Arkansas Divorce Guide

Modification Of Court Orders

To modify a custody or visitation order, Modify court ordersa substantial change in circumstances must have occurred. Without changes, courts generally are unwilling to change an order. New facts must be submitted in a formal petition with the same court that issued the original order, even if you have moved. Domestic or family violence since your last hearing meets the test of substantial change in circumstances.

If you have moved to another state and want to change where the custody hearings take place, you must request permission from the judge that last heard your case, and have valid reasons for the request. A lawyer can be invaluable in assisting you in this effort.

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Arkansas will recognize out of state custody orders – A court in this state will recognize and enforce a child-custody determination of a court of another state if the court exercised jurisdiction or the determination was made under factual circumstances and the determination has not been modified. A court may use any law in this state to enforce the foreign order.

Modification of parenting time

The court may make or modify an order granting or denying parenting time rights whenever such order or modification would serve the best interests of the child.

In those cases in which a party with whom the child resides a majority of the time is seeking to relocate with the child to a residence that substantially changes the geographical ties between the child and the other party, the court, in determining whether the modification of parenting time is in the best interests of the child, will take into account all relevant factors. The party who is intending to relocate with the child to a residence that substantially changes the geographical ties between the child and the other party will provide the other party with written notice as soon as practicable of his or her intent to relocate, the location where the party intends to reside, the reason for the relocation, and a proposed revised parenting time plan. A court hearing on any modification of parenting time due to an intent to relocate will be given a priority on the court’s docket.

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See our discussion on Relocation in the tab above

The court will not restrict a parent’s parenting time rights unless it finds that the parenting time would endanger the child’s physical health or significantly impair the child’s emotional development. Nothing in this section will be construed to affect grandparent visitation granted.

Two years time must elapse

If a motion for a substantial modification of parenting time which also changes the party with whom the child resides a majority of the time has been filed, whether or not it has been granted, no subsequent motion may be filed within two years after disposition of the prior motion unless the court decides, on the basis of affidavits, that the child’s present environment may endanger the child’s physical health or significantly impair the child’s emotional development or that the party with whom the child resides a majority of the time is intending to relocate with the child to a residence that substantially changes the geographical ties between the child and the other party.

Changing where your child lives

The court will not modify a prior order concerning parenting time that substantially changes the parenting time as well as changes the party with whom the child resides a majority of the time unless it finds, upon the basis of facts that have arisen since the prior decree or that were unknown to the court at the time of the prior decree, that a change has occurred in the circumstances of the child or the party with whom the child resides the majority of the time and that the modification is necessary to serve the best interests of the child.

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