FROM THE CRITTENDEN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 18DR-09-842],
HONORABLE DAN RITCHEY, JUDGE
Solutions, PLLC, d/b/a/ Riordan Law firm, by: Deborah Truby
Riordan, Little Rock, for appellants.
C. Hale III, for separate appellee Sheila Bailey.
and Thomas Kyle appeal the Crittenden County Circuit Courts
determination that it has continuing and exclusive
jurisdiction over the matter of the custody of BP2 (born
06/23/09). We reverse and dismiss.
case began on October 9, 2009, when the Office of Child
Support Enforcement filed a petition for a determination of
child support owed by Phillip Pollard, the father of BP1, PP,
and BP2. On April 14, 2010, the Crittenden
County Circuit Court entered an order of support stating that
Phillip owes a duty of support to BP2 and his two older
siblings. On May 7, Sheila Bailey (Alward), BP2s maternal
grandmother, filed a motion to intervene and a petition for
ex parte custody and permanent custody. Sheila explained that
the childrens mother, her daughter Ashley, had been arrested
on drug charges and that Ashleys minor children had been out
of their mothers care for an "extended period of
time" before the arrest. Sheila contended that Phillip
had no contact with the children, exercised limited and
sporadic visitation, had never paid child support, and lived
in an unstable and unfit home; thus, he was an unfit person
to have custody of the children, and she should be granted
custody. The circuit court granted Sheilas petition.
August 10, the circuit court entered an order setting forth
that "a guardianship is desirable to protect the
interests of the minor children" and directed that
Sheila receive all child-support payments.
died in October 2013. On February 6, 2014, Sheila wrote a
letter allowing Brenda and Thomas Kyle (BP2s paternal great
aunt and uncle) to enroll BP2 in a Mississippi school,
stating that while she is the legal guardian of BP2, "he
stays with my sister Brenda Kyle in Hernando, MS."
December 15, 2016, the Kyles filed a petition for adoption of
BP2 in the DeSoto County Chancery Court in Mississippi. On
January 13, 2017, Phillip, then living in Hernando,
Mississippi, filed an affidavit in the DeSoto County Chancery
Court voluntarily relinquishing his parental rights. On May
16, 2017, the Mississippi court entered an order for
emergency custody in favor of the Kyles and enjoined Sheila
from removing BP2 from their custody. The order granting
emergency custody was restated and confirmed by the
Mississippi court in subsequent orders entered June 5, August
9, and August 28, 2017, pending the Arkansas courts
determination of jurisdiction.
24, 2017, Sheila filed in the Crittenden County Circuit Court
a written objection to the transfer of jurisdiction to the
DeSoto County Chancery Court. In her objection, Sheila
asserted the following:
• On December 15, 2016, Brenda and Thomas Kyle filed a
petition for adoption of BP2 in the DeSoto County Chancery
• Sheila answered the petition for adoption and filed a
counterpetition requesting that the court recognize a foreign
decree and to transfer jurisdiction back to ...