Family law is a legal practice area that involves matters involving family dynamics. In any of these cases, the outcome of the case can be improved with the help of a Little Rock family law attorney.
Kevin Lemley Law Partners is a family law firm dedicated to serving their clients’ legal needs to get the outcome that they expect and deserve. Using technology, experience, an understanding of the law, and respect for their clients, the legal team at Kevin Lemley Law Partners is prepared to work hard for your family law case. We have had successful results in family law and positive reviews from previous clients. When you hire the legal team at Kevin Lemley Law Partners, you hire a team that fights on your side. Our legal experience spans more than 20 years of representing families in Arkansas. We provide the following family law services in Little Rock, AR: adoption, guardianship, and protective orders.
When a family is involved in a legal matter, there is a lot at stake. Family disputes rarely end swiftly, and dealing with court documents and paperwork doesn’t help matters. When you hire an experienced attorney to handle the details for you and represent your interests with an assertive approach in a court of law, you optimize the outcome of the case for everyone involved. Family law can get complicated, but having the right attorney by your side can mean all the difference in the long run. Once your case is resolved, you will be glad that you didn’t go through this alone. These matters are important to your future because, especially when your kids are involved, everything is at stake.
The types of cases that fall under the umbrella of family law are vast. Kevin Lemley Law Partners handles adoption, guardianship, and protective orders. We no longer handle divorce, custody, or child support, but we refer our clients to our recommended alternative firms when necessary. By focusing on these areas, we can offer a more detailed approach with our services.
When a family decides to adopt a child, it’s a joyful time, but the legalities of adoption can get complicated, depending on the situation. In Arkansas, anyone can be adopted, though individuals older than 10 years of age must consent to being adopted. Additionally, all adoptions are subject to the court’s approval. For adoptees under 10 years of age, consent can be granted by one of the following, depending on the situation:
In some cases, consent from a parent or guardian may not be required, though these instances are rare:
If you are considering adoption, there are a few steps you will need to take to begin the adoption process. First, Arkansas law requires that anyone who is applying to adopt must first complete a home study. This is an assessment completed by a state-licensed adoption agency or social worker and is required by law. The assessment encompasses an investigation into all members of the adoptive family. Single adoptive parents can participate in a home study but will be denied if living with a sexual partner to whom they are not legally married.
The home study assesses the adopting party’s ability to care for a child and ensure the well-being of the adoptee. A home study assessment examines the following areas:
In addition to the assessment, a home study involves a safety inspection of the home, background checks for members of the household, and consideration of other children in the home. Three personal references are required, and child abuse registry checks and criminal record checks are also conducted. A home study is good for one year before it must be repeated to adopt.
The last part of the adoption process is legally finalizing the adoption. An experienced attorney can guide you through the finalization of your adoption. It is important to have a good adoption lawyer because Arkansas adoption laws are complicated, and you want to ensure that everything is completed accurately and in compliance with state requirements.
When a family member, whether a minor or adult, suffers from certain circumstances (for instance, they are too ill to care for themselves), it is common for stable family members to take guardianship of their weakened family member. There are three types of guardianship in Arkansas:
To be eligible to be a guardian over someone, the guardian must be of sound mind, at least 18 years old, and a state resident. They must also not be convicted or pardoned of any felonies, though submitting certified court records may permit a judge’s discretion on this last requirement.
The process for applying for and finalizing a guardianship is complex, which is why a family law lawyer can be very useful. A guardianship requires a hearing in which a judge must decide whether to grant the guardianship. At the hearing, the ward and the guardian can use an attorney to argue their case, present evidence, and cross-examine witnesses. Following a determination that there are no other options (such as a conservatorship or a power of attorney) but to grant the guardianship, the judge will issue a guardianship order to the guardian with strict instructions that define the parameters of the guardianship.
Also called a no-contact order, a protective order in Arkansas serves to restrict the defendant from directly or indirectly contacting someone. It prohibits the ordered person from coming near the protected party’s place of employment or home within a certain distance. The consequences of breaking a protective order are the immediate issuance of a warrant and arrest. They will then have to go before a judge to face consequences, which usually include jail time. Violating a protective order will get you up to one year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. Protective orders last anywhere from 90 days to 10 years.
If a guardianship is granted to an individual, whether they are a relative or not, that guardian will get monthly payments to help with raising the cost of the child or children. To receive these payments, a guardian does not need to be related to the child by marriage, birth, or adoption.
Anyone 21 years old or older can adopt, whether married or unmarried. There is a six-month home residency requirement that must be met before an adoption can be finalized. All adoptions must go through the Department of Human Services and/or probate court. A family law attorney can help you determine whether you would qualify to adopt in Arkansas.
It may take up to six months for the assessment of the home study to be complete. If you have found a child whom you wish to adopt, the agency will make a decision on whether your home is a good fit for the child at the culmination of the home study. They will not, however, hold a child until your home study is complete. They may already be placed by the time the home assessment is finished. Thus, it may be ideal to wait until the home study is complete to start thinking about a certain child to adopt.
Arkansas will grant an order of protection to someone who can submit concrete evidence that one is necessary. The petitioner has the burden of proof that violent acts have verifiably occurred, and the victim must fear the possibility of repeated acts of violence against themselves or their children. Additionally, the victim must appear in court to present this proof, or the court will automatically drop the petition.
A no-contact order cannot be reversed or lifted unless the victim asks for it to be dropped. It is a motion on the part of the victim, not the defendant. This process begins by requesting a court date to go before the judge and request that the order be lifted. An attorney can help you prepare for this and guide you through the proper procedure.
If you are in need of a protective order, or another legal service that falls within the parameters of Little Rock family law, Kevin Lemley Law Partners can help you. We have experience in the courtroom and knowledge of state laws so that you can be well-represented in your case. Our dedicated legal team can answer all your questions and tell you the truth regarding your options and potential case outcomes. Contact Kevin Lemley Law Partners today.