WomensLaw serves and supports all survivors, no matter their sex or gender.

Legal Information: Arkansas

Parental Kidnapping

Laws current as of January 3, 2024

How can I keep the other parent from taking my children out of the country?

If you believe the other parent may take your children out of the country without permission and refuse to return them, you can ask a judge to help prevent what Arkansas law calls “international child abduction.”1

If a judge believes the other parent may commit international child abduction, s/he may:

  • give custody to the parent who does not present a risk of international abduction;
  • change a custody order to reduce the risk by, for example, making it extremely specific so it’s more easily enforceable;
  • order that supervision with the other parent be supervised;
  • order the other parent:
    • to not pick up the children from school or come near the children, except for during allowed visitation times;
    • to not take the children out of the US, to surrender the children’s passports, and to not get a new passport or travel visa for the children; or
    • pay a bond of enough money to cover getting the children back if they are kidnapped;
  • order that the Department of State be notified of travel restrictions on the children; and
  • give law enforcement officers the authority to prevent abduction.2

In deciding whether or not there is a risk of international child abduction, a judge will look at all relevant factors, including whether the other parent:

  • has already committed, threatened to commit, or tried to commit international child abduction;
  • does not have a strong financial reason to stay in the US;
  • is taking steps to leave the country, such as quitting his/her job or making travel arrangements;
  • has a history of domestic violence, child abuse, marital instability, or not cooperating with you;
  • has a criminal history or a history of violating court orders; and
  • has connections outside the US or lacks significant connections in the US.3

1 See Ark. Code § 9-13-402(6)
2 Ark. Code § 9-13-406
3 Ark. Code § 9-13-405