Arkansas Divorce FAQs

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Arkansas Divorce FAQs

Destiny Law divorce attorneys in Little Rock and Hot Springs, Arkansas are here for you. Here are answers to divorce FAQs—questions our divorce attorneys at Destiny Law are most commonly asked about divorce in Little Rock, Arkansas.

If I want a divorce from my spouse, what do I do first?

The first thing to do is get a snapshot of all of your assets. You need to know every asset you have prior to and during your marriage. The second thing to do is hire an experienced divorce attorney who will help you navigate your rights during this difficult process. View our divorce checklist for more information.

What are the grounds for divorce in Arkansas?

In Arkansas, there are seven grounds for which a divorce may be filed:

  • Adultery;
  • Impotency;
  • Conviction of a felony or infamous crime;
  • Habitual drunkenness;
  • Cruel and barbarous treatment;
  • General indignities; and
  • Living separately for 18 continuous months.

How to File for Divorce in Arkansas

The divorce process is fraught with challenges from filing a complaint about divorce to marriage dissolution and ensuing children’s custody and alimony. There are many legal hurdles when filing for divorce in Arkansas but our divorce lawyers can help! Here’s an easy guide for filing for divorce.

  1. Obtain and fill out the relevant divorce forms – The Complaint for Divorce Form determines where you’ll file or submit your form. The Complaint should be filed in the county in which you live or the county where the other party resides, if they have the children. The law requires that you must have lived in Arkansas for at least 60 days before commencing the divorce process.
  2. File your divorce forms – You’ll be required to provide a copy of the signed complaint to the clerk’s office or the circuit court in the county where the Complaint is to be filed. In return, they’ll give you a document with a stamp and notation that shows that the county court did receive your divorce papers. The clerk may issue a standard restraining order, which states that neither spouse shall remove the children from the jurisdiction of the court, dissipate assets and funds, or harass the other spouse.
  3. Serve your divorce forms to the defendant – You’re allowed to serve the divorce papers or your complaint to your spouse where they live. If the defendant agrees, they or their lawyer can accept the service. They should sign the “Entry of Appearance and Waiver of Service of Summons” form, available at the county clerk’s office or online through legal aid. You will need to provide the county sheriff or a private process server with the filed documents and the location of where your spouse can be served, and the sheriff or process server will deliver them personally to your spouse. Once they deliver the divorce papers to your spouse, the sheriff or process server will return the papers to you and you will need to have them filed with the clerk, which will prove to the court that your spouse received notice of the lawsuit. You also have the option of serving your spouse via registered mail. Should your spouse receive the package, the return receipt showing successful delivery is proof that you serve your spouse with the divorce papers. But if they refuse to be served, the court in Arkansas will acknowledge the certificate of refusal and proceed as if the spouse received the divorce documents. If your spouse’s whereabouts are unknown, you can ask the court for permission to issue a warning order. This is a document that advises the spouse that a lawsuit has been filed against them and that they have 30 days to respond to the lawsuit. After the court authorizes the warning order, you must contact a local newspaper in the county where your spouse lives and pay the newspaper to publish notice. If completed correctly, a warning order will meet the service requirement.
  4. Disclose your financials – The court may also require you to disclose your financials, which involves you and your spouse producing your income statements, list of assets and debts, tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements, and financial statements, as well as any document that contains information that the court or your spouse should know before marriage dissolution.

What is the difference between a marital settlement and a separation agreement?

A marital settlement is a propertycustody, and support settlement within a divorce decree. A separation agreement is not quite a decree of divorce, but more of a legal separation. You are still able to divide up assets, assign support, etc. However, you are still not legally divorced. A legal separation and its agreement can be converted into a divorce. Destiny Law divorce attorneys in Little Rock and Hot Springs can help you protect your rights in marital settlements and separation agreements.

How long must I be a resident of Arkansas to get a divorce?

You must be a resident of a county in Arkansas for 60 days in order to be able to file for divorce.

How to get a quick divorce in Arkansas

The easiest and fastest way to get a divorce in Arkansas is an uncontested divorce. With this type, you and your spouse agree to end your marriage based on your personal, economic, or health situations. Additionally, you and your spouse agree on the division of assets and debts, as well as child custody and visitation.

What is the difference between a contested and an uncontested divorce?

An uncontested divorce is when the parties have identified all of their assets, all of their debts, and every other issue that could be litigated in a divorce process and have come to an agreement. This can include child custody and child support, if those apply. In an uncontested divorce where both parties are in agreement, your divorce may be final in only about six weeks. A contested divorce is when there is something in which the parties disagree that must be decided by the court. Contested divorces usually require a minimum of six months to a year and a half, sometimes longer, depending on the disagreement between the parties.

How is property divided?

Marital property division is normally split 50/50, but there are exceptions to this. Some examples include:

  • In the event of adultery and the person who has committed the act of adultery has been spending marital money on a person who is not their spouse, then the spouse has the right to petition for Inequitable Distribution of the Marital Estate. This is when the non-adulterer asks the court to give them more than half of the marital estate because the adulterer spent marital funds on another person.
  • A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in which there is already an agreement in place of the division of property.
  • Inherited property and premarital property are not included in the division, unless it has been commingled.

How does adultery affect divorce in Arkansas?

Adultery is one of the grounds upon which you can ask the court to end your marriage legally. If adultery has occurred while you’re filing for divorce, consult a divorce attorney in Little Rock and seek their legal advice. The courts will consider adultery during the divorce process if the following holds:

  • The cheating spouse committed adultery and the victim spouse has proof, or the cheating spouse has admitted adultery occurred
  • The victim spouse consented or allowed their spouse to commit adultery; and/or
  • Both the litigant and the defendant committed adultery

While marital misconduct such as cheating serves as a ground for a fault-based divorce in Arkansas, it’s unlikely to affect alimony rewards. Among other things, the judge will consider how long the two parties have been legally married, their health and age, academic and career profiles, as well as total assets and liabilities each spouse will retain after the divorce, whether one spouse financed the other to get a degree or other professional qualification, and the ability of the payor spouse to make such payments as well as the necessity of the payee spouse to receive such payments.

Will I have to go to court in the case of a divorce?

The requirement to go to court depends on your situation. Even in an uncontested divorce, you may still be required to go to court. The only time parties in an uncontested divorce are not required to go to court is when they have been legally separated for 18 months and the judge approves of an Affidavit of Deposition. In most cases, even an uncontested divorce requires a short hearing with the clients and also a witness to verify in front of the court the grounds for divorce and the parties’ residency. Contact Destiny Law divorce attorneys in Little Rock to navigate this process.

How much does it cost to get divorced in Arkansas?

The cost for divorce depends on your situation, including the type of service you require and the county in which it is being filed. Uncontested divorces tend to cost less than contested divorces. If it is truly an uncontested divorce, then there will most likely be a $2,000 attorney fee plus costs that range from $165 up to $400.

However, in a contested divorce, you can expect a starting retainer of $3,500 and up depending on the complexity of the case. If there are children involved, then you can expect a higher starting retainer. In many cases, you are likely to spend up to $10,000 in a custody battle.

Contact Our Arkansas Divorce Lawyers

If you have questions not answered in these divorce FAQs, Destiny Law divorce lawyers offer one-hour consultations for a set fee to evaluate your case with you. We will explain to you how divorce law works and provide you with an overview of your rights. After this consultation, the required retainer and costs can then be estimated. Contact us today!