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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Grounds and Other Requirements for Divorce In Arkansas

            Technically speaking there is no such thing as a “no fault” divorce in the state of Arkansas.  In order to obtain a divorce in Arkansas you must have "grounds" for divorce.  This means that your spouse must have done something wrong in the eyes of the law, such as being habitually drunk, being convicted of a felony, cheating etc.  If you and your spouse have lived separate and apart without cohabitating (having sex) for 18 consecutive months you can obtain a divorce without proving that your spouse has committed some “bad” act.   The statute that governs grounds for divorce, Arkansas Code §9-12-301, lists the following grounds: impotency now and at the time of the marriage (I have only seen one divorce granted for this ground), conviction of a felony or other infamous crime, habitual drunkenness for one year, certain violent acts, adultery, being separated for eighteen (18) consecutive months, and probably the most common ground for divorce, general indignities.
            General indignities includes various degrees of intolerable treatment by the offending spouse and include the following list of offenses spelled out by the Arkansas Supreme Court "rudeness, vulgarity, unmerited reproach, haughtiness, contempt, contumeliousness, studied neglect, intentional incivility, injury, manifest disdain, abusive language, malignant ridicule and every other plain manifestation of settled hate, alienation, and estrangement." Grounds must be proved in court and this is normally done by testimony of the party seeking the divorce. Additionally the statutes require that the grounds must be corroborated by an additional witness.
        In addition to grounds there is a residency requirement. In order to obtain a divorce you must have lived in Arkansas for at least sixty (60) days prior to filing for divorce. There is also a statutory requirement that thirty (30) days must have elapsed between the time of filing for divorce and when the divorce is granted.
        The document which is filed that begins the process for divorce is called a Complaint. The Complaint is filed at the court house in the county in which you live and there is a filing fee charged by the circuit clerk of $165.

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