retain an experienced child custody lawyer to assist you in an emergency situation. It is crucial that your matter be presented to the Judge in a concise way and that the Court hears your side of the story. Our Little Rock attorneys take great pride in the level of service they provide. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consutlation.

We also handle matters in Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Springdale, Jonesboro, North Little Rock, Conway, Rogers, Pine Bluff and throughout the rest of Arkansas.