Fort Smith, AR Divorce Lawyer

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Divorcing from a spouse can be a difficult and stressful process, especially if you share children with your spouse. If spouses cannot agree on what to do with marital property and who should take custody of children, this can result in a lengthy and costly divorce process. If you need legal assistance for your divorce proceedings, contact an experienced Fort Smith divorce lawyer.

At Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP, our divorce lawyers are dedicated to helping you pursue the most desirable outcome for your divorce. Our legal team understands how a divorce could seriously impact a family’s dynamic, and we are here for you. To schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your legal options, contact Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP at 479-717-9068, or contact us online.

Arkansas Divorce Laws

If you are contemplating filing for divorce in Arkansas, you should be aware that there are several requirements that must be satisfied before you can file. One requirement to file for divorce in Arkansas is that you or your spouse must live within the state for at least 60 days and for another three months until divorce proceedings are concluded.

A mandatory separation period may also be required if a spouse wants to file for a no-fault divorce. A no-fault divorce means that the spouses are splitting for mutual reasons as opposed to a spouse committing certain actions that drove the spouses apart. The mandatory separation period for no-fault divorces is at least 18 months. During this time, both spouses cannot cohabitate.

The separation period does not have to be agreed to by both spouses; one spouse can decide to live separately. However, if one spouse does not agree to the separation period, the other spouse may need a witness to prove that they were not cohabitating.

It is also possible to file for a fault-based divorce in Arkansas. Utilizing a fault-based divorce will allow a spouse to circumvent the 18-month separation period as long as they can prove the fault-based grounds for the divorce. The following is a list of reasons that satisfy the requirements of a fault-based divorce in Arkansas:

  • Adultery
  • Alcoholism
  • Cruel or abusive treatment that may cause you to fear for your life
  • Desertion (typically for a period of at least a year)
  • Felony conviction
  • Financial recklessness
  • Irreconcilable differences

If you and your spouse had a covenant marriage where you had to undergo pre-marital counseling prior to being married, you might have to satisfy additional requirements before you can be divorced. Not only must a spouse meet the requirements for a fault-based divorce, but they must also visit a marriage counselor before divorcing.

To learn more about how divorce works in Arkansas, you should continue reading and speak with an experienced Fort Smith family law lawyer.

Property Division and Child Custody After a Divorce

An important and necessary part of every divorce would be the division of property and issues of child custody if you and your spouse had children. While some spouses will be able to come to an agreement regarding these issues, others may have to handle these problems through litigation.

In Arkansas, spouses must deal with marital property and separate property before the divorce can be finalized. Marital property is the property that is accumulated during the marriage, like real estate and debts. Alternatively, separate property is the property that was earned prior to the marriage. Separate property typically remains with its original owner unless the owner places their spouse’s name on the title of the property.

Marital property is typically distributed by examining the following factors:

  • Duration of the marriage
  • The occupation and employability of both spouses
  • The health and age of each spouse
  • The financial situation of each spouse
  • Income tax liability
  • The existence of marital misconduct

When looking at child custody, the court may also use some of the factors listed above. For example, if a spouse retains custody of a child, the court may also look at their ability to care for that child.

If a spouse has primary custody of a child, this could lead the court to impose spousal support for the child. However, having custody of a child does not mean that one parent can make all the decisions for the well-being of the child. Both parents must discuss important decisions like education and healthcare.

Contact Our Experienced Arkansas Divorce Attorneys Today

If you are in the midst of a divorce, you should contact an experienced Arkansas divorce attorney today. The divorce attorneys at Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP possess decades of combined legal experience dealing with a wide range of complex divorce cases, and we are prepared to use that knowledge to represent you. To schedule a confidential legal consultation to discuss your case, contact Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP at 479-717-9068.