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Arkansas - Divorce Requirements
The following information is to provide a basic understanding of the various aspects of Arkansas divorce.

Click here for more specific information regarding Arkansas divorce laws.

Every effort has been made to assure that the information contained in these pages is accurate however, due to the ever changing nature of the law some material may be outdated or may no longer apply.

Residency Requirements 60 days
Where to File The county in which the plaintiff resides
Grounds for Divorce The circuit court shall have power to dissolve and set aside a marriage contract, not only from bed and board, but from the bonds of matrimony, for the following causes:
  • Where either party, at the time of the contract, was and still is impotent;
  • Where either party shall be convicted of a felony or other infamous crime;
  • Where either party shall be addicted to habitual drunkenness for one (1) year, shall be guilty of such cruel and barbarous treatment as to endanger the life of the other, or shall offer such indignities to the person of the other as shall render his or her condition intolerable;
  • Where either party shall have committed adultery subsequent to the marriage;
  • Where husband and wife have lived separate and apart from each other for eighteen (18) continuous months without cohabitation, the court shall grant an absolute decree of divorce at the suit of either party, whether the separation was the voluntary act of one party or by the mutual consent of both parties or due to the fault of either party or both parties;
  • In all cases where a husband and wife have lived separate and apart for three (3) consecutive years without cohabitation by reason of the incurable insanity of one of them, the court shall grant a decree of absolute divorce upon the petition of the sane spouse if the proof shows that the insane spouse has been committed to an institution for the care and treatment of the insane for three (3) or more years prior to the filing of the suit, been adjudged to be of unsound mind by a court of competent jurisdiction, and has not been discharged from such adjudication by such court and the proof of insanity is supported by the evidence of two (2) reputable physicians familiar with the mental condition of the spouse, one of whom shall be a regularly practicing physician in the community wherein such spouse resided and, where the insane spouse has been confined in an institution for the care and treatment of the insane, that the proof in the case is supported by the evidence of the superintendent or one (1) of the physicians of the institution wherein the insane spouse has been confined;
  • Where 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.
Voluntary or required mediation No
Voluntary or recommended CounselingYes
Property Distribution All marital property shall be distributed one-half (1/2) to each party unless the court finds such a division to be inequitable. In that event the court shall make some other division that the court deems equitable taking into consideration:
  • The length of the marriage;
  • Age, health, and station in life of the parties;
  • Occupation of the parties;
  • Amount and sources of income;
  • Vocational skills;
  • Employability;
  • Estate, liabilities, and needs of each party and opportunity of each for further acquisition of capital assets and income;
  • Contribution of each party in acquisition, preservation, or appreciation of marital property, including services as a homemaker;
  • The federal income tax consequences of the court's division of property
When property is divided pursuant to the foregoing considerations the court must state its basis and reasons for not dividing the marital property equally between the parties, and the basis and reasons should be recited in the order entered in the matter.
All other property shall be returned to the party who owned it prior to the marriage unless the court shall make some other division that the court deems equitable taking into consideration those factors enumerated in subdivision (a)(1) of this section, in which event the court must state in writing its basis and reasons for not returning the property to the party who owned it at the time of the marriage
Child Custody The courts award what is in the best interest of the child.
The following factors are generally considered:
  • The situations of both parents and child
  • The nature of the divorce
Uniform Child Custody Act: 1979
Is Joint Custody awarded? When in the best interests of a child, custody shall be awarded in such a way so as to assure the frequent and continuing contact of the child with both parents. To this effect, the circuit court may consider awarding joint custody of a child to the parents in making an order for custody
Do Grandparents Have the Right to Visitation? YES
Are Child's Wishes Considered? NO
Child Support Either parent may be ordered to provide support. The payments may paid directly to an appointed court employee, or through the state enforcement agency. There are specific child support guidelines for the state although deviation from the guidelines is permitted under certain circumstances. The following factors are generally considered: a child's need for contact with both parents, the joint responsibilities for the welfare of the child, the financial resources, cost of day care, and the standard of living the child would have otherwise enjoyed had not the divorce taken place.
Spousal Support Support may be granted to either spouse to be paid in installments for a specific amount of time. The time is subject to change under circumstances, like re-marriage or death.