The process of filing for divorce in Arkansas is quite different from other states. Therefore, you must understand the laws and rules specific to Arkansas if you want to apply for divorce there. In this post, you will learn all the main points you need to know about getting a divorce in the state, including the types of divorce in the state and the peculiarities of each. Let’s get right into it!
The Residency Requirements for Filing for Divorce in Arkansas
Arkansas has a residency prerequisite for people who want to apply for a divorce online or physically in the state. The law requires that either spouse resides in Arkansas for a minimum of 60 days before filing for divorce. It should be noted that the court will not grant a final order until a minimum of 90 days waiting period after the first date of filing the forms. Which spouse files for divorce first is not important in Arkansas. If your spouse files first, you can deny their claim and make your request as a part of the divorce process. Suffice to say, it is possible to divorce over the internet in Arkansas if there is no contention between spouses.
Grounds for Divorce in Arkansas
The ground for divorce refers to the reason why a couple wants a divorce. Arkansas has identified nine different reasons for which a divorce can be granted in the state. The petitioner must provide one of these reasons to commence the divorce process.
No-Fault: This means that a divorce can take place without any fault from either party. The petitioner can just state that the union can no longer exist because of irrevocable differences. The couple will also have to live separately for at least eighteen months continuously for personal reasons to use this no-fault ground.
Fault-based: this covers the remaining 8 grounds for divorce in Arkansas. Fault-based ground refers to a situation where a spouse accuses the other of causing the breakdown of the union. It must have happened within the five years before filing in the state to use any of these grounds. Additionally, the incident(s) must have occurred in Arkansas. However, you can also present the reasons even if it happened in another state. The following are the eight grounds for divorce that are fault-based:
- Crime Conviction: If one of the spouses has been convicted of a crime, including a felony, the other spouse can file for marriage dissolution.
- Impotence: If your spouse is impotent during the marriage, you can file the divorce papers and request the judge grant the final decree.
- Abuse and Cruelty: If your spouse’s actions are endangering your life or your children, you can request the dissolution of your marriage.
- Adultery: When one of the spouses cheats in the marriage, the other partner can request a divorce.
- Drunkenness: If your spouse is a habitual drinker and consistently gets drunk, you can file for dissolution of the union. The act of drunkenness must have taken place over a year or longer in the marriage before you can present the issue before the court.
- Incurable Insanity: If both parties have lived apart for at least three years due to incurable insanity and the insane partner has been committed to a mental facility, the other spouse can request an end to the marriage.
- Humiliation: If your spouse constantly humiliates you and makes your life very difficult, you can engage the service of a lawyer to put an end to the union.
- Lack of Support: You can also request to end your marriage if your spouse has a legal obligation to support you and does not, even when they have the wherewithal to do so.
Steps to Filing for Divorce in Arkansas
The first step to filing for divorce in the state is to meet the residency prerequisite. You can only start the dissolution of the marriage if you or your spouse has resided in the state for a minimum of sixty days. Secondly, you must present the grounds that are legally acceptable to end the marriage. These two have been explained extensively already. Now let us explore the other essential steps.
Complete and Submit the Divorce Papers
You need to complete the forms, file them at the court, and serve copies to your spouse. If your divorce is uncontested, you can get help with filling out the forms accurately by using the service of a reputable online divorce company.
When your spouse has been served the documents, they are expected to send a response. If your spouse is not in agreement with the terms of the proceedings or anything in the documents, they can file new paperwork to tell their side of the case.
When this happens, the process becomes a contested divorce. This may require that both parties make appearances in the court to resolve their issues. However, if your spouse agrees with the terms, including child custody, child support, and property division, among others, it becomes an uncontested divorce. In this case, there is no need for court appearances.
Many people choose to go the route of DIY divorce when their partners do not contest the process. If your partner does not disagree with any aspect of the terms, they will need to sign the documents and send them back to the court. It’s also possible that your spouse does not contest the terms nor sign the papers. If this happens, you can still proceed with the process. The case will then move forward as a default divorce, and the court will accept your proposed terms.
To avoid any unpleasant surprises, you may want to seek a consultant’s opinion to know how best to handle the process, even if you plan to do it yourself. Usually, without a response from your spouse, it becomes uncontested, and with this, you can complete it as an online divorce.
How is an Alimony Request treated in Arkansas?
Alimony is another term for spousal support. It refers to the financial support that is paid to a spouse by the other spouse. When a spouse claims alimony, the judge will first review the request, and if they consider it appropriate, they will order that a realistic alimony amount be paid to the spouse. The actual amount will depend on the circumstances of both parties and the nature of the divorce case. Alimony can be permanent or subject to review, which is known as rehabilitative. When the alimony has been granted, the payment is expected to be made. If one of the spouses wants to alter it anytime in the future, they will need to petition the court for the review and modification. However, they must present significant reasons for the request for modification.
Cost of Divorce in Arkansas
The petitioner is expected to pay the filing fees when filing the petition at the court. This fee is approximately $165. It is important to note that the fee may vary based on the county. It is recommended that you check with the local county where you are submitting the documents. Additionally, you have to pay a notary fee of $10. You may also have to pay a service fee of roughly $50 for the sheriff or process server to deliver the formal petition to your spouse. For every legal document or additional motion you submit to the court, you may be asked to pay extra filing fees. Therefore, the cost of divorce in Arkansas can be about $500, without an attorney.
However, if you have to engage the service of an attorney for the proceeding and financial planners, tax advisors, and other experts, you will have to pay the fees charged by these professionals. If you have an uncontested divorce, you can have an internet divorce, which does not require a lawyer or an attorney. If both spouses agree to the terms, there will be no need for a court hearing, and the dissolution of marriage can be completed without extra cost.
Waiting Period for a Divorce Final Decree in Arkansas
Arkansas has a 3-month waiting period before a final decree can be made. This means that even if both spouses agree on the terms of the proceedings, they will have to wait out the three months until the judge issues the final divorce decree. The only exception is if both spouses have been living separately for at least twelve months, the judge can waive the waiting period. You should know that this waiting period is only the minimum. If there are issues that you and your spouse have not been able to resolve, it may take longer.
Filing for divorce in Arkansas is quite straightforward. Although it comes with its challenges, if you can agree with your spouse on everything, the process will be less stressful, fast, and even inexpensive. Therefore, it’s advised to get a web divorce if it is uncontested.