Arkansas Divorce: The Basics
Divorce is the most common form of marriage termination, but particular laws can be different in each state. A divorce terminates an existing marriage, allows the parties to remarry, and determines the rights of each against the other following the marriage, depending on what state you file for divorce in and the particulars of your case. Here is an introduction to how divorce law works in Arkansas.
What Are the Effects of a Divorce?
The effect of divorce is to legally terminate the marriage between spouses as of the date that the judgment of divorce is granted in court. Following a divorce, both you and your spouse are free to remarry. At the time of divorce, the court may make other determinations regarding child custody, child support, and your financial affairs, including a distribution of marital property and assignemnt of debt.
How Do I File for Divorce in Arkansas?
In Arkansas, a petition must first be filed with the court in order to begin divorce proceedings. If the matter is uncontested, you and your spouse can reach a documented divorce agreement, where you and a witness of your choosing will appear in court to have the matter finalized. In the event that no agreement can be reached between you and your spouse, a hearing will be necessary to determine the issues involved in your divorce on a temporary basis. After that, a request will be made for a final hearing date and that date will be assigned based on the availability of dates on the court calendar.
In order to be eligible for a divorce in Arkansas, you must be a resident of the State of Arkansas for at least sixty (60) days prior to filing your divorce petition with the court clerk. After filing the petition, you must also wait a minimum of thirty (30) days before the divorce can actually be granted, regardless of when you and your spouse entered into an agreement. If one of the issues in your divorce is the custody of minor children, there may be other factors to consider when determining the proper place for you to file your divorce action.
How Will the Court Divide Our Property?
In Arkansas, the presumption is that each spouse is entitled to half of all marital property. Property includes real property, personal property, stocks, bonds, life insurance policies, retirement plans, the kitchen stove, the lawn mower and almost anything else of value. Marital property is defined as that property acquired by either party during the marriage with some exceptions. Exceptions may include property or items of value received as a gift or inheritance, property acquired prior to marriage, and property excluded by valid agreement between the spouses. The equal split of property is a presumption and the court may make an unequal split if the facts and circumstances of the case justify it.
Can I Get Alimony After the Divorce?
Alimony is allowed under Arkansas Law. It is determined either by agreement of the parties or by a judge if circumstances exist that justify the award of alimony. The amount of alimony is calculated based on each spouse’s income, assets, and expenses.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Divorce?
There are certain costs involved with any legal action in addition to the attorney's fee. In a truly uncontested divorce, your cost may only be the filing fee of $100.00, paid directly to the Court clerk. However, if the matter is contested or if your spouse cannot be located to sign an agreement, other costs will be incurred. The exact cost of a contested matter is difficult to calculate as it is based on actions that are different in every case. The fees charged by attorneys for divorce actions vary and are based on the approximate time an attorney will spend working on your case. If you visit personally with an attorney to discuss your case, be clear regarding the fee, which can be determined based on the known issues and complexities of your case.
Navigating a divorce can be a difficult process, and speaking with an attorney may help. You can seek out an experienced family law attorney in Arkansas. If you would like more general information, you can visit FindLaw’s divorce law section.