Arkansas divorce details
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Uncontested vs Contested Divorce
There are two types of divorce: uncontested and contested. In a contested divorce, you and your spouse will have to negotiate all the issues in the courtroom, and will last as long as until the judge makes a final decision. An uncontested divorce on the other hand, is much faster and less painful.
Before terminating a marriage, the following questions must be resolved:
- Grounds for divorce;
- Custody of minor children;
- Financial support of underage children;
- Amount and period of alimony payments;
- Division of property and debts
If you and your spouse come to an agreement regarding all the above issues, then you qualify for an uncontested divorce.
A contested divorce can last for years and be very expensive. This is why uncontested divorces are gaining in popularity as you can terminate a marriage in only a couple of months while saving yourself from stress and a lot of money.
The disadvantages of a contested divorce include:
- Costs more than an uncontested divorce
In the case of a contested divorce, a large chunk of the cost goes to the payment of a lawyer. The average hourly rate of an attorney in Arkansas is $210 and the average cost of marriage termination is $11,000. Furthermore, if minor children are involved in the process, the cost of a contested divorce can go even higher.
2.Takes longer than an uncontested divorce
You might have had a relative or acquaintance who had to go through an extremely long divorce process. Cases like this are quite common and is especially the case for contested divorces. A contested divorce can last up to a year or more, depending on the complexity of the case.
3.Requires an attorney
This is related to the first point of how contested divorces cost more. There are many cases where a person’s life is ruined after a divorce because they had to spend so much to hire a lawyer. Costs can get extremely high if the divorce is very complex and lasts for more than a year.
Uncontested Divorce in Arkansas
Many people think that a divorce process lasts many years. This is however, not always true. Like in many other states, the divorce process can be quick and painless. This type of divorce is referred to as an uncontested divorce, which can be obtained in a month or two. This is a lot shorter than a contested divorce, which may last up to a year or more. An uncontested divorce is when both spouses agree to all the terms of the divorce and do not have any issues that need to be resolved in court.
Grounds for the Uncontested Divorce in Arkansas
In order to get an uncontested divorce in Arkansas, you must have a reason established at the legislative level. The reason for an uncontested divorce is Voluntary separation for a period of at least 18 months. This means while being married, the two spouses lived separately for an uninterrupted period of at least 18 months without cohabitation. This is also referred to no-fault and indicates that the spouses do not blame each other for the destruction of their marriage.
Furthermore, Arkansas laws also allow an uncontested divorce based on fault grounds such as: impotence, conviction of a felony, habitual drunkenness, cruel treatment, mental illness, personal indignities, adultery, or refusal to support dependent spouse.
It is important to note that if you wish to get an uncontested divorce on the basis of a fault ground, then both you and your spouse must agree to this. If your spouse does not agree with the fault ground, then you should file for divorce based on no-fault reason. If you want to get a divorce based on fault grounds but your spouse does not agree, then your divorce is considered to be at fault and you will be unable to get an uncontested divorce.
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Arkansas Residency Requirements to file for the divorce
According to Arkansas law, you or your spouse must have been a resident of the state for no less than 60 days before filing a lawsuit, and for at least 3 months before the beginning of the trial.
If you are filing for a no-fault divorce, the court will require proof that you and your spouse have lived separately for at least 18 consecutive months. The separation must have been voluntary and without cohabitation. If, for any reason, you and your spouse got back together for even one night, then the period of separation will be considered interrupted and will need to start over.
How to file for an Uncontested Divorce?
1. File the Petition for the court
The moment you come to court, your case will be registered and assigned a number. After you provide the court with all the necessary documents, the divorce proceeding begins.
2. Provide your spouse with all the required papers
Your duty as a Petitioner is to provide the other party with all the documents. You can send them via post or email. If you are unaware of your spouse’s location, then you will have to report this to the court. Unless your spouse is located, the court will announce a missing person report in the media.
3. Provide the court with extra information
You should also provide the court with all significant information regarding common debts, property division, child custody, and spousal support. The court will take into account all the small details when making the final decision.
4. Sign up the Marital Settlement Agreement
This is a specific document that stipulates that the spouses agree on all the issues regarding divorce and also clarifies any significant questions. You can find a sample of it on our website.
5. Get a Final Judgement
In Arkansas, the Final Judgement can only be made 30 days after the divorce process begins. Both spouses must appear at court. If one of the spouses fails to come, the judge may make the decision to prolong the procedure or final termination; everything depends on the case.
Do-It-Yourself Divorce in Arkansas
If you and your spouse do not require the help of a lawyer for the divorce process, then you may qualify for a Do-It-Yourself-Divorce (DIY Divorce). You can legally fill out and complete all the required documents on your own. However, keep in mind that if you complete or submit them incorrectly, the court will reject your documents. Oftentimes, people resort to the aid of online services that help prepare all the necessary forms and documents accurately and on time. WIth the prepared forms, all you need to then file them with the court and send copies to your spouse.
How much does an Uncontested Divorce cost in Arkansas?
In most cases, uncontested divorces are relatively cheap as you do not need to pay for lawyers or mediators. However, make sure if you complete the documents yourself that you do them correctly as the court will reject them if there are any mistakes. If you decide to use our services, we guarantee that you will get your prepared forms done accurately and on time.
How Long Does It Take to Get Divorced in Arkansas?
Usually, an uncontested divorce takes only a couple of months. In the case of a contested divorce, the process can last up to a year or more. For this, a lot depends on whether you have underage children, common property, application for alimony, along with a number of other controversial issues that need to be resolved in court.
How to serve your spouse in Arkansas
After you fill out all the documents and file them with the court, you must serve your spouse with the copies so that they can get acquainted with the circumstances of the divorce and, if necessary, file a refutation. You can deliver the documents yourself or through their attorney. You can also send them through the sheriff or certified mail.
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Documents You Need to Get a Divorce in Arkansas
- Complaint for Divorce
- Restraining Order
- Affidavit of Service by Mail
- Affidavit for Warning Order
- Affidavit of Service by Warning Order
- Entry of Appearance and Waiver of Service of Summons
- Property Settlement Agreement
- Petition for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
- Affidavit in Support of Request to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
- Order Granting Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis
- Decree of Divorce (without Property Settlement or with Property Settlement)
This is only the basic list of required documents. You may not need to fill them all out as it will all depend on the individual case. You can ask the judicial clerk for more specific information regarding your case.
Online Divorce in Arkansas
‘Online Divorce’ is the easiest way to terminate a marriage. You usually answer specific questions regarding your marriage online and receive prepared documents and forms for the divorce. This is very convenient since you will not have to learn all the nuances of legislation. Many couples consider this to be an effective method since all the documents are prepared online accurately and they only need to file them with the court. Furthermore, online divorce starts with only a flat fee of $149, which is a lot cheaper than the cost to hire a lawyer.
Rules for child support in Arkansas
If the spouses have any underage children, child custody is one of the most important issues to resolve in the divorce process. In any case, the court makes the final decision based on what is best for the child. The following factors influence the decision regarding custody:
- Whether the parent lets the child communicate fully with the other parents as well as grandparents after the divorce;
- Any ill-treatment of one of the spouses towards the child;
- Any sexual violence commited by one of the spouses towards the child;
Similarly, the court also draws attention to the child's preference of custodian, provided that the child has already reached a certain age and can reason well.
Another important issue is the calculation of financial support for the child. This is calculated on the basis of the guidelines established by the Supreme Court of the State. The amount is usually calculated as a percentage of net income of the parent who will provide the support. In addition, there is the Administrative Order No. 10, as well as amendments, that detail the procedure of how exactly the court will calculate the income from which the financial support will be paid.
Rules for child visitation in Arkansas
As we have already mentioned, the court issues a decision on custody based on the best interests of the child. And the court believes that the child should have frequent and prolonged contact with both parents if this does not harm the best interests of the child, even after the divorce. The parent who has custodial rights will spend more time with the child. In order to compensate the time for the second parent, the court must accept the visit plan. It is best when both parents can agree and create a joint schedule regarding with whom and for how long the child will spend time. However, if the spouses are unable to reconcile, then the court will make its decision based on the atmosphere of the family and prescribe the dates of the visits for each parent. If there are any cases of violence in the family, then the court will limit the time the child spends with the parent who showed aggression. Furthermore, visits will not be frequent and will take place under the supervision of the police.
Rules for spousal support in Arkansas
As in most other states, one of the spouses may request financial support, also known as alimony. There are many different types and durations of alimony payments. Some are paid only while there is a trial, others are paid after the divorce decision is finally made, and some are paid throughout the whole life. In most cases, the courts will decide on financial support for a less well-off spouse regardless of gender.
When making a decision regarding alimony, the court must make sure that the spouse really requires financial support after the divorce and that the other has the financial capabilities to provide it. In addition, the duration and amount of alimony can be heavily influenced by the following factors:
- Duration of marriage;
- Financial situation of each spouse;
- Assets and liabilities of spouses;
- Movable and immovable property of spouses;
- Standard of living of spouses during marriage.
During the divorce process, the court has greater freedom of action in the matter of awarding alimony, but oftentimes, the amount of support is calculated as 20% of the income of the second spouse.
Division of property in Arkansas
Legislation of Arkansas states that all joint property should be divided in half between the spouses. However, if the court does not consider it a fair division, it may offer a counter proposition. It is important to note that the division of property in Arkansas is influenced by the following factors:
- Duration of the marriage;
- Age and health of each spouse;
- Ability to work;
- Sources of income for each spouse;
- The contribution each of the spouses made for the acquisition of property;
- Financial capabilities and needs of each spouse;
- Tax law.
If the spouses individually owned any property before the marriage, it is considered personal and not divided by the court.
Division of debt in Arkansas
In principle, the division of debt is not much different from the division of property as debts should also be divided equally.The types of debts that should be divided in a divorce include: mortgage loans, car loans, credit card balances, and several others. Both spouses should be responsible for a fair share of the debt.
It is not uncommon that in order to achieve a balance, the division of debts is counterbalanced by the division of common property. For example, a spouse may request to get more property in return for taking more debts.
Divorce Mediation in Arkansas
Oftentimes, a third party (mediator) is involved in the process of divorce, whose task is to settle disputes between the spouses. Arkansas courts do not require the participation of a mediator in divorce. Nevertheless, the mediation program in Arkansas exists and is aimed at resolving issues regarding child custody and all other related subject matters.
Mediation is a voluntary process, but in rare cases, the court may oblige the spouses to seek one. In addition, the spouses do not need to pay for the participation of mediators and if they are unable to resolve the disputed issues, they have every right to return to court.
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How to divorce a missing spouse in Arkansas
If you want to divorce, but are unaware of your spouse’s location, you can still terminate the marriage. It is also referred to as a "Divorce by Publication". This is because you must file a publication in the local newspaper as a way to serve your spouse. However, in order to qualify for such a divorce, you must first attempt to locate your spouse to the best of your abilities. If you are able to prove to the court that you have done so, the court will then grant you a “Divorce by Publication” to terminate the marriage.
Default Divorce in Arkansas
There are situations when after the Petitioner applies for divorce, the defendant never responds to the Petition.. How do you terminate a marriage in a case like this? The state of Arkansas allows you to dissolve a marriage if your spouse does not respond in the time prescribed by law. If your spouse is a resident of Arkansas, they are given 20 days to respond to your petition. If they are a resident of another state, this period is extended to 30 days. If your spouse does not respond during these given time frames, then the divorce is considered as a default divorce.
Grounds for Default Divorce:
- Spouse was impotent before marriage and still remains the same
- Mental illness of one of the spouses that lasts for at least 3 years, with no hope of recovery.
- Manifestation of ill-treatment towards one of the spouses
- Spouse being convicted of a serious crime
- Alcohol dependence of one of the spouses for at least 1 year
- One of the spouses refuses to provide essential support for the other spouse
Remember that the main reason for the Default Divorce is that your spouse does not respond to your petition. If you dissolve the marriage in this way, you still have to attend court hearings. The cost of Divorce by Default can be quite high, the average price for the USA is $ 15,000, so courts always recommend that the spouses agree before attempting to get Default Divorce in Arkansas.
Default vs No-Fault Divorce
Both types of divorce are admissible in Arkansas. Divorce by default takes more time and costs more, depending on the circumstances of your marriage. A No-fault divorce is more simple and costs less, as the spouses have already solved all their issues and negotiated the terms of their divorce. The courts of Arkansas always stand for a peaceful settlement of issues, so they recommend that the spouses find a common solution to their disputes before the dissolution of marriage begins.
How can I get a Default Divorce Hearing in Arkansas?
Divorce by default can be granted if you fill out the "Application and Affidavit of Default" and file it with the Clerk of the Court. You should make 2 copies and send one to your spouse the day you file the application. You should then wait at least 10 days.
Annulment of the marriage in Arkansas
Another legal procedure to terminate a marriage is to annul it, or in other words, to recognize the marriage as invalid, since it was concluded in violation of state law. A marriage can be revoked if:
- it is concluded between blood relatives;
- at the time of the marriage ceremony, one of the spouses was not yet 17 years of age;
- spouses live in different states for more than 5 years and do not communicate with each other.
Legal Separation in Arkansas
Legal separation is usually a prelude to divorce, but at the same time, the couple may find time to reconcile. In order to obtain legal separation, spouses must live separately without cohabitation. In order to apply for legal separation in Arkansas, one of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for at least 60 days. The decision will then be made no less than 30 days after the petition is filed with the court.
The Same-Sex Divorce in Arkansas
The procedure for same-sex divorce is exactly the same as for all others. At least one spouse must have been a resident of Arkansas for for no less than 60 days. In addition, same-sex couples also need to negotiate and come to an agreement on all the issues regarding divore such as property and debt division, child custody and visitation, and spousal support.
Military Divorce in Arkansas
Divorce with a spouse in the military is no different from a regular divorce as the same principles apply. Note the only slight difference is in the process of serving your spouse with the documents. You can send them through either through the Army Post office or Fleet Post Office. And if you have any issues with this, you can always contact the commander for help.
How to divorce a spouse in a jail in Arkansas?
You can consult with a judicial clerk regarding this, but there should be not pitfalls in the dissolution. The procedure for divorce is exactly the same to any of the cases described above.
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Divorce filing fee
Court filing fees are in addition to the cost of using DivorceFiller.com. This cost may vary by county. Please check with your local courthouse to determine the exact amount.
Can a filing fee be waived?
You must pay the fee at the time you apply for a divorce petition. However, if you do not have the financial ability to pay for the registration fee, you have the right to request the court to waive the cost. The judge will then make sure that if you are deemed unable financially, you don’t pay for the fee.
How we can help
We can help you with all the issues and peculiarities of document preparation in Arkansas. Online documents preparation and consultation is everything you need to get your divorce approved in court. Trust us and we will help!
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