Judge on the benchThis is the next post in a series of articles discussing child relocation requests when a Little Rock parent must move outside of Arkansas to accept new employment. The previous post in this series discussed the process of requesting permission to move with a child on an expedited basis to start a new job. Regardless of the reason underlying one’s request to relocate, family courts will focus on whether or not the move will be in the child’s best interest. A variety of factors impact this analysis. Presenting as much information as possible, even when there is little time to prepare, can make a difference in the outcome of one’s case. This article will further explore the types of details that may be included in a parent’s relocation plan to support such a request. If you need assistance, contact our office to speak with a lawyer.

As previously discussed, the court will carefully weigh the decision to grant a parent’s motion to relocate a child outside of Arkansas. A key element in successfully seeking permission to move with one’s child is preparing a detailed relocation plan. The plan will be attached to one’s initial motion requesting the ability to relocate. Preparing this information in advance and including as many specifics as possible may proactively answer the judge’s questions and concerns and will likely also demonstrate that one has considered the needs of their child. To the extent possible, the requesting parent should be prepared to present information about their new job, living arrangements, school systems, and any other circumstances justifying the motion. In addition, it is important to outline a proposed, realistic, visitation schedule with the other parent that will ensure they have adequate means of maintaining a relationship with the child.

For example, suppose an Arkansas mother with shared custody of her children is laid off from her teaching job. Because schools throughout her area have shifted to online platforms, she is unable to find another position within the state. She receives a job offer to become an administrator for an online school, but she must relocate to Texas. She wishes to relocate with her children and accept the job, but the position must be filled within two weeks. At her preliminary hearing, she should be prepared to share information about her new job and reasons for accepting it, such as salary, benefits, and other professional opportunities. She should also identify as many specifics as possible in light of the short notice, such as probable living arrangements, educational opportunities for her children, healthcare availability, etc. The plan should propose visitation schedules and methods of regular contact with their father, including possible travel arrangements. The more information she can provide, the higher likelihood her request will be approved.

In tough economic times, we understand that parents may have little choice but to accept employment outside of Arkansas to continue to support their family. If you need assistance in a Little Rock child relocation matter, our office is ready to assist you. In addition to Little Rock, we also handle matters in Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Springdale, Jonesboro, North Little Rock, Conway, Rogers, Pine Bluff, and throughout the rest of Arkansas.