Arkansas Divorce Laws

Divorce residency requirements for Arkansas

In order to be able to file for divorce in Arkansas you must ensure that the Chancery Court holds jurisdiction over your case. Usually being able to meet the requirements is only a concern for those who have moved or who are planning to move in the future. The requirements for filing for divorce are as follows:

  • The spouse filing for divorce must be a resident in Arkansas for at least a period of 60 days.
  • There will be a 3-month period of waiting after filing for divorce until the divorce will be finalized.
  • Any divorce proceedings will be held in the county in which the complainant resides.

Filing for divorce in Arkansas

In order to apply for a divorce in Arkansas you will need to file an initial document, which is called the “Complaint for Divorce”. However, there has to be good reason for requesting a divorce and the marriage can only be terminated under certain conditions, which are as follows and are classed as either no-fault based grounds or fault-based grounds:

No-fault based grounds

  1. If the married couple have been living apart and separate for a period of 18 months
  2. The mutual consent of both partners or a fault of either spouse or both

Fault based grounds

  1. Impotence
  2. One partner being habitually drunk for 1 year
  3. Conviction of a felony or similar crime
  4. Endangering the life of another by cruel or barbaric treatment
  5. If one partner suffers indignities that makes their life intolerable
  6. Adultery Arkansas Code – Title 9 – Chapters: 12-301

Property division factors when divorcing

Where possible property division should be undertaken by the parties themselves, in which case they must sign a marital settlement agreement. Otherwise, property division is done through the Chancery court within the decree of divorce. As Arkansas is designated as, being an “equitable distribution” state, property division will be as follows:

  1. There will be a discovery process first to determine which property and assets are classed as marital.
  2. A monetary value will have to be assigned to the marital property.
  3. Lastly, the assets will be distributed between the two parties in an equitable fashion which is deemed fair by the Chancery Court.

Usually the court will give each party one-half, unless this does not seem to be a fair solution. If not then factors such as the following may be taken into account:

  1. How long the couple has been married
  2. The age and health of both parties
  3. Their occupations
  4. The amount of income and the sources of income
  5. Vocational skills and employability
  6. The estate, liability and needs of each of the partners
  7. The contribution of each of the parties, preservation or appreciation of any marital property, which will include the services of the homemaker
  8. The consequences of Federal income tax after property division Arkansas Code – Title 9 – Chapters: 12-315

Child custody factors

The child’s best interests are always taken into account by any Arkansas court. So when making a decision regarding custody of children both parents will be given equal consideration. If the child is deemed as having the ability and capacity to reason, regardless of their age then their opinion will also be heard by the courts.

Any history of domestic violence according to Arkansas Code – Title 9 – Chapters: 13-101 and the future and past roles of the parents will also be taken into account.

Courts prefer that both parties work out custody issues themselves. However if this is not possible then the courts will intervene to decide, considering the above factors.