Arkansas Divorce Law
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Divorce Residency Essentials to Get Divorce in Arkansas
Reasons for Divorce in Arkansas
There are mainly two reasons of divorce in Arkansas that is fault and general. In order to file for divorce in Arkansas, the proper grounds must be established. Both spouses are involved in establishing these grounds, and both must substantiate and agree upon these, unless the divorcing spouse is trying to prove otherwise to the court.
Voluntarily living separately without cohabitation for 18 months. [Arkansas Code of 1987 Annotated; Title 9, Chapter 12-301].
General reasons for divorce in Arkansas are valid under the following reasons:
- Confinement for incurable insanity or separation caused by mental illness for a period of three years;
- Conviction of a felony;
- Cruel and inhuman treatment which endangers the life of the spouse;
- Personal indignities;
- Habitual intemperance (drunkenness) for one year;
- Commission and/or conviction of an infamous crime; and
- Nonsupport whereby the spouse is able to provide support but willfully fails to provide suitable maintenance for the complaining spouse. [Arkansas Code of 1987 Annotated; Title 9, Chapter 12-301].
Arkansas Legal Separation Guidelines
Legal separation in Arkansas can be granted based upon the above listed reasons for fault divorce, and also includes:
- Willfully leaving a spouse for one year
- Voluntary separation for 18 months
Custody of the Children in Arkansas
Child custody is awarded based on the welfare and best interests of the child, after a consideration of the following factors:
The circumstances of the parents and child;
The nature of the case;
Which parent is most likely to allow frequent and continuing contact with the other parent; and
Any acts of domestic violence.
Joint or shared custody may been awarded if it is found to be in the best interests of the child. The sex of the parent is not a factor for decisions relating to child custody. A grandparent of a child may petition the court to request continuing contact with the child. [Arkansas Code of 1987 Annotated; Title 9, Chapter 13-101 and Arkansas Case Law].
Arkansas Child Support Guidelines
In awarding a reasonable amount of child support, the court is to consider the following factors:
- The circumstances of the parents and child, and
- The nature of the case.
Child support payments may be ordered to be paid through the registry of the court and the court may require that a bond securing payment be required. There is an official Arkansas Family Support guidelines chart which is presumed to be correct, unless the court finds that the amount would be inappropriate or unjust, considering the following factors:
- Any necessary medical, dental, or psychological care or insurance;
- The creation or maintenance of trust fund for the child;
- Daycare expenses;
- Extraordinary time spent with the non-custodial parent; and
- Any additional support provided by the parent obligated to pay support.
This chart should be available from the Clerk of any Chancery Court. In addition, an official Affidavit of Financial Means must be filed with divorce cases which involve issues relating to child support. [Arkansas Code of 1987 Annotated; Title 9, Chapters 12-312 and 14-105 and Addendum to 1997 Arkansas Code Supplement].
Arkansas is an “equitable distribution” state. All of the marital property acquired during the marriage is divided equally between the spouses. However, if the court finds the division to be unfair, it may redistribute the property, after consideration of the following factors:
- The contribution of each spouse to the preservation, appreciation, or acquisition of the marital property, including the contribution of each spouse as homemaker;
- The length of the marriage;
- The age, health, and station in life of the spouses;
- The occupation of the spouses;
- The amount and sources of income of the spouses;
- The vocational skills of the spouses;
- The employability of the spouses;
- The estate, liabilities, and needs of each spouse and the opportunity of each for further acquisition of capital assets and income; and
- The federal income tax consequences of the court’s division of the property.
Alimony may be granted to either spouse in fixed installments for a specific period of time and subject to automatic termination upon the death of either spouse, remarriage of the receiving spouse, or the establishment by the receiving spouse of a relationship that produces a child or children. Where the grounds for divorce are voluntary separation for three years, fault may be considered in dividing the property. The factors for consideration specified in the statute are that the amount be reasonable based on the circumstances of the parties and the nature of the case. Alimony payments may be ordered to be paid through the registry of the court. [Arkansas Code of 1987 Annotated; Title 9, Chapter 12-312].
There are no requirements for mediation in Arkansas.