This is the next post in my series on the topic of unmarried parents moving a child out of Arkansas. My last article discussed moving a child out of state when there is no custody order. Parents must understand that as long as parentage has been established then they must request permission to move even if no custody order is in place. Retaining an attorney to assist you with your request is important as such cases often involve complicated issues. This article will expand upon my prior discussion by explaining the process involved in gaining permission to move. If you need assistance then contact my office today to speak with a Little Rock lawyer.
The first step in gaining permission to relocate a child out of state is to file a Motion with the Court. This is a document in which the requesting parent will state the specifics of their proposed move (including location, timeframe, etc.) and the law supporting their request. It will also be important to attach evidence, in the form of exhibits, which supports the request. This evidence can include job offer letters, documentation showing that housing has been secured in the new location, etc. A hearing date will be set for the Motion and the other party will file an Opposition brief.
The initial hearing will not be a trial. There will typically be no testimony from witnesses. Instead, the hearing will consist of brief oral arguments between the attorneys for each side. Once the hearing has been concluded then the Judge will take one of three actions. First, the Court may rule that the Motion is denied. This would end the matter and leave the current custody order in place. Second, the Court may set a trial at which the issue will be decided. The requesting parent may or may not be given to move temporarily, pending the trial. Whether permission for a temporary move is granted will depend on the nature of the request and other considerations. Finally, under some circumstances the Court may immediately grant the request. This is the rarest of outcomes but it is appropriate in some circumstances. An example of this would be if a parent has supervised visitation with the child, due to their drug addiction, and the other parent wishes to relocate. For obvious reasons, the Court may grant the request on the spot as opposed to saying that the child should remain with someone who only has limited visitation.
If a trial date is set then each side will be given the opportunity to conduct discovery. This is the process by which information is gained from the other side in a lawsuit. It will be important to conduct discovery as, prior to what is shown on television, trials are not won with “surprise” evidence which is unveiled at the last minute. Instead, cases are won by presenting evidence that has been methodically accumulated. Trial will take place after the close of discovery. Child relocation matters are decided via a bench trial, meaning that the Judge will decide the case without a jury.
If you are considering moving your child out of state, or are opposing such a request, then contact my office to speak with a Little Rock child relocation lawyer. I understand the serious nature of your situation and we will strive to provide you with the most effective representation possible. 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.