Arkansas Divorce Law
If you are seeking or facing a divorce in Arkansas, you should learn about the divorce statutes and other domestic relations laws specific to the state. Here you can find basic information about divorce, legal separation and annulment in the state of Arkansas; this information can help you prepare for discussions with an Arkansas divorce attorney.
Legal Separation / Judicial Separation
In Arkansas, legal separation is referred to as “judicial separation.” Any court that handles a divorce can issue an order of judicial separation. In issuing its order, the court can award a spouse anything that would be available to parties involved in a divorce; this includes distribution of marital property, child custody and child or spousal support. However, in a judicial separation marriage remains officially intact and the parties may not remarry. Some people who judicially separate may later decide to divorce. Such divorces are available on a no-fault basis, provided certain time limits and cohabitation requirements have been fulfilled (see “Arkansas Divorce—Grounds,” below). Judicial separation and in a divorce each carry different advantages and disadvantages; an Arkansas divorce attorney can explain in detail the differences.
Arkansas Divorce—Grounds/Fault--No Fault:
Arkansas recognizes both Fault-based and No-Fault grounds for divorce. Fault grounds mean that the person filing for divorce must prove that the defendant spouse has done something to harm the marriage or the petitioner. By contrast, No-Fault does not require the petitioner to prove the fault of the other spouse. No matter which ground the petitioner chooses, Arkansas mandates marital counseling as a prerequisite to obtaining the final divorce decree.
Arkansas Divorce—Residency & Where to File:
For a divorce petition to be adjudicated in Arkansas, both of the spouses must be official residents of (i.e. “domiciled” in) the state. Further, the ground upon which the divorce is being sought—for instance, an act of adultery or abuse—must have occurred within Arkansas or, if elsewhere, while the spouses were domiciled there. An action for a judicial separation must be brought in a county where either party is domiciled, or in the county of the last matrimonial domicile.
Both an annulment and a divorce signify the permanent legal end of a marriage. However, whereas a divorce dissolves a valid marriage, an annulment is the court’s decree that there was never a valid marriage to begin with. In Arkansas, some bases for annulment are: the minor age of one or both of the spouses; “physical causes” that would have made entering into the marriage state an impossibility for one of the spouses; and a marriage that was entered into on the basis of fraud or force.
Arkansas Property Division/Community Property/Debts:
Arkansas is an “equitable distribution” state. This means that Arkansas courts will distribute marital property on terms considered “fair, but not necessarily equal. For the distribution of marital property the court will consider, among other things:
You should consult an Arkansas divorce attorney as property division in a divorce can be a complicated and emotional process.
Arkansas Divorce Laws
Below is a list of state laws related to common issues raised in divorce, annulment and judicial separation proceedings in Arkansas.