Divorce Law: Grounds for Divorce in Arkansas
|Grounds for Divorce||Description|
|Adultery||One spouse engages in sexual activity with someone outside the marriage.|
|Impotence||One spouse is unable to consummate the marriage and the other spouse was unaware of this at the time of the marriage.|
|Alcoholism or drug addiction||One spouse has a persistent alcohol or drug addiction that interferes with the marriage.|
|Cruelty||One spouse engages in physical or emotional abuse towards the other spouse or children.|
|Conviction of a felony||One spouse is convicted of a felony and is sentenced to imprisonment for more than one year.|
|Living separate and apart||The spouses have lived separate and apart from each other for 18 months and there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation.|
Grounds for Divorce in Arkansas
On the other hand, if one or both parties believe that the other has committed some form of misconduct during their marriage, a fault-based divorce may be pursued. The grounds for a fault-based divorce in Arkansas include:
- Alcohol or drug addiction
- Felonies with conviction and imprisonment
If one spouse can prove that the other committed any of these acts, they may be granted a fault-based divorce. However, it’s important to note that proving fault can make the process more complicated and contentious.
Definition of Grounds for Divorce
Grounds for divorce refer to the legal reasons that a couple can use to dissolve their marriage. In Arkansas, there are two types of grounds for divorce: no-fault and fault-based.
No-fault grounds are based on the fact that the couple has irreconcilable differences or have been living separately for at least 18 months without cohabitation. This means that neither party needs to prove any wrongdoing by their spouse in order to obtain a divorce.
Fault-based grounds, on the other hand, require one or both spouses to provide evidence of misconduct by their partner during the marriage. The idea behind this is that one spouse’s wrongful conduct caused the breakdown of the marriage and therefore justifies its dissolution. Fault-based divorces are less common than no-fault divorces because they require proof of misconduct which can be difficult and expensive to obtain.
No-Fault Grounds for Divorce
As mentioned earlier, no-fault grounds for divorce in Arkansas are based on the fact that the couple has irreconcilable differences or have been living separately for at least 18 months without cohabitation. This type of divorce is generally less complicated and contentious than a fault-based divorce because neither party needs to prove any wrongdoing by their spouse.
If you’re considering filing for a no-fault divorce in Arkansas, here’s what you need to know:
- You must be able to demonstrate that you and your spouse have irreconcilable differences. This means that there is no reasonable hope of reconciliation between the two of you.
- If you and your spouse have been living apart for at least 18 months without cohabitation, this can also be used as a basis for a no-fault divorce.
- No-fault divorces typically take less time and are less expensive than fault-based divorces since there is no need to gather evidence of misconduct or prove fault.
Living Separate and Apart for 18 Months
It’s important to note that just because you’ve been living apart from your spouse doesn’t automatically mean the court will grant a divorce. You still need to demonstrate irreconcilable differences between both parties. If one party contests the separation, it may result in a longer process or even a fault-based divorce if misconduct is proven.
Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage
If you’re considering filing for divorce based on irretrievable breakdown of your marriage, here are some things to keep in mind:
- You must provide evidence that your marriage has broken down beyond repair. This may include counseling records or other documentation showing that attempts at reconciliation have been unsuccessful.
- The court will consider factors such as the length of the marriage, whether there are children involved, and any financial issues when making decisions about property division and spousal support.
- An experienced family law attorney can help you navigate through this process and ensure that your rights are protected throughout the divorce proceedings.
Fault-Based Grounds for Divorce
Fault-based grounds for divorce in Arkansas require one or both spouses to provide evidence of misconduct by their partner during the marriage. As previously mentioned, the fault-based grounds for divorce in Arkansas include adultery, cruelty, impotence, alcohol or drug addiction and felonies with conviction and imprisonment.
If you’re considering filing for a fault-based divorce in Arkansas based on one of these grounds, here’s what you need to know:
- You must be able to provide proof that your spouse committed the alleged act(s) which led to the breakdown of the marriage. This can involve gathering evidence such as photographs, witness statements or financial records.
- The process of proving fault can make the divorce more contentious and time-consuming than a no-fault divorce.
- If you successfully prove that your spouse is at fault for causing the breakdown of your marriage, this may affect issues related to property division and spousal support (alimony).
If you’re considering filing for divorce based on adultery in Arkansas, here are some things you should know:
- Adultery can be difficult to prove since it often occurs in secret and without witnesses. Therefore, obtaining sufficient evidence may require hiring a private investigator or gathering electronic evidence such as text messages or emails.
- In order to file for divorce based on adultery, it is important to act quickly once you have discovered your spouse’s infidelity. Delaying too long could result in an argument that your actions condone their behavior.
- While proving fault may make you feel vindicated or justified morally if you win at trial court level; however, this also has its drawbacks including costly legal fees and increased animosity between both parties
In Arkansas, one of the grounds for a fault-based divorce is felony conviction. If one spouse has been convicted of a felony and sentenced to imprisonment, the other spouse can file for divorce on these grounds.
Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re considering filing for a fault-based divorce based on your spouse’s felony conviction:
- You must be able to prove that your spouse was convicted of a felony and sentenced to prison. This will typically involve obtaining court records or other legal documentation.
- The conviction must have resulted in actual imprisonment. If your spouse received probation instead of jail time, this may not qualify as grounds for divorce under Arkansas law.
- If you choose to pursue a fault-based divorce based on felony conviction, it’s important to work with an experienced attorney who can help guide you through the process and ensure that your rights are protected throughout.
- In order to pursue a fault-based divorce on the grounds of impotence, one spouse must prove that their partner was unable or unwilling to consummate the marriage.
- The court may require medical evidence or testimony from witnesses in order to establish impotence.
- If granted, an impotence-based divorce will typically result in a division of property and spousal support similar to other types of fault-based divorces.
It’s important to note that proving impotence can be difficult and sensitive, so it’s recommended that you speak with an experienced family law attorney before pursuing this type of divorce. Additionally, it’s worth noting that some couples may choose not to file for divorce based on this ground due to its highly personal nature.
Habitual Drunkenness or Drug Use
In Arkansas, habitual drunkenness or drug use is considered a fault-based ground for divorce. This means that if one spouse can prove that the other has a habit of excessive alcohol consumption or drug use which negatively impacts their marriage, they may be granted a divorce based on this ground.
If you’re considering filing for divorce in Arkansas based on habitual drunkenness or drug use by your spouse, here’s what you need to know:
- You must be able to provide evidence that your spouse has engaged in excessive drinking or drug use which caused problems in your marriage.
- The evidence could include police reports, medical records, eyewitness testimony from family and friends, and photographs showing signs of substance abuse such as empty bottles and syringes.
- It’s important to note that proving habitual drunkenness or drug use can be difficult and costly. You should consult with an experienced divorce attorney who can advise you on the best course of action.
In addition to fault-based and no-fault grounds for divorce, Arkansas also recognizes a unique ground known as “incurable insanity”.
If one spouse has been declared incurably insane by a licensed physician and has been confined to an institution for at least three years, the other spouse may file for divorce on these grounds.
Here are some important things to keep in mind if you’re considering filing for divorce on the grounds of incurable insanity:
- The process can be complex and may require extensive documentation from medical professionals.
- The petitioning spouse must demonstrate that their partner is incurably insane according to state law.
- If granted, this type of divorce does not absolve the non-insane spouse of any financial obligations they have towards their partner such as alimony or child support.
Cruelty or Abuse
If you believe that your spouse has been abusive towards you and are considering filing for divorce on these grounds in Arkansas it is important to note:
- You will need evidence such as police reports; medical records documenting injuries sustained from incidents of domestic violence; witness statements from family members or friends who have seen signs or heard about incidents where your partner was violent with you.
- Filing for a divorce based on cruelty may be more complicated than a no-fault divorce because it requires proof of misconduct by one party which can lead to contentious legal proceedings
If you believe that your spouse has subjected you to indignities during your marriage, you may be able to file for a fault-based divorce on these grounds. However, keep in mind that proving indignities can be difficult since it’s often a matter of one person’s word against another.
If you’re considering filing for divorce in Arkansas based on indignities, it’s important to speak with an experienced family law attorney who can help guide you through the process and advise you on what evidence will be needed to support your case.
It’s important to note that meeting these residency requirements does not guarantee that your divorce will be granted. You will still need to provide grounds for your divorce and go through all necessary legal proceedings.
If you’re unsure whether you meet the residency requirements or need help understanding any aspect of divorce law in Arkansas, it may be helpful to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can guide you through the process.
How Long Must You Live in Arkansas to File for Divorce?
It’s important to note that meeting these residency requirements does not guarantee that your divorce will be granted. You will still need to provide sufficient evidence of grounds for divorce and work through any issues related to property division, child custody, and support payments with your spouse.
What if Both Spouses Don’t Live in Arkansas?
It’s also important to note that if one spouse files for divorce in another state and the other spouse contests it, there may be legal battles over jurisdiction. This can be complex and expensive, so it’s generally best if both parties can agree on where to file for divorce.
If you’re unsure about your options or what steps you need to take next regarding filing for divorce from another state outside of Arkansas, it’s recommended that you consult with an experienced family law attorney who can guide you through the process and help protect your rights as well as providing proper guidance throughout every step along the way.
Filing for Divorce
Once these initial steps have been completed, here’s what happens next:
- Your spouse has 30 days to respond after being served with the divorce papers. If they don’t respond within this time frame, you may be able to obtain a default judgment granting your request for a divorce.
- If both parties agree on all issues related to property division, child custody and support payments, alimony etc., an uncontested hearing can be scheduled by submitting signed agreements between both parties.
- If any disputes arise between parties regarding aforementioned issues then contested hearings will be held where evidence is presented before judge who makes decisions based on laws applicable in Arkansas state.
How to File for Divorce in Arkansas
After these initial steps are completed, here’s what else you can expect:
- Your spouse will have an opportunity to respond to your petition within 30 days after they receive it.
- If there is disagreement about any issues related to property division, child custody or support payments, both parties may need to appear in court several times over a period of months while these issues are resolved.
- Finally, once all disputes have been resolved and agreed upon between spouses (either by mutual agreement or court order), a final decree of divorce will be issued terminating the marriage legally.
What to Expect During the Divorce Process
It’s important to note that every divorce case is different depending on individual circumstances. Hiring an experienced family law attorney can help guide you through the legal system and protect your interests throughout this difficult time.
One of the most important aspects of divorce is property division. In Arkansas, marital assets and debts are divided according to the principles of equitable distribution. This means that all marital property and debt must be divided fairly but not necessarily equally between both parties.
Here are some key things to keep in mind when it comes to property division in Arkansas:
- Marital property includes any assets or debts acquired during the marriage by either spouse, regardless of how they are titled.
- Separate property includes any assets or debts owned by one spouse prior to the marriage, as well as gifts or inheritances received by one spouse during the marriage that were intended for them alone.
- The court considers several factors when dividing marital property, including each spouse’s income and earning potential, their age and health, their contributions to the marriage (both financial and non-financial), and any other relevant factors.
If you’re going through a divorce in Arkansas, it’s important to work with an experienced attorney who can help protect your rights and interests throughout every stage of the process – including property division.
Community Property vs. Equitable Distribution
Once the grounds for divorce have been established, it’s time to move on to the division of property. In Arkansas, there are two ways that property is typically divided in a divorce: community property and equitable distribution.
Community property refers to any assets or debts that were acquired during the marriage. This means that both spouses have an equal right to these assets and debts, regardless of who earned them or whose name they are in. In Arkansas, community property laws do not apply, so courts will divide marital property according to what is considered “equitable distribution.”
Equitable distribution means that all marital property will be divided fairly but not necessarily equally between both parties. Here are some things you should know about how equitable distribution works in Arkansas:
- The court will consider various factors when dividing marital property including each spouse’s contribution to the marriage (financially or otherwise), their earning capacity, their health and age, and any other relevant factors.
- The court may also take into account any prenuptial agreements signed by the couple before getting married which dictate how assets should be divided in case of divorce.
- If there are children involved, the court may prioritize their needs over those of either parent when deciding how to divide marital property.
Factors Considered in Property Division
It’s important to note that only marital property will be divided by the court; separate property will remain with its owner. Marital property refers to any assets or debts acquired during the course of a marriage while separate property includes anything owned prior to getting married.
If you’re going through a divorce in Arkansas and have concerns about how your assets will be divided, it’s recommended that you seek legal advice from an experienced family law attorney who can help guide you through this process.
Child Custody and Support
In terms of child support, Arkansas uses an income shares model which means that both parents’ income is taken into consideration when calculating how much support should be paid. The amount paid will depend on various factors such as:
- The income level of both parents
- The number of children involved
- Custodial arrangement (joint/shared versus sole)
- Social security benefits received by either spouse
- Mandatory retirement contributions made by one or both spouses.
If you’re going through a divorce with children involved, it’s essential to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can help guide you through these complex issues.
Types of Custody Arrangements
In determining which type of arrangement is in the best interests of the child(ren), courts in Arkansas consider various factors including:
- The age and health of the child
- The emotional ties between each parent and the child
- The ability of each parent to provide for the needs of the child
- The wishes of the child (if they are old enough to express them)
Ultimately, any agreement or order regarding child custody should prioritize what is best for the well-being and happiness of any children involved. It’s essential that both parents work together towards this common goal even if there is conflict over other aspects related to their divorce.
Factors Considered in Determining Child Custody
Here are some of the factors that may be considered:
- The child’s age and gender
- The physical and mental health of each parent
- The emotional bond between each parent and their child
- Each parent’s ability to provide for the basic needs of their child, including food, shelter, clothing, medical care and education
- The quality of schools in each parent’s neighborhood or school district
- Each parent’s willingness to cooperate with one another regarding matters concerning their child after separation or divorce
- The amount of child support that must be paid is calculated based on both parents’ incomes. The non-custodial parent typically pays a percentage of their income to the custodial parent who is responsible for providing for the daily needs of the child.
- The court may also consider other factors when determining how much child support should be paid, such as the age and health of the child, childcare expenses, medical expenses not covered by insurance, educational expenses and any special needs or disabilities.
- If either parent experiences significant changes in circumstances after an initial order for child support has been issued (such as job loss or increased income), they can request a modification from the court.
- In Arkansas, there are several types of alimony: temporary, rehabilitative, permanent or lump sum.
- The purpose of alimony is to provide support for a spouse who has significantly less income than their former partner after the divorce. The goal is usually to help them maintain a similar standard of living as they had during marriage.
- The amount and duration of alimony payments depend on various factors such as each spouse’s earning capacity, education level, age and health status.
In addition to these considerations, Arkansas law also requires judges to give special consideration to certain factors when awarding joint custody. These include:
- (a) The fitness and suitability of both parents;
- (b) Whether both parents agree on joint custody;
- (c) Whether both parents have participated equally in raising their child prior to separation;
- (d) Whether either parent has committed domestic violence against either spouse or a child; and
- (e) Any other factor that affects the best interest of the minor children.
If you’re going through a divorce with children involved, it’s important to work closely with an experienced family law attorney who can help you navigate this complex process.
Child Support Guidelines
One of the most important issues that arise during a divorce involving children is child support. In Arkansas, child support guidelines are established by state law and take into account both parents’ income as well as the needs of the child.
If you’re going through a divorce in Arkansas and have questions about how child support will be determined, here’s what you need to know:
When a couple divorces in Arkansas, one of the key issues that will need to be addressed is alimony. Alimony refers to the court-ordered financial support that one spouse pays to the other after a divorce.
If you’re going through a divorce in Arkansas and are wondering about your rights and obligations regarding alimony, here’s what you should know:
It’s important to note that not all divorces result in an award of alimony. In fact, it’s more common for couples with shorter marriages or those whose incomes are relatively equal not to receive any form of spousal support at all.
Types of Alimony
The amount and duration of alimony depend on various factors such as each party’s income, length of marriage, standard of living during marriage, age, health condition and more. Ultimately, it will be up to a judge’s discretion based on what they believe is fair under all circumstances presented in court.
Factors Considered in Determining Alimony
In general, if one spouse has significantly more financial resources than the other or if one partner sacrificed career opportunities for family responsibilities during the marriage, they may be entitled to receive alimony payments from their ex-spouse after divorce.