judge pounding gavel with hand on bookThis is the next post in my series on cases in which an unmarried parent wishes to move their child outside of Arkansas. My last article provided an overview of topics which this series will be addressing. It also stressed the need to speak with an attorney if you or a family member are considering moving out of state. It is important that you retain counsel to assist you as relocation cases are some of the most contentious matters which arise in the area of family law. In this article I will be discussing how the establishment of paternity impacts such matters. If you require assistance then contact my Little Rock office today to speak with a lawyer.

Arkansas mothers generally may move a child out of state if paternity has not been established

I have previously discussed the importance of establishing paternity in Arkansas. As I explained in that article, the father of a child is not considered to be “dad” unless paternity has been established. This means that if a mother wishes to move her child out of state then she will not require permission from the other parent if paternity has not already been established. This is true even if the mother knows who the father is and he has been in regular contact with the child. If paternity has been established, then the mother must obtain permission from the Court in order to move the child out of state.

A mother should consider her right to move as absolute if paternity has not been established. If the last state in which the child lived for at least six consecutive months is Arkansas, then the father would have the right to file a paternity case in our state. He would also have the right to request that the child live in Arkansas. Consider the following example. Jill has a child with Joe and paternity has never been established. Joe regularly sees the child and pays Jill child support. The parties never saw a need to establish paternity as they had a good relationship. Jill decides to move to California with the child and does so without speaking to Joe. Within six months, Joe may file an Arkansas action to establish paternity and child custody. Under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, the case would likely be heard in Arkansas and the mother may have to return. What should be taken from this example is that if there is disagreement over a move then it is often best to obtain permission from the other parent after first consulting with an attorney.

Requesting to relocate a child outside of Arkansas starts with the filing of a Petition for Paternity or a Motion

The first step in requesting permission to move a child out of Arkansas is to file a Petition to Establish Paternity if parentage has not already been established. Permission to move with the child can be requested shortly after the Petition has been filed. If paternity has already been established, and there is an existing custody order, then the first step for the requesting Parent is to file a Motion with the Court. While whether or not the Court will allow a move will always depend on the specifics of the case, Arkansas law is heavily tilted in favor of parents asking to move their child out of state. The process of requesting or opposing a move can involve complicated legal issues and it is important that you retain an experienced attorney to assist you.

I am a Little Rock child relocation lawyer and I understand that this is an important time in your life. My office prides itself on providing the highest level of service and we will give your case the attention it deserves. Contact us online or by telephone to schedule an initial consultation. We look forward to speaking with you. We also handle matters in Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Springdale, Jonesboro, North Little Rock, Conway, Rogers, Pine Bluff, and throughout the rest of Arkansas.