Articles Posted in Arkansas Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s order dismissing Appellant’s counterclaim for declaratory and injunctive relief against the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS), holding that the Court was unable to address the sole issue raised by Appellant on appeal. On appeal, Appellant argued that the circuit court lacked jurisdiction to consider her counterclaim because DHS was entitled to sovereign immunity and that her case should be dismissed without prejudice due to lack of jurisdiction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellant failed to preserve her sovereign-immunity argument, and therefore, the circuit court properly dismissed the counterclaim. View "Wilson v. Arkansas Department of Human Services" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed this appeal from the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the decision of the circuit court, vacated the court of appeals’ decision, and reinstated the decision of the circuit court, holding that the appeal was procedurally barred. The underlying case involved child support from Wyndham Dempster to be paid to Chelsea Harley. After the circuit court determined Dempster’s arrearages, Harley appealed. The court of appeal dismissed Harley’s appeal for lack of standing. On rehearing, the court of appeals determined that Harley had standing to bring the appeal and reversed the circuit court’s determination. Dempster filed a petition for review, which the Supreme Court granted. Harley, however, filed to timely file a brief for the Court’s consideration. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal and vacated the court of appeals’ opinion, holding that even if Harley’s appeal would not be barred for lack of standing, there would be no argument for reversal on the merits for the Court to consider where Harley failed to timely file a brief. View "Harley v. Dempster" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court modifying the visitation awarded to Father and denying Mother’s petition to modify the amount Father pays in child support, holding that the circuit court did not err. On appeal, Mother argued, among other things, that the circuit court erred in finding that there had been a material change in circumstances that justified modifying Father’s visitation with the parties’ child. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) there was a material change in circumstances sufficient to warrant a modification of visitation; and (2) the circuit court did not err by not including the increase in value of Father’s stock portfolio in the calculation of his child-support obligation and did not err by declining to impute income to Father based on his lifestyle. View "Dare v. Frost" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s order terminating the parental rights of Father to his children, twins. At the termination hearing, the twins were three years old, and Father, who was incarcerated, had not met, contacted, or sought visitation with the children. The court of appeals affirmed the decision of the circuit court terminating Father’s parental rights. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err in finding termination of parental rights was met based on the subsequent-factors grounds. Further, the circuit court did not err in finding termination of parental rights was met in the best interest of the children. View "Earls v. Arkansas Department of Human Services" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court modifying the visitation awarded to Father and denying Mother’s petition to modify the amount Father pays in child support. The Court held (1) under the circumstances of this case, the circuit court did not err in finding that there had been a material change in circumstances that justified modifying Father’s visitation with the parties’ child; and (2) the circuit court did not err in deciding not to include the increase in the value of Father’s stock portfolio in the calculation of his child-support obligation and deciding not to impute additional income to Father. View "Dare v. Frost" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court modifying the visitation awarded to Father and denying Mother’s petition to modify the amount Father pays in child support. The Court held (1) under the circumstances of this case, the circuit court did not err in finding that there had been a material change in circumstances that justified modifying Father’s visitation with the parties’ child; and (2) the circuit court did not err in deciding not to include the increase in the value of Father’s stock portfolio in the calculation of his child-support obligation and deciding not to impute additional income to Father. View "Dare v. Frost" on Justia Law

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Appellant filed a notice of appeal from a circuit court’s grant of the Office of Child Support Enforcement’s motion to modify support and for judgment for past due child support. The court of appeals reversed the judgment. The Supreme Court granted Appellant’s petition for review, but Appellant then failed timely to file a brief for the court’s consideration. The Supreme Court vacated the court of appeals’ decision, dismissed the appeal, and reinstated the decision of the circuit court, holding that because Appellant failed to timely file a brief for the court’s consideration, there was no argument for reversal on the merits. View "Harley v. Dempster" on Justia Law

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Appellant filed a notice of appeal from a circuit court’s grant of the Office of Child Support Enforcement’s motion to modify support and for judgment for past due child support. The court of appeals reversed the judgment. The Supreme Court granted Appellant’s petition for review, but Appellant then failed timely to file a brief for the court’s consideration. The Supreme Court vacated the court of appeals’ decision, dismissed the appeal, and reinstated the decision of the circuit court, holding that because Appellant failed to timely file a brief for the court’s consideration, there was no argument for reversal on the merits. View "Harley v. Dempster" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court’s order granting Mother’s petition to relocate with the parties’ minor son, holding that the circuit court erred in applying the presumption in favor of relocation as set out in Hollandsworth v. Knyzewski, 109 S.W.3d 653 (Ark. 2003). In so holding, the Supreme Court clarified that the Hollandsworth presumption should be applied only when the parent seeking to relocate is not just labeled the “primary” custodian in the divorce decree but also spends significantly more time with the child than the other parent. The court proceeded to hold that the analysis set forth in Singletary v. Singletary, 431 S.W.3d 234 (Ark. 2013), governed Mother’s relocation petition rather than Hollandsworth and remanded for the lower court to apply this analysis to the facts in this case. View "Cooper v. Kalkwarf" on Justia Law

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In Pavan v. Smith, 137 S. Ct. 2075 (2017), the United States Supreme Court held that Arkansas’s birth-certificate law, Ark. Code Ann. 20-18-401, is unconstitutional to the extent it treats similarly-situated same-sex couples differently from opposite-sex couples. The Court thus reversed the judgment of the Arkansas Supreme Court and remanded for further proceedings consistent with the opinion of the Court. The Arkansas Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court, which “impermissibly rewrote the statutory scheme” and remanded for entry of a final judgment consistent with the mandate of the United States Supreme Court. On remand, the circuit court should award such relief as necessary to ensure that same-sex spouses are afforded the same right as opposite-sex spouses to be listed on a child’s birth certificate in Arkansas, as required under Pavan v. Smith. View "Smith v. Pavan" on Justia Law