mother and child

The best-case scenario for child custody is when the adults are willing to cooperate and communicate. However, the best-case scenarios don’t always work out or the cases are complex and end with the courts making the decisions for you in what they determine to be the best interest of the child. Situations of a parent’s relocation, stepparent adoption or adoption by individuals with no biological relation to a child, will certainly complicate the legal process.

Often times a parent’s job requires him or her to relocate to another city, state or country. These cases are difficult because in order to provide financial stability for the well-being of the child they must keep their job, but if the parent relocating has primary custody of the child, the opportunities for the other parent to be physically involved in their child’s life become increasingly difficult and limited. In cases such as this, careful evaluation of many factors is required such as the distance of the relocation, the effects of the disruption of the move in the child’s life, the feasibility of the other parent being able to see the child as much as possible and other pertinent factors. In order to assess the situation thoroughly to determine if the move will significantly impair his or her physical health or emotional well-being, the court can order a temporary geographic restriction. The outcomes of this type of case can be unpredictable, therefore, our firm recommends that the parents work together to create an agreement regarding custody and visitation rights before the case makes it to court. If the decision is left up to the judge, the court will base its decision on whether or not it is in the child’s best interest. Even if you and your ex can work together to modify the agreement, it is always recommended that each spouse hire legal representation to help avoid potentially life-altering decisions that are not in the child’s best interest.

Stepparent adoption is another area that can be complex and difficult because many obstacles can arise along the way. Kevin Hickey Law Partners will help you through the entire process to avoid encountering those obstacles or how to deal with them. Our firm will help you from the beginning that involves the home study and background check all the way to the end when the judge is signing off on the adoption. One of the most difficult phases of stepparent adoption can be finding the child’s other biological parent to terminate his or her parental rights. Trying to find the other parent can prove to be difficult and our firm will make every effort to find him or her, but if that is not possible, we will help find alternate ways of proceeding in the adoption process. The first step is filing a petition for termination of parental rights with the courts. The stepparent will also need to show a reason for the termination, such as abandonment of the child or that the other biological parent is unfit. When a judge hears the case, he or she will consider the role, if any, of the other biological parent and if the adoption will be in the child’s best interest. If it is proven that the other biological parent is not involved or does not want to be involved, the courts will consider the stepparent’s role in the child’s life and if it will strengthen and solidify the relationship through adoption making the child feel more secure and stable.

 Kevin Hickey Law Partners uses our expertise to get the best outcome possible for the parents and the children. We are always willing to assist in negotiations between parents to help bring a reasonable solution to the court. However, when negotiations between parents aren’t possible or the cases are complex, you can count on us to be on your side. Child custody or other family law issues are sensitive and need extra care and compassion and attempting to go through the legal process without an attorney is not advised. Call us today and let our experience work for you.

Things are about to get better. Call us.

(479) 434-2414 Fort Smith • (479) 802-6560 NWA

In the River Valley:
502 Garrison Avenue
Fort Smith, AR 72901
Phone: (479) 434-2414
Fax: (479) 434-2415

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In Northwest Arkansas:
1750 S. Osage Springs Drive, Suite 210
Rogers, AR 72758
Phone: (479) 802-6560
Fax: (479) 802-6561

Mon - Fri 8:30 - 5:00

(Closed 12:00pm - 1:00pm)