If your marriage is ending in divorce, you aren’t alone. Arkansas has some of the highest divorce rates in the country. But getting divorced isn’t always a simple process. You and your spouse will need to work out many details before your divorce can be finalized.
Whether you’ve been served divorce papers or are ready to file for divorce, you need a dedicated Arkansas divorce attorney on your side. Having an experienced professional to walk you through each step of the process can make this difficult time a little easier. Call The Law Group of Northwest Arkansas PLLC to discuss your impending divorce.
Annulment vs. Divorce in Arkansas
Many people believe they have a choice between getting their marriage annulled or going through a divorce. But the state of Arkansas is stringent regarding when an annulment will be granted. Only in the following situations could your marriage be annulled:
- If either spouse was mentally incapacitated
- If either spouse was not legally able to consent to the marriage
- If either spouse was coerced into the marriage
- If either spouse is impotent
You may be granted an annulment depending on the details of your case. If given, it will be as though your marriage never existed. Divorce is different. Most couples will need to go through a divorce as they do not meet the requirements for an annulment. In a divorce, your marriage still exists, but you’re no longer legally recognized as your ex’s marital partner.
How Marital Property is Distributed in a Divorce
One of the most significant points of contention in Arkansas divorces is the division of your marital property, debts, and assets. Many spouses are under the impression that in the divorce, their spouse is entitled to fifty percent of the estate. But this may not always be the case.
Arkansas is an equitable distribution state. So marital debts, assets, and property are divided fairly, not equally. This may work to your benefit in your divorce proceedings. Your divorce lawyer in Arkansas will work tirelessly to ensure your spouse doesn’t take advantage of you in your divorce settlement.
Pre- and Postnuptial Agreements
A prenuptial agreement is a legally binding document outlining how your divorce will be settled if your marriage dissolves. It is signed before you become a married couple. A postnuptial agreement covers the same information but is signed after you’ve married your spouse.
If you entered into either of these agreements, the terms would need to be closely reviewed by your attorney.
How to Protect Your Assets
To make sure you aren’t taken advantage of during this challenging time in your life, you need to protect your assets. Keep a detailed record of all your bank accounts and their information and statements as well. These could be useful if there becomes a discrepancy over how money is spent while a divorce is pending or spousal maintenance, also called alimony.
Don’t Hide Your Assets
Don’t take steps to hide your assets if you’re divorcing your spouse. Hiding your assets is going to look terrible for you in court. But worse than that, you could face criminal charges. Have your Arkansas divorce attorney advocate for your right to your share of the marital assets and advise you on how to handle finances while your divorce is pending.
How Alimony Works in Arkansas Divorces
Many divorcees believe that they have the right to or will be ordered to pay spousal maintenance if their marriage dissolves. On the contrary, Arkansas does not award spousal maintenance in every divorce. In fact, it may only be granted in particular circumstances.
Maybe one spouse is physically unable to provide for themselves. One spouse could have been a homemaker for years and be temporarily unable to cover their financial expense or may have supported their spouse to gain an advanced degree or other training.
In other cases, spousal maintenance might be awarded when one spouse earns considerably more than the other spouse. Spousal maintenance may be awarded to the lesser-earning spouse to maintain their marital standard of living.
Factors That Determine Alimony
The courts consider several factors when determining whether alimony should be awarded and how much. Some of these factors include:
- How long you were married
- Whether you share children
- Your child custody arrangements
- Both spouses’ earnings
- Both spouses’ expenses
- Both spouses’ marital contributions
- Both spouses’ standard of living
- Employment history
The Arkansas Divorce Process
To begin the divorce process in Arkansas, one spouse needs to file a divorce complaint against the other. But before you can complete your complaint, there are two important details you need to consider:
- Whether you meet the residency requirements
- Whether you’re going to file on fault or no-fault grounds
Residency Requirements for Divorce in Arkansas
To proceed with your Arkansas divorce, you need to be a legal resident for at least sixty days. Both spouses do not need to be considered Arkansas residents to move forward with the divorce. If you are unsure whether you meet the state’s residency requirements for divorce, contact your attorney.
Arkansas Fault and No-Fault Grounds for Divorce
In most states, you can either file for divorce on fault grounds or no-fault grounds. You can only file for a no-fault divorce if you and your spouse have been separated for at least eighteen (18) continuous months. Otherwise, you will need to file alleging that the other party has fault.
Examples of Fault Divorces
No-fault divorces simply recognize that you and your spouse are no longer able to remain married. But in fault divorces, you are accusing your spouse of doing something that directly caused the end of your marriage. Some examples could include:
- General Indignities – one party has treated the other with such indignities as to make married life intolerable (this is the most common reason for divorce in Arkansas)
- Committing a felony
- Domestic abuse
- Alcohol or substance abuse
- Incurable mental incapacity
Get Help From a Divorce Attorney in Arkansas
Has your marriage come to an end? You need to take steps to protect yourself, your children, and your assets. Even the most amicable divorces can become messy overnight. Don’t put yourself at risk. Contact an experienced Arkansas divorce attorney at The Law Group of Northwest Arkansas PLLC today. Schedule your no-risk, free consultation when you fill out our online contact form. Or call our office at 1-479-316-3760 to get started on your divorce settlement.