Important Divorce Laws to File for a Divorce in Arkansas
Arkansas Residency Requirements For Divorce
You must be an Arkansas resident for at least 60 days prior to filing the divorce petition. The Arkansas divorce papers may be filed in the petitioner’s county of residence, or in the respondent’s county of residence. The residency requirement and waiting periods may be waived in special circumstances.
Grounds For Divorce In Arkansas
Arkansas recognizes both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce.
The no-fault grounds for divorce in Arkansas is:
- voluntarily living separately without cohabitation for at least 18 months.
The Arkansas fault grounds for divorce include, but are not limited to:
- confinement for incurable insanity for three years or more;
- conviction of a felony;
- nonsupport, where the withholding spouse has the means to provide support but refuses;
- habitual intemperance for at least one year;
Arkansas Child Custody
Arkansas courts prefer to award joint custody, but the final decision is made on what is in the child’s best interest. Joint child custody affords the parents equal decision making power, but not necessarily equal physical custody of the child.
When deciding upon child custody cases, Arkansas divorce courts consider factors such as:
- age and sex of the child;
- safety and well being of the child;
- character and experience of the parents;
- desires of a mature child, and more.
Arkansas Child Support Guidelines
Unless special circumstances are present, the courts calculate child support based on the official child support guidelines. Child support will continue until the child reaches adulthood, and may be extended through his or her secondary education.
The Arkansas divorce forms and petition may be filed in the county in which the petitioner or respondent resides, or where the couple resided when the separation occurred.
Either party may file a motion requesting mediation of their disputed issues, if a divorce in Arkansas is pending. Prior to the initiation of divorce proceedings, the parties may choose to submit any or all of their issues to mediation so that they may proceed in court on an uncontested basis.