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Arkansas Divorce Information and FAQ

A spouse must have resided in the State of Arkansas for a period of sixty (60) days prior to the filing of divorce and three (3) full months before the final judgment granting the divorce. 9-12-307

Grounds for divorce Arkansas law allows for divorces based upon the following grounds:

1. Where either party, at the time of contract for marriage, was and still is impotent; 2. Conviction of a felony or other infamous crime; 3. Habitual drunkenness for a period of one year; 4. Cruel and barbarous treatmen as to endanger the life of the other; 5. Indignities to the person of the other as to render his or her life intolerable; 6. Where either party committed adultry subsequent to the marriage; 7. Incurable insanity of one of the parties; 8. Where either spouse, legally obligated to support the other, fails to do so; 9. Where husband and wife have lived separate and apart from each other for eighteen continous months without cohabitation, regardless of fault or reason. 9-12-301

What court hears divorces Divorce actions are filed and heard in Chancery Court. The title of the action initiating the divorce is called the Complaint for Divorce, while the title of the action granting the divorce is the Decree of Divorce. The party filing the action is the Plaintiff, while the other party to the action is the Defendant. 9-12-301 Where to file: Venue A complaint for divorce shall filed and heard in the county where the complaintant resides unless the complaintant is a nonresident of Arkansas and the defendant is a resident of Arkansas, in which case the proceedings shall be filed in the county where the defendant resides. The court entering the final decree of divorce shall retain jurisdiction for all matters following the entry of the decree. 9-12-303 and 9-12-320

Waiting period A waiting period of thirty (30) days after the filing for divorce is usually required before a divorce may be granted, subject to a few exceptions. 9-12-310

Financial Statement Prior to the establishment of an award of support, the State of Arkansas requires that both parties complete an official Affadavit of Financial Means. Property Division Arkansas recognizes basic equitable distribution of property principles which require that all marital property be distributed one-half (1/2) to each party unless the court makes specific findings that such distribution would be inequitable and states its reasons for doing so in the order. All other property shall be returned to the party who owned it prior to the marriage, unless the court makes some other division that it deems equitable. 9-12-315 Child Custody The court may award custody to either parent, regardless of sex, subject to the best interests of the child. 9-13-101

Non-Custodial Parent's Right to Information The non-custodial parent who has been awarded visitation rights is entitled to be provided current scholastic records of the child upon request. 9-13-301

Child Support Arkansas has established both Weekly and Monthly Family Support Guidelines which are used to assist the court in determining the proper amount of support to be paid. In all cases where the support and care of children are involved, the court may order either parent to secure and maintain health insurance for the benefit of the child when such coverage is available or becomes available to the parent at a reasonable cost Healthcare premiums cannot be used to offset a child support award, but may be considered in determing the amount of take-home pay of the payor.

The duty to pay child support terminates automatically when the child reaches eighteen (18) years of age or should have graduated high school,whichever is later, or when the child is emancipated, marries or dies, unless the court specifically states otherwise. 9-12-312, 9-14-232, and 9-14-237

Alimony The court may award alimony to either spouse that is reasonable under the circumstatnces. The court may also allow to either party during the pendancy of the divorce proceeding a reasonable maintenance support award and attorney's fees. Unless otherwise ordered by the court or agreed to by the parties, the liability of a party to pay alimony shall automatically terminate upon: the remarriage of the party who was awarded alimony; the establishment of a relationship that produces a child and results in a court order directing another person to pay the recipient of alimony support; the establishment of a relationship that produces a child and results in a court order directing the recipient to pay support to another who is not a decendant by birth or adoption to the payor of alimony. 9-12-309, 9-12-312, and 9-12-314

Parenting Classes When minor children reside with either or both parents, the court may, prior to entering a decree of divorce, require the parties to complete parenting classes or submit to mediation regarding parenting issues. 9-12-322

Name change When the court finds that either party is entitled to a divorce, the court may restore the wife to the name she bore previous to the marriage dissolved. 9-12-318 Other The legitimacy of children born prior to the entering of the divorce decree is not affected by the decree
















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