Uncontested & Contested Divorce in Arkansas: What’s the Difference?

Image by LillyCantabile from Pixabay

The divorce process in Arkansas is not much different from other states. Here couples are free to choose between fault-based and no-fault divorce. This article will tell you everything you need to know to successfully file your documents with the court in either of these cases.

Uncontested Divorce in Arkansas: How To Do It

Uncontested or a no-fault divorce implies that the couple has reached a mutual understanding on every divorce-related issue. This option will allow you to receive your dissolution of marriage fast and, in many cases, without attorney involvement.

To apply for an uncontested divorce, at least one of the spouses must have been a state resident for a period of 60+days. You will also be required to prove to the court that you and your spouse have been separated and no longer live together. A third party can prove these legal requirements – you can ask someone you know to testify or sign a written declaration (affidavit) for you.

If you’re the one filing for divorce, it makes you a petitioner and your partner a respondent. Also, it is up to you to provide grounds for divorce. With this type of divorce, claiming that your marriage is irretrievably broken would be a valid enough reason for a judge to consider granting a divorce.

How to Prepare Your Divorce Papers in Arkansas

Document preparation can become a relatively easy process if you plan an uncontested divorce. If you don’t have underage children or property to divide, you’ll have a minimum amount of forms to fill out.

Many couples also consider the option of having an online divorce or a web divorce. This is a convenient and affordable way to prepare your divorce paperwork for the court proceeding. There are plenty of divorce companies out there that can help you to complete a divorce online. Usually, you’d be asked to fill in a questionnaire about your case, marriage, and divorce. The system will use your answers to fill out the necessary forms, and you will be able to receive them in a couple of business days.

It is a rather inexpensive option for those who want their divorce to be done as quickly and inexpensively as possible. Don’t forget, though, that by having such a “DIY divorce,” you won’t be dismissed from paying filing fees at the court, which might increase the overall cost of divorce.

How to File for an Uncontested Divorce in Arkansas

To begin an uncontested divorce, one of the spouses must file a document called “Complaint for Divorce” in the appropriate clerk’s office of the county of your residence. Some courts provide the opportunity to make an application for divorce online.

You’ll also need to serve a copy of your paperwork to your spouse. You can either do it yourself, send them to their lawyer, or hire a process server. Some internet divorce companies can also provide this service for you for an additional price.

Contested Divorce in Arkansas: What You Need to Know

A contested divorce is different from the previous type in having grounds for divorce that you’ll have to provide to the judge. In Arkansas, the following reasons can be considered as valid grounds to have a marriage dissolution:

  • Impotence;
  • One of the spouses being convicted of a felony during the marriage;
  • Regular drunkenness of one of the spouses;
  • Cruel treatment;
  • Infidelity;
  • General indignities;
  • If spouses have lived separately for over 18 months;
  • If spouses have lived separately for over 3 years due to one of them being diagnosed with insanity and put in a mental health facility;
  • Lack of spousal support.

One of the most popular reasons why people in Arkansas are getting a divorce is general indignities. It means that one of the spouses has made the life of the other one so intolerable that they can no longer be married. You will also be required to prove that the grounds for divorce occurred within 5 years before you’ve decided to apply for divorce.

Spousal Support and Contested Divorce in Arkansas

When couples are going through a divorce, sometimes one party seeks financial support from the other after their marriage has been dissolved. When the judge is making their decision regarding the alimony, they usually consider each of the spouses’ ability to pay the support to the other and whether it is needed.

The court might also consider the following factors while making the decision:

  • The assets of both spouses;
  • The ability of each of the spouses to obtain a new job;
  • The standard of living the couple had during the marriage;
  • Duration of the marriage;
  • Medical needs of each of the spouses.

According to Arkansas law, when the ex-spouse that has been receiving the financial support remarries, they will no longer receive alimony.

Child Custody and Support in Contested Divorce in Arkansas

When a couple has underage children, the question of custody determination will be raised. Traditionally, one parent becomes the custodian, and the other one is granted visitation. In Arkansas, this decision is usually made based on the child’s best interests and regardless of the sex of the potential custodian.

If the parent who received custody wants to change the child’s last name, they usually need consent from the other parent. They would also be required to provide proof of the necessity of such a decision. You can get permission to change your child’s last name even without the involvement of your ex-spouse. To do this, you need to request it in the Complaint for Divorce, and if your spouse never responds to it, the court might grant you the permission due to their not timely answer.

How to File for a Contested Divorce in Arkansas

The process of filing for divorce when you have child custody or property division issues doesn’t differ much whether the case is contested or uncontested divorce. You’d need to file your paperwork with the court, serve your spouse with copies of it and attend the hearing after a waiting period.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re having a divorce over the internet or battling for years in court with your spouse – you still need to remember that this is only temporary, and your best days are waiting for you ahead.