This is the next post in my series on relocating a child outside of Arkansas when the parents are not married. My last article discussed moving a child out of state when there is a custody order in place. It is important that parents understand that once custody has been established then they may not move the child out of state unless they have written permission from the other parent or the Court allows them to do so. Retaining an attorney can help to ensure that your request to move is handled correctly. In this article I will discuss the process of moving a child out of state when no custody order exists. If you require assistance then contact my office today to speak with a Little Rock lawyer.
Unmarried Arkansas parents must gain permission to move even when there is no custody order in place
Arkansas is a state that presumes parents to have joint custody when they are unmarried and no custody order is in place. This means that, as long as paternity has been established, a parent must gain permission from the Court to move out of state with the child. The process for moving would be the same as discussed in our prior article. The first step will involve filing a Motion with the Court and attending an initial hearing. The Court may deny the request at the initial hearing. The Court may also set a date for a trial at which it will be determined whether the move should be approved. In some instances, the Court may grant the request immediately, although that is the least common outcome unless there is a clear reason to do so. How the Court will rule at the initial hearing will always depend on the facts of the case.
Parents sometimes make the mistake of thinking that they do not need Court permission to move with the child when no order is in place. The fact of the matter, however, is that if you relocate out of state without first gaining permission then the other parent may file for an Order requiring that you return to Arkansas. The fact that you moved out of state without first gaining permission may then weigh against you at subsequent child custody proceedings. Speaking with an attorney is one of the best steps you can take in ensuring that you are proceeding in the best way possible.
Requesting that the child be returned when an unmarried parent has moved out of state without permission
If no custody order is in place then there is a multi-step process involved in requesting that a child be returned to Arkansas. First, the parent who wishes the child returned must file a Complaint to establish child custody. This will commence a family law action. They must then file a Motion requesting that the child be returned. Depending on the circumstances, the Court may be willing to grant this request Ex-Parte. After the child is returned then it will be typical to hold a hearing which establishes temporary custody and support. At any time during the case, the parent who moved may request to leave the state with the child. Such matters can be highly complicated and having an experienced attorney can be crucial.
If you are an unmarried parent then contact my office if you are involved in a child move away case. I understand the contentious nature of such issues and my office will give your case the attention it deserves. Contact us online or by telephone to speak with a Little Rock lawyer. We also handle matters in Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Springdale, Jonesboro, North Little Rock, Conway, Rogers, Pine Bluff, and throughout the rest of Arkansas.