No one ever plans for their marriage to end; thus, many people lack knowledge when it comes to the divorce process. If you and your spouse have decided to go your separate ways, it’s important to clarify anything you don’t understand with an experienced divorce lawyer. This will ensure you’re well-informed and following the proper filing procedure. Here are the answers to a few questions Arkansas couples frequently ask when pursuing a divorce.
What to Know About the Arkansas Divorce Process
What Are the Basic Requirements for Filing a Divorce?
Before you can file for divorce in Arkansas, you or your spouse must have resided in the state for a minimum of 60 days. If you wish to file a no-fault divorce, you will have to live apart for at least 18 months without any periods of cohabitation within that time frame. If children are involved, absent an emergency, they must have lived in the state of Arkansas six months before Arkansas becomes the home state. To initiate a divorce, you will need to file with the Circuit Court in the county you live in or in the county your spouse lives in if you aren’t a resident of the state.
Do I Need Grounds to File?
Unless you meet the requirements for a no-fault divorce, i.e. 18 months separation, you will need grounds to file. However, you can’t give just any reason. It must be one of the specific grounds recognized by Arkansas law, and your divorce lawyer will likely have to help provide proof it exists. The state permits divorce for the following legal grounds:
- Felony conviction
- Cruel and barbarous treatment
- Habitual drunkenness
- Willful failure to provide support
- General indignities
- Incurable insanity
How Is Marital Property Divided?
Arkansas is an equitable distribution state, which means the court must divide marital property fairly between you and your spouse but not necessarily equally. What constitutes as fair is subject to various factors the court will consider, including:
- The length of the marriage
- Each spouse’s age and health
- Each spouse’s employability and sources of income
- Each spouse’s contributions to the acquisition and preservation of marital property
- Tax consequences
- Marital misconduct
How Is Child Custody and Support Determined?
In cases that involve minor children, child support will need to be determined once custody has been arranged. Arkansas has a legal presumption that joint custody is in the best interest of the children. This can be overcome by an agreement of the parties or by a showing that it is in the best interest of the children for another custodial arrangement to be ordered.
In Arkansas, child support obligations are set based on the noncustodial parent’s income and taxes, number of children, other child support obligations, and the cost of insurance for the children. Additional factors can create a deviation from the support charts, these include standard of living, other contribution on behalf of the children such as transportation, insurance, extra time with the children, or payment for special needs or activities.
If you have decided to end your marriage, a divorce lawyer can offer invaluable guidance through the process. Watson Law Firm of Harrison is made up of a team of seasoned professionals who will answer all your questions, provide sound legal advice for your unique situation, and devise an effective case strategy with your best interests in mind. With over 35 years of combined experience, they have been entrusted to represent many Harrison, AR, residents as they navigate the challenges of divorce. Visit them online for more information about the various family law issues they handle, or call (870) 704-4037 to speak with a knowledgeable and supportive divorce lawyer about your case.