Arkansas Divorce Laws

Arkansas Divorce

In order to file for a divorce in the state of Arkansas, either you or your spouse must have been a resident of the state for a minimum of 60 days prior to filing. Furthermore, at least 3 full months must have passed before the judgment is granted for the divorce to be finalized. This process must be completed within 30 days of filing for the divorce. As prescribed by Arkansas Code § 9-12-307(a)(1)(A) and (B), any individual wishing to pursue a divorce in this state must adhere to these residency requirements.

Arkansas Divorce LawsDepending on the place of residency and each specific situation, individuals are to file for divorce in different courts. Arkansas residency requirements state that at least one of the individuals needs to be an Arkansas state resident for a minimum of sixty days before a case can be filed. Arkansas also states that there must be a mandatory waiting period of three months before a divorce case can be finalized.

Divorce cases are to be filed in the resident’s county. When the individual filing for divorce is not a resident of Arkansas but the other spouse is, the case will be filed in the county court of the other spouse. Under these circumstances, the case may be switched to another county due to non-resident proceedings.

Divorce residency requirements for Arkansas

In order to be able to file for divorce in Arkansas, you must ensure that the Chancery Court holds jurisdiction over your case. Usually being able to meet the requirements is only a concern for those who have moved or who are planning to move in the future. The requirements for filing for divorce are as follows:

  • The spouse filing for divorce must be a resident in Arkansas for at least a period of 60 days.
  • There will be a 3-month period of waiting after filing for divorce until the divorce will be finalized.
  • Any divorce proceedings will be held in the county in which the complainant resides.

Filing Grounds in Arkansas

When a divorce is brought to the court, the grounds on which the divorce shall be based are required. The individuals will need to come to an agreement on which grounds their divorce is to be based or those for which the individual filing for divorce will stand to prove to the circuit court. Arkansas has different sections for the grounds that are lawful to be filed under.

The first section of divorcing grounds is called no-fault grounds. Under this section, those involved in the divorce case must have not lived in the same residence or must have been physically separated for a minimum of eighteen months without break. By law, the court has the right to petition divorce of the absolute decree to one or both individuals depending on if the separation was a mutual decision or due to one individual’s fault.

The second grounds section for which divorce is to be filed is called fault grounds. These grounds will name one individual as responsible for the dissolution of the marriage. Fault grounds include addiction to alcohol for a minimum of one year; current and previous impotence of one individual; cruel treatment towards the other individual that may endanger life; convictions of a serious offense or a felony offense; committing adultery while espoused; and specific indignities that name the marriage as intolerable.

Divorce Basics

A certain kind of language is used in court that is not usually used elsewhere. Titles are given and the terms used can be confusing. The individual who is filing for divorce in domestic relations or family law court is called the plaintiff. The individual who did not file for divorce and was later served by the court is called the defendant. The document that is initially filed through the court is called the Complaint about Divorce and the Decree of Divorce. These documents can contain as many as twenty different forms to be processed.

Filing with the Court in Arkansas

You must file your Arkansas divorce papers in the court located in the County where you presently reside. We will provide the court information in the documents that we send to you, but some of the courts in Arkansas are listed below:

Pulaski County Circuit Court:
401 W. Markham, Little Rock, AR 72201

Jefferson County Circuit Court:
101 W. Barraque St., Pine Bluff, AR 71601 Phone: (870) 541-5311

Washington County Circuit Court:
280 N. College, #300, Fayetteville, 72701 Phone: (479) 444-1538 Fax: (479) 444-1537

Sebastian County Circuit Court:
P.O. Box 1089, Fort Smith, AR 72901 Phone: (479) 782-1046 Fax: 784-1580

Sebastian County Circuit Court:
P.O. Box 310, Greenwood, AR 72936 Phone: (479) 996-4175 Fax: 996-6885

Craighead County Circuit Court:
511 S. Main St., Jonesboro, AR 72403 Phone: (870) 933-4530 Fax: 933-4534

If your County court is not listed, the information for your court will be included in the divorce papers we send you.

Filing for divorce in Arkansas

In order to apply for a divorce in Arkansas, you will need to file an initial document, which is called the “Complaint for Divorce”. However, there has to be a good reason for requesting a divorce and the marriage can only be terminated under certain conditions, which are as follows and are classed as either no-fault based grounds or fault-based grounds:

No-fault based grounds

In the state of Arkansas, no-fault grounds for divorce exist when both parties mutually agree that the purpose of the marriage has expired and neither partner is at fault. This ground offers individuals a way to peacefully separate and dissolve their marital bond without assigning blame to either party. No-fault divorces can be easier to obtain than other types of divorces, providing an amicable way forward for those who have reached a point in their relationship where reconciliation is no longer possible.

  1. If the married couple has been living apart and separate for a period of 18 months
  2. The mutual consent of both partners or a fault of either spouse or both

Fault-based grounds

In the state of Arkansas, individuals may pursue a fault-based divorce in the event that one spouse is deemed at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. Fault-based divorces have 8 distinct grounds that must be satisfied under Arkansas law, all of which have to have happened within 5 years of filing for the divorce. Note that if the reason for wanting to divorce happened in another state, it still has to be accepted as valid by Arkansas. The 8 fault-based grounds for divorce in Arkansas are adultery, desertion, impotency, habitual drunkenness, imprisonment, cruel treatment or personal indignities, drug addiction, and any attempts on the injured party’s life.

  1. Impotence – The inability of your spouse to engage in sexual intercourse at the commencement of marriage and ongoing.
  2. Felony conviction – Your spouse is found guilty of a major criminal offense by a court of law.
  3. Drunkenness – Your spouse frequently consumes excessive alcohol over a specified timeframe.
  4. Cruel and inhuman treatment – Harsh actions from your spouse that jeopardize your physical or mental well-being.
  5. Humiliation – Degrading behavior from your spouse making daily life exceedingly troublesome.
  6. Adultery – Your spouse being unfaithful through sexual relations outside of marriage.
  7. Incurable insanity – Your spouse has an untreatable mental affliction requiring long-term institutionalization.
  8. Lack of support – Your spouse fails to provide court-ordered maintenance despite possessing the capability.

Arkansas Code – Title 9 – Chapters: 12-301

Property division factors when divorcing

Where possible property division (Arkansas Code Title 9. Family Law § 9-12-315) should be undertaken by the parties themselves, in which case they must sign a marital settlement agreement. Otherwise, property division is done through the Chancery court within the decree of divorce. As Arkansas is designated as, being an “equitable distribution” state, property division will be as follows:

  1. There will be a discovery process first to determine which property and assets are classed as marital.
  2. A monetary value will have to be assigned to the marital property.
  3. Lastly, the assets will be distributed between the two parties in an equitable fashion which is deemed fair by the Chancery Court.

Usually, the court will give each party one-half unless this does not seem to be a fair solution. If not then factors such as the following may be taken into account:

  1. How long the couple has been married
  2. The age and health of both parties
  3. Their occupations
  4. The amount of income and the sources of income
  5. Vocational skills and employability
  6. The estate, liability, and needs of each of the partners
  7. The contribution of each of the parties, preservation or appreciation of any marital property, which will include the services of the homemaker
  8. The consequences of Federal income tax after property division

Alimony in Arkansas

If you are going through a divorce in Arkansas, you may be entitled to alimony (Ark. Code § 9-12-312). Also known as spousal support, alimony is financial aid granted by the court to provide additional support to one spouse. This support can be indefinite or temporary depending on the circumstances of your case and the wish of the judge deciding the matter.

To determine if someone qualifies for alimony, the court will assess factors such as each party’s income, expenses, and property acquired during the marriage. It is also possible to petition the court to review and modify an existing alimony order due to any significant change of circumstances.

Child custody, support, and visitation

The child’s best interests are always taken into account by an Arkansas court. So when making a decision regarding the custody of children both parents will be given equal consideration. If the child is deemed as having the ability and capacity to reason, regardless of their age then their opinion will also be heard by the courts.

Any history of domestic violence according to Arkansas Code – Title 9 – Chapters: 13-101 and the future and past roles of the parents will also be taken into account.

Courts prefer that both parties work out custody issues themselves. However, if this is not possible then the courts will intervene to decide, considering the above factors.

FAQs on Divorce in Arkansas

How long do you have to be separated in Arkansas to get a divorce?

In Arkansas, there is no legal requirement for spouses to be separated before filing for divorce. However, if one spouse contests the divorce, there must be proof of a separation of at least 18 months prior to filing.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Arkansas if both parties agree?

The process of obtaining a divorce in Arkansas can usually take anywhere from six weeks to twelve months depending on the complexity of the case. Once the petition is filed, the court generally takes 30 days to review the documents and issue a final decree.

Does the wife get half in divorce in Arkansas?

Under Arkansas law, property acquired during a marriage is subject to equitable division in a divorce. This means that each spouse will receive an equal share of marital assets unless the court finds that an unequal division would be more just and reasonable.

What is the protocol to split assets in a divorce in Arkansas?

When dividing assets in a divorce in Arkansas, courts typically consider the income, contribution, and needs of each spouse when determining how to equitably divide the assets. Spouses should try to come to an agreement on how assets will be divided so as to avoid costly litigation and delays associated with adjudicating asset divisions.

Who gets the house in a divorce in Arkansas?

If spouses cannot reach an agreement regarding the division of assets, then the court will make an equitable distribution of marital property. Courts typically consider factors such as household finances, contributions of each spouse, length of the marriage, and other relevant factors when making its decision.

Who gets alimony in Arkansas?

Whether alimony is awarded is determined on a case-by-case basis after considering various factors including income contribution and need. Both spouses must demonstrate financial need in order for alimony to be awarded.

How much does a divorce cost in Arkansas?

The cost of getting a divorce in Arkansas varies depending on the complexity of a given case and whether or not both parties are able to reach an agreement. Generally, uncontested divorces tend to be less expensive than contested divorces due to lower attorney fees and court costs.

Is Arkansas an alimony state?

Yes, Alabama is an alimony state meaning that alimony, or spousal support, may be awarded to either party upon dissolution of marriage.

Is marriage counseling required before divorce in Arkansas?

No, while some states require couples to attend marriage counseling prior to filing for divorce, this is not required in Arkansas. However, they may wish to seek out counseling services on their own accord in order to manage any marital issues they may be facing.

What are irreconcilable differences in Arkansas divorce?

A court may grant a divorce based on irreconcilable differences if both parties agree that there are fundamental conflicts between them that cannot be resolved. These conflicts must render the marriage irretrievably broken and make continuing it impractical and not in the best interest of either party.

What is an irreconcilable difference?

An irreconcilable difference is defined as a fundamental conflict between two individuals that cannot be resolved. This term is used by most states when granting divorces based on irreconcilable differences.

Do you have to have a reason to divorce in Arkansas?

In Arkansas, no-fault divorces are allowed and couples do not need to provide evidence of fault (e.g. infidelity) in order to obtain one. Either spouse may file for divorce based on irreconcilable differences without providing evidence that either party was wrong or acted inappropriately.

What is the 9 12 315 law in Arkansas?

The 9 12 315 law of Arkansas refers to laws related to the distribution of marital asset and debt during a divorce or legal separation. Specifically, this statute dictates how assets and debts are divided among spouses when dissolving a marriage.

Is Arkansas a 50 50 custody state?

Not necessarily – while joint custody is becoming increasingly common in Arkansas family courts, child custody arrangements are determined on a case-by-case basis depending on the unique circumstances of each family and what would be in the best interest of the child(ren).

How do you split finances in a divorce?

If spouses cannot reach an agreement on how to divide their financial assets, then a judge will decide how these funds should be allocated upon dissolution of the marriage through equitable distribution. Typically, courts will consider factors such as income contribution and need when making decisions regarding asset division. Additionally, they may also look at who initiated the divorce proceedings and any prenuptial agreements that are in place.

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