Judge on the benchThis is the next post in a series of articles discussing situations in which a Little Rock, Arkansas parent refuses to return a child to the other parent in violation of a custody order. My last article discussed the types of actions that may or may not be considered parental abduction. It is important to understand that intentionally withholding a child from their other parent in contravention of a court order may have serious consequences. A parent whose rights have been violated may take legal action to require the return of the child. The violating parent could face contempt charges, fines, or even jail time. In this article, I will discuss the need to obtain a “pick-up” order from the court if your co-parent refuses to comply with the visitation schedule in your custody order. Parents should not engage in self-help to correct the problem and should contact an attorney as soon as possible if this situation arises. If you require assistance, contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.

Being denied access to one’s child can inflame what may already be an emotionally charged situation. Parents may not know how to proceed if their child is being unlawfully withheld from them in violation of a custody order. The first instinct for many parents in this situation is to call the police for assistance in accessing their child and enforcing their custodial rights. Like most jurisdictions, however, Little Rock law enforcement will not usually be willing or able to get involved in the dispute between the parents absent a court order expressly authorizing them to do so. This is because the police do not have the authority to enforce a civil court custody order. Exceptions may be made if there is a risk of criminal activity or domestic violence. In most cases, however, law enforcement will request that the parent obtain a “pick-up” order from the family court.

A pick-up order is typically issued by the judge on an expedited basis and instructs the police to assist the parent in retrieving their child. The police will accompany you to the residence of the other party and inform your counterpart that the order must be complied with. Failing to obey the police may result in the parent’s arrest. Such orders often require that the other parent provide the child’s basic belongings and other items that will be needed immediately. It will not require the police to supervise an extended moving-out process where the child removes all of their clothing, toys, etc. from the residence. For example, if a pick-up order is executed on a Sunday evening before the child is to return to school on Monday, the police will oversee the child’s removal of sufficient clothes and school materials needed for the following day. The parents are often encouraged to quickly handle the exchange and follow-up with the family court to resolve ongoing issues.

If your child is being withheld by the other parent then it is important that you contact a Little Rock parental abduction lawyer immediately. I am experienced in handling such matters and my office is ready to assist you. Contact me today to speak with an attorney. I also serve clients in Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Springdale, Jonesboro, North Little Rock, Conway, Rogers, Pine Bluff, and throughout the rest of Arkansas.