Getting a divorce is typically a difficult time for the individuals and families involved. Having the knowledge regarding the process can help to alleviate the anxiety and uncertainty of beginning divorce proceedings. The requirements for getting a divorce in the State of Arkansas are set out by statute in Arkansas Code Title 9.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How long does it take to get a divorce?

No two divorce cases are the same; however, Arkansas law requires that 30 days must elapse from the date a complaint for divorce has been filed. The length of time it takes to finalize a divorce will be dependent on the complexity of issues such as property, debt and children.

What are grounds for divorce?

The State of Arkansas requires that there be grounds for a divorce. The individual filing for divorce must prove their stated grounds for divorce before the divorce can be granted. Grounds for divorce are dictated by statute and are as follows:

  1. When either party, at the time of the contract, was and still is impotent;
  2. When either party shall be convicted of a felony or other infamous crime;
  3. When either party shall:
    1. Be addicted to habitual drunkenness for one year;
    2. Be guilty of such cruel and barbarous treatment as to endanger the life of the other; or
    3. Offer such indignities to the person of the other as shall render his or her condition intolerable;
    4. When either party shall have committed adultery subsequent to the marriage;
    5. When husband and wife have lived separate and apart from each other for eighteen (18) consecutive months without cohabitation;
    6. In all cases in which a husband and wife have lived separate and apart for three consecutive years without cohabitation by reason of the incurable insanity of one of them; and
    7. When either spouse legally obligated to support the other, and having the ability to provide the other with the common necessaries of life, willfully fails to do so.

Ordinarily, the grounds termed as “general indignities” is utilized in divorce cases.

How is child custody determined?

Unless otherwise agreed upon, primary custody of children is generally awarded to one party with the other party having rights to visitation with the children.  If the court must determine custody, it is awarded based on the welfare and best interests of the children, after a consideration of the following factors:

  1. The circumstances of the parents and children;
  2. The nature of the case;
  3. Which parent is most likely to allow frequent and continuing contact with the other parent; and
  4. Any acts of domestic  violence.

The sex of the parent is not a factor for decisions relating to child custody. In determining the best interest of the child, the court may consider the preferences of the child if the child is of a sufficient age and capacity to reason, regardless of chronological age.

When is joint custody appropriate?

Generally, joint custody is only appropriate in situations where the parties agree to share the child’s time and work together amicably in all matters relating to the child. The court, in its discretion may award joint custody, but that finding is extremely rare due to the volatility involved in bringing a case to trial.

What is the visitation schedule for non-custodial parents?

Visitation schedules may vary with each and every family. The court gives great deference to families in determining what schedule best works for the schedules and activities of the parents and children where the family makes an agreement on such a schedule. As a guideline, most counties in Arkansas provide a Standard Visitation Schedule which may be obtained from the Circuit Clerk of each county or contact our office.

How is child support determined?

Child support is dictated by the Supreme Court of Arkansas in the Arkansas Family Support Chart outlined in Administrative Order No. 10. It is based on income and number of children. Parties may vary from this chart by agreement. The court may vary from the chart based on the circumstances of the parents and child and the nature of the case. The amount in the Arkansas Family Support Chart is presumed correct unless the court finds that the amount would be inappropriate or unjust.

When is alimony appropriate?

When a decree of divorce is entered, the court may make orders concerning the alimony of the wife or the husband as are reasonable from the circumstances of the parties, from the need of the party requesting alimony,  and from consideration of the following:

  1. The length of the marriage;
  2. Age, health, and station in life of the parties;
  3. Occupation of the parties;
  4. Amount and sources of income;
  5. Vocational skills;
  6. Employability;
  7. Estate, liabilities, and needs of each party and opportunity of each for further acquisition of capital assets and income;
  8. Contribution of each party in acquisition, preservation, or appreciation of marital property, including services as a homemaker; and
  9. The federal income tax consequences of the court’s division of property.

How does the court divide real and personal property?

Property is awarded to the individual who owned the property prior to the marriage. For property purchased during the marriage, if the parties do not agree to a division of said property, the court may at its discretion make an equitable division or order that the property be auctioned and the proceeds divided between the parties.

Can I change my name to my maiden name in my divorce?

Regardless of who petitions the court for divorce, a wife may return to her name prior to the marriage upon request in the Decree of Divorce.

The Wilkinson Law Firm is based in Bentonville, AR and handles cases all over the State of Arkansas. The Northwest Arkansas region is the firm’s primary practice area including: Bentonville, AR, Rogers, AR, Fayetteville, AR, Springdale, AR, Bella Vista, AR, Eureka Springs, AR. The Wilkinson Law Firm regularly accepts high profile cases from all over the State of Arkansas.

Contact the Wilkinson Law Firm for a free initial consultation at (479) 273-2212 or e-mail at shane@wilkinsonattorneys.com. The phones are answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.