child packing suitcaseThis is the next post in my series on issues which arise when an unmarried parent wishes to move their child outside of Arkansas. My last article discussed moving a child out of state when paternity has not been established. It is important to understand that if parentage has not been established then the mother will generally be able to move without gaining the permission of the father. The father, however, would be able to file a paternity action in the state of Arkansas and have the case heard here. If you are involved in such a situation then it is strongly suggested that you speak with an attorney immediately. In this article I will discuss moving a child out of state when a custody order is already in place. If you are in need of assistance then contact my Little Rock office today to speak with a lawyer.

Parents requesting permission to relocate a child from Arkansas must file a Motion with the Court

A parent who wishes to move with the child after an order has been entered must typically gain written permission from their Counterpart or file a Motion with the Court. A Motion is how one makes a formal request to modify their existing child custody order. The Motion will need to state the timeframe for the proposed move, the proposed location, how the move will serve the best interest of the child, and more. The opposing parent will have the opportunity to file an Opposition. The Court will hold an initial hearing on the Motion. After a brief hearing, which consists of oral argument between the attorneys, the Court may deny the Motion or set a trial date for determining whether the move should be granted. In some instances the Court may also grant permission to move after the initial hearing. How the Court will proceed with the matter will always depend on the specifics of a given situation.

If you are requesting permission to relocate then it is important that you include as many specifics as possible in your Motion. The more vague your request then the more likely it is that the Court will deny it. Suppose, for example, that Jill wishes to relocate out of Arkansas with her daughter. She then files a Motion with the Court stating that she wishes to do so. She only states that she “wants to live in California” but has not determined which city she wishes to move to. She also does not have a timeframe for her move. She has not applied for jobs in California and has made no effort to find housing. For obvious reasons, the Court would likely deny her request on the grounds that it is overly vague. The higher the level of specifics one provides, then the more likely the Court is to consider their request.

Arkansas law favors parents who wish to relocate their children out of state

It is fair to say that Arkansas law is more favorable than other jurisdictions for parents who wish to move their children out of state. When considering the request to move, the Court will consider factors such as the opportunities available to the child in the new location, the reasons for the relocation, how the move will impact the child’s relationships with friends and family, as well as the child’s preference (depending on their age and maturity). While our state may be more favorable than others for parents who wish to move, it is important that you present as strong a case as possible to the Court or else your request may be denied. Retaining an experienced attorney is an important step in making such a request.

If you are an unmarried parent and you wish to move a child out of Arkansas then contact my office today to speak with a Little Rock lawyer. My firm strives to provide the highest level of service and we look forward to speaking with you. Contact us online or by telephone to schedule an initial consultation. We also handle matters in Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Springdale, Jonesboro, North Little Rock, Conway, Rogers, Pine Bluff, and throughout the rest of Arkansas.