Child looking backThis is the first post in a series of articles discussing situations in which a Little Rock, Arkansas child is unlawfully withheld by one parent from the other in violation of a custody order. In some circumstances, this is referred to as parental abduction. When a co-parent refuses to comply with a visitation order by not returning a child as scheduled, the other parent may not know how to proceed. This can be an especially emotional situation and require quick legal action. The goal of my next several articles is to provide information to help parents fully understand their options should this situation arise. It is also my goal to provide information about the process of regaining access to a child and potentially seeking a custody modification in the future. An experienced family law attorney can help you navigate this process. If you require assistance, contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.

I will be addressing several topics throughout this series, including:

  • Understanding what constitutes parental abduction in Little Rock, Arkansas
  • The need to request a “pick-up” order from the court to retrieve one’s child
  • The process of seeking a “pick-up” order
  • What to expect after obtaining a court order to retrieve one’s child
  • Changing custody after the child has been returned
  • Avoiding self-help when a co-parent refuses to return a child

Little Rock parents who share custody of a child should understand these issues for a variety of reasons. First, a parent’s failure to return their child will only be considered unlawful if certain circumstances are present. Not every situation will constitute “kidnapping” or require the involvement of the police or the courts. Parents should recognize the difference between scheduling disagreements and unlawful noncompliance. Second, parents should understand that they must obtain a court order before law enforcement will get involved in retrieving a child. Simply calling the police without the required court order will not typically yield results. Third, when necessary, Little Rock parents should have a basic understanding of how to request a “pick-up” order. An experienced family lawyer can assist you in promptly requesting that the court issue the order on your behalf. Fourth, knowing what to expect after the court issues the order is crucial to ensuring that the transition goes smoothly and that your rights are protected on an ongoing basis. Fifth, depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to modify your custody arrangement after the child has been returned. Finally, it is essential that a parent avoid taking matters into their own hands when their co-parent refuses to return their child. Engaging in self-help can create a dangerous situation and may even be detrimental to one’s parental rights in future custody proceedings.

I cannot overemphasize the importance of contacting a Little Rock child custody lawyer immediately if you believe your co-parent is unlawfully withholding your son or daughter. Doing so can help ensure that action is taken legally and on an expedited basis to protect your parental rights. Contact my office today to speak with a Little Rock attorney. I also handle matters in Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Springdale, Jonesboro, North Little Rock, Conway, Rogers, Pine Bluff, and throughout the rest of Arkansas.