As well-seasoned divorce lawyers, we created a series of blogs for those of you thinking of divorce in Arkansas. Over the next few weeks we’ll be posting thoughts about grounds for divorce, orders of protection, real and personal property, covenant marriage, who pays and more. For information about Leigh Law’s Family & Domestic Law services, click here. We also answer several of your most common questions on our FAQ page.
There are at 8 broad possible categories of things to argue about in a divorce. We’ve dedicated separate blog posts to each category, plus some!
This post is dedicated to Grounds for Divorce in Arkansas
There must be grounds for divorce in Arkansas. The only no-fault grounds is if you and your spouse have been living “separate and apart” for over 18 months. If you don’t want to wait 18 months for a divorce, then we must choose from our other options of fault grounds:
- Impotence – Your spouse was impotent at the time of the marriage and continues to be impotent
- Felony conviction – Your spouse is convicted of a felony or other “infamous crime
- Drunkenness – Your spouse has a habit of getting drunk continually during a one-year period or a longer period of time
- Cruel and inhuman treatment – Your spouse behaves in a way that is so cruel that it’s endangering your life
- General Indignities – Your spouse humiliates you to the point that it makes your life extremely difficult
- Adultery – Your spouse cheats on you after the marriage
- Incurable insanity – When you and your spouse have lived separately for 3 years because s/he is incurably insane and has been committed to a mental institution for 3 years or more before the filing for divorce
- Lack of support – When your spouse is legally obligated to support you and has the ability to do so but s/he doesn’t.
Further, the grounds for divorce in Arkansas must have occurred within the five years before filing and the grounds must have occurred in the State of Arkansas.
It’s Best Not To Fight Over Grounds for Divorce
Realistically, most couples do not fight over the grounds. If both parties want the divorce, the we can move to settling the custody, support, asset and debt division and not waste time or money on the issue of grounds. Most couples waive the requirement of “proving” grounds (can you imagine the embarrassment of having to prove impotence in a court of law!)
At Leigh Law we are big into applying reasonableness and common sense to all cases. 99.9% of the time we recommend filing based on the basis of general indignities. That is the least offensive and gets us off on the right foot to negotiate a reasonable settlement for divorce in the other areas.
Why poke the bear and make the rest of the divorce more difficult by alleging drunkenness or abandonment?
If your spouse sued for divorce, then we can contest grounds, but there is no practical benefit. If you absolutely 100% don’t want to be the party who is “at fault” for the divorce, we can negotiate that in the settlement and also counterclaim so your spouse is the one “taking fault.” If this is important to you, don’t despair if your spouse filed and served you first. It is important to note that whoever takes fault does not get a negative inference in the property or asset division or child custody.
Divorce in Arkansas Isn’t About Punishment
At first blush I suppose it makes sense to think that the person at fault should be “punished” in how the the assets and children are divided, but that is not how it works at all. Marriages are contracts are like all contracts, there is no punitive remedy in the law for breaking the contract.
Practically, just because a spouse had an affair or can’t get along with the other spouse, that doesn’t make that person a bad parent or deserving of being destitute financially. Divorce court is equitable and being an alcoholic, for example, is not justification to make someone homeless by giving all the assets to one spouse!
Bottom Line: in theory, can we fight over grounds for divorce in Arkansas? Absolutely! Should we? Um, definitely not!! And we can drag it out and run up costs fighting grounds, but eventually your spouse can divorce you whether you like it or not. Besides, who wants to force someone to stay married if that person doesn’t want to anymore?
Call For A Free Case Evaluation
Case evaluations are completely free; our fees are flat and affordable. Call Leigh Law today at (501) 227-ROAR or Email Us to ensure that you are making wise decisions now which will last far beyond the entry of the divorce decree.