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Home > Arkansas > Divorce Law
Divorce Law Arkansas
DIVORCE LAW ARKANSAS
 
GROUNDS FOR ANNULMENT
 
When either of the parties to a marriage is incapable from want of age or understanding of consenting to any marriage, or is incapable of entering into the marriage state due to physical causes, or where the consent of either party shall have been obtained by force or fraud, the marriage shall be void from the time its nullity shall be declared by a court of competent jurisdiction.
 
RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT
 
The residency requirement for a spouse to file for divorce in Arkansas shall be for 60 days and for 3 months before a divorce will be finalized. The divorce should be filed in the county of the plaintiff. However, if the plaintiff is a non-resident of Arkansas, the divorce may be filed in the county where the defendant resides.
 
LEGAL GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE
 
As per the law of Arkansas the grounds for divorce may be
  1. no-fault ground or
  2. general ground/fault ground
No-Fault
 
The no- fault ground as described in the code for divorce is simply being voluntarily living separately without cohabitation for 18 months.
 
General
 
The general grounds as described in the code for divorce may include the following:
  1. Impotence;
  2. adultery;
  3. confinement for incurable insanity or separation caused by mental illness for a period of 3 years;
  4. conviction of a felony;
  5. cruel and inhuman treatment which endangers the life of the spouse;
  6. personal indignities;
  7. habitual intemperance (drunkenness) for 1 year;
  8. commission and/or conviction of an infamous crime; and
  9. nonsupport whereby the spouse is able to provide support but willfully fails to provide suitable maintenance for the complaining spouse.
FILING A COMPLAINT FOR DIVORCE
 
A complaint for divorce may be filed with the Chancery Court of the county where plaintiff resides. However for filing the divorce petition the plaintiff has to meet the Residency requirement mentioned above.
 
LEGAL SEPARATION
 
A legal separation may be granted by the court for the following reasons:
  1. Impotence;
  2. adultery;
  3. confinement for incurable insanity or separation caused by mental illness for a period of 3 years;
  4. conviction of a felony;
  5. willful desertion for 1 year;
  6. cruel and inhuman treatment which endangers the life of the spouse;
  7. personal indignities;
  8. habitual intemperance (drunkenness) for 1 year;
  9. commission and/or conviction of an infamous crime;
  10. voluntary separation for 18 months; and
  11. nonsupport whereby the spouse is able to provide support but willfully fails to provide suitable maintenance for the complaining spouse.
SIMPLIFIED OR SPECIAL DIVORCE PROCEDURES
 
In an uncontested divorce, proof of a spouse's residency, proof of separation, and proof of no cohabitation may be provided by a signed affidavit from a third party. In addition, in an uncontested divorce, proof of the grounds for divorce need not be corroborated by a third party.
 
WAITING PERIOD BEFORE RENDITION OF DECREE
 
Unless the parties shall have lived separate and apart from each other for a period of twelve (12) months next before the filing of the complaint or unless the defendant is constructively summoned by publication of warning order, no decree of absolute divorce or of divorce from bed and board shall be rendered in any action brought on any grounds except bigamy before the thirtieth day following the day upon which the action for divorce is commenced.
 
PROPERTY DISTRIBUTION
 
The law of Property Distribution applicable on divorce in Arkansas is based on the principle of "equitable distribution". According to which all the marital property acquired during the marriage is divided equally between the spouses.
 
However, if the court finds the division to be unfair, it may redistribute the property, after consideration of the following factors:
  1. the contribution of each spouse to the preservation, appreciation, or acquisition of the marital property, including the contribution of each spouse as homemaker;
  2. the length of the marriage;
  3. the age, health, and station in life of the spouses;
  4. the occupation of the spouses;
  5. the amount and sources of income of the spouses;
  6. the vocational skills of the spouses;
  7. the employability of the spouses;
  8. the estate, liabilities, and needs of each spouse and the opportunity of each for further acquisition of capital assets and income;
  9. and the federal income tax consequences of the court's division of the property.
The separate property of each spouse, consisting of property acquired prior to the marriage, and any gifts or inheritances, is retained by the spouse owning it, unless the court finds it necessary to divide the separate property in order to achieve an equitable distribution.
 
ALIMONY/MAINTENANCE/SPOUSAL SUPPORT
 
Alimony may be granted to either spouse in fixed installments for a specific period of time.
 
The alimony to the spouse is automatically terminated upon the death of either spouse, remarriage of the receiving spouse, or the establishment by the receiving spouse of a relationship that produces a child or children.
 
Where the grounds for divorce are voluntary separation for 3 years, fault may be considered in dividing the property. The factors for consideration specified in the statute are that the amount be reasonable based on the circumstances of the parties and the nature of the case. Alimony payments may be ordered to be paid through the registry of the court.
 
CUSTODY AND SUPPORT OF THE CHILD
 
Custody
 
The court may award joint/ shared/ individual custody of child based on the welfare and best interests of the child, after taking into consideration of the following factors:
  1. the circumstances of the parents and child;
  2. the nature of the case;
  3. which parent is most likely to allow frequent and continuing contact with the other parent; and
  4. any acts of domestic violence.
Joint or shared custody may been awarded if it is found to be in the best interests of the child. The sex of the parent is not a factor for decisions relating to child custody. A grandparent of a child may petition the court to request continuing contact with the child.
 
Support
 
In awarding a reasonable amount of child support, the court shalll first lookinto the following factors:
  1. the circumstances of the parents and child and
  2. the nature of the case. Child support payments may be ordered to be paid through the registry of the court and the court may require that a bond securing payment be required.
There is an official Arkansas Family Support guidelines chart which is presumed to be correct, unless the court finds that the amount would be inappropriate or unjust, considering the following factors:
  1. any necessary medical, dental, or psychological care or insurance;
  2. the creation or maintenance of trust fund for the child;
  3. daycare expenses;
  4. extraordinary time spent with the non-custodial parent; and
  5. any additional support provided by the parent obligated to pay support.
This chart should be available from the Clerk of any Chancery Court. In addition, an official Affidavit of Financial Means must be filed with divorce cases which involve issues relating to child support.
 
VISITATION
 
Grandparent Rights to Visitation
 
Parents' marriage terminated by death, divorce, or legal separation, or if child is in the custody or guardianship of a person other than one or both of his natural or adoptive parents. Upon adoption terminates any visitation rights unless the grandparent intervenes in the adoption and requests the right to visitation.


 
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