Obtaining a divorce in Arkansas is a complicated and time consuming process that will likely require the aid of an attorney. Obtaining a divorce order takes a minimum of 30 days and the divorce will not become final until after a 3-month waiting period from the time of the initial filing. To file in Arkansas, at least one spouse must be a resident for at least 60 days before the Complaint for Divorce is filed. In the complaint, the filing party must allege a proper legal reason for ending the divorce (whether this is a “fault” or “no-fault” divorce). In Arkansas proper grounds for a divorce include:
- A felony conviction
- Habitual drunkenness
- Cruel treatment
- Irreconcilable differences
- Separation (spouses have lived apart for 18 months straight)
- Incurable insanity for 1 year and 3 years living apart
- Financial abandonment
In addition to a required legal reason, the Complaint for Divorce should also address any other issues involved in the divorce such as dividing property, child custody, child support, and alimony.
A legal separation agreement tends to function a lot like a divorce but it does not end the marriage. Like divorce, a separation agreement can be used to resolve issues such as dividing property, child custody, child support, and alimony. If accepted by the judge, a separation agreement is legally binding and can be enforced in court. Generally, a judge will accept a separation agreement if it is agreed to in writing by both spouses and the agreement appears to be fair.
To start the process for a divorce, a Complaint for Divorce must be filed by one of the spouses in a proper Arkansas local court. In order begin the process, one spouse must file a Complaint for Divorce with the proper local court. If the spouse filing for divorce is an Arkansas resident, the proper court is their local county court. If the filing spouse is not a resident of Arkansas, the proper local court is the county court of the spouse that is a resident of Arkansas. Divorce packets for divorces without children or expensive property can be filled out on the Arkansas Legal Services website.
Community property, or marital property, consists of most of the assets and debts that a couple acquires during the marriage. On the other hand, separate property, is the property that a spouse owned before the marriage or received during the marriage as a gift or inheritance. This distinction is important because separate property is usually not subject to division in divorce. It is important to know that separate property can become community property through actions like placing your spouse on the title of the property.
As part of the divorce the judge will issue a child custody order and parenting plan that will detail the parental rights and obligations over the marital children. Child custody can be very complicated and stressful, so if you have concerns about child custody it is important to talk to a lawyer.
But regardless of who retains custody after a divorce or separation, both parents are responsible for supporting the children of the marriage. At the very minimum, the court will order the non-custodial parent to make child support payments.
When the judge declares a divorce, it is possible that he will order one of the spouses to make temporary alimony payments. A judge may impose alimony payments if he finds that one spouse has financial need and the other spouse can pay. The responsibility to pay alimony will end if the person receiving alimony remarries or has a relationship that results in a child.
Going through a divorce can be an emotionally charged experience and involves complicated legal issues related to property division, child custody, child support, alimony, etc. If you are looking for an attorney to aid you navigate this process, then contact a local Arkansas divorce lawyer today to get the help you need.