Filing for divorce is a complicated process, with every state offering slightly different laws and regulations for the proceedings. It’s also an extremely emotionally fraught situation that can affect the most important aspects of a person’s life, like housing and child custody.
If you’re in the process of filing for divorce, or simply looking into it, we’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions to help you understand how divorce works in Arkansas.
What are the different types of divorce in Arkansas?
You can be granted a fault divorce, a no-fault divorce, and an uncontested divorce in Arkansas. All of these are handled differently in court, and some of them are much easier than others.
What is a fault divorce?
A fault divorce requires grounds that one spouse did something to the other that warrants a divorce. In Arkansas, some of these grounds for divorce include:
- Being convicted of a felony
- “Incurable insanity” for three years
- “Cruel and barbarous treatment”
- General indignities, meaning that life is generally completely intolerable with the spouse.
In a fault divorce, the defendant (the spouse that did not file the petition for divorce) can either accept the terms of the divorce or reject them. In the event of rejection, the plaintiff (spouse that did file for divorce) may have to produce proof of their claims.
What is a no-fault divorce?
A no-fault divorce in Arkansas means that you and your spouse can be granted a divorce without having to prove that either of you did something considered grounds for divorce.
Currently, the only way to obtain a no-fault divorce in Arkansas is by living separately for eighteen or more months. If you live together for even a few days during this time period, your eighteen months will start from the beginning.
What is an uncontested divorce?
An uncontested divorce can be granted if the couple completely agrees ahead of time on all aspects of the divorce. This includes division of property and debt if applicable, possible alimony, custody of children and child care, and child support.
It’s not always easy to be so level-headed about the process of divorce, but being able to rationally discuss the divorce with your spouse and decide how you’d like to handle things ahead of time can save you a lot of time, money, and heartache in the courts.
What about covenant marriages?
Arkansas is one of only three states in the U.S. that offers covenant marriages. These are very rare, and typically only pursued for religious reasons. A covenant marriage requires premarital counseling, and the couple typically has to sign paperwork stating their acknowledgment that marriage is for life.
If a couple in a covenant marriage wishes to divorce, it’s much more difficult for them than it is for standard marriages, because covenant marriages are designed to lower the divorce rate.
Seeking a divorce from a covenant marriage is very complicated, and in order to be granted a divorce the plaintiff has to prove that their spouse has committed adultery or a felony, has sexually assaulted them or their child, or is abusing substances. They can also be granted a divorce if they have been living completely separately for two years.
Couples in a covenant marriage seeking divorce may be required to complete marital counseling before filing for divorce.
Which type of divorce is easiest?
Divorce typically cannot be described as easy– it can be very contentious and emotionally difficult for all involved parties, especially if a couple has kids.
However, seeking a no-fault or uncontested divorce is by far the easiest route to go. An uncontested divorce requires complete agreement, which is not feasible for all divorcing couples, but if it’s at all possible the couple will save plenty of time and money.
Living apart for eighteen months can be difficult as well, especially if custody of kids is an issue, but it’s still a fairly straightforward process.
A fault divorce can require proof of very personal aspects of married life. The defendant can also reject the petition for divorce or deny the grounds, which adds a lot more time and stress to the process.
What’s the first step in filing for divorce?
The first step in the process of filing for a divorce should always be contacting a lawyer. At Digby Law Firm, we understand how difficult divorce proceedings can be, and we’re ready to support and protect you.
Our goal is to seek a fair division of assets that benefits both people as much as possible, and we’ll do everything in our power to make that happen. Give us a call today!