#1 – Residency. To file for divorce, either you or your spouse must be a resident of the state of Arkansas and must have been a resident for at least 60 days before filing. Additionally, before the divorce is finalized, one of you must have resided in Arkansas for at least 90 days.
#2 – Time Frame. A common question from clients is, “How long does it take to get a divorce?” While there is no one answer, it will take at minimum 30 days, and almost always takes longer. A less complicated divorce typically takes 60 to 90 days to be finalized. A complicated divorce can take several months, or even a year or more.
#3 – Grounds. To get a divorce in Arkansas, you have to prove that you have grounds for divorce. The most common ground for divorce is general indignities, which refers to your spouse treating you in such a way as to “render married life with them intolerable.” The second most common ground is separation for at least 18 months. Other grounds include incarceration and adultery. Arkansas does not have a “no fault” divorce. The grounds for divorce in Arkansas must be specifically proven or agreed to.
#4 – Property. In Arkansas, we have what’s called “equitable” division of marital property. This means that the court will take all factors into consideration when dividing a couple’s property, including the age and health of the parties, their income and employability, and the length of the marriage. The court will typically return property owned by each of the parties prior to the marriage, but not always. There is a lot of leeway in dividing property in order for the parties to negotiate. So do not assume that ownership of property will necessarily determine who gets the property in divorce. The court will attempt divide the parties’ property as a whole as fairly as possible.
#5 – Child Support & Alimony. As to child support, the non-custodial parent (with whom the child does not live) is routinely ordered to pay child support to the custodial parent (with whom the child does live). The amount of child support is set by the Family Support Guidelines and is determined according to the non-custodial parent’s income. Even if the parent doesn’t work, a certain amount is “imputed” or assumed to be their income. The judge can grant more or less child support based on the child’s needs.
As to alimony, it is up to the court to decide whether alimony should be granted and how much. The primary factors the court considers are the need of one spouse and the other spouse’s ability to pay. But the court will consider others factors too, such as the parties’ income, earning abilities, health, and the length of the marriage. When granted, the trend favors temporary, rather than permanent, alimony in order to help the spouse get back on their feet.
Every marriage is different, and so is every divorce. There are a variety of factors at play that could make a meaningful difference to you, now and in the future. Give me a call for a free consultation.