No one imagines that their marriage could end in a bitter divorce. Unfortunately, many couples may decide it is appropriate to file for a divorce. However, some spouses have the false belief that they can evade a divorce by avoiding signing divorce documents or evading service of process entirely. Fortunately, Arkansas has other options for individuals that cannot get their spouse to consent to a divorce. If you or a family member are having trouble with divorce proceedings, you should consult with an experienced Fayetteville divorce attorney today. At Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP, our legal team recognizes the tension that a divorce can create for a family, and we are here to help alleviate the divorce process. Our firm is here to explain what happens if your spouse does not respond to your request for a divorce.
Types of Marriages in Arkansas
Before you serve divorce documents on your spouse, you should ensure that you meet the requirements for filing a divorce. In Arkansas, there are two types of marriages that a couple can choose from. These two types are covenant marriages and non-covenant marriages. A covenant marriage occurs when both spouses promise that their marriage will be a lifetime commitment. Both spouses must also attend marriage counseling, live in the State of Arkansas, and specifically request a covenant marriage.
Arkansas law states that if you are in a covenant marriage, you can only file for divorce if there is a “complete and total breach of the marital covenant commitment.” A complete and total breach can have several meanings:
- A spouse has committed adultery
- A spouse was convicted of a felony or other serious crime
- The spouses have resided in separate living quarters for a consecutive term of two years without any attempts at reconciliation
- Your spouse sexually or physically abused your child
Non-covenant marriages do not require a vow for lifelong commitment or marriage counseling prior to the marriage. The requirements for a non-covenant divorce also do not require an absolute breach of the marital covenant. However, many of the grounds for divorce are similar. For example, you can divorce a spouse if they commit adultery or if they become addicted to drugs or alcohol. Additionally, at least one spouse must be a resident of Arkansas for at least 60 days before you can file for divorce.
It is also important to note that there are fault or no-fault grounds for divorce in Arkansas. However, if you are having trouble issuing divorce forms to your spouse, it is possible that you may not need to worry about this step. To learn more about serving divorce forms on a spouse, you should consult with an experienced Arkansas family law lawyer.
How to Serve Divorce Documents on Your Spouse
You must first file a complaint for divorce with the Chancery Court before you serve the forms on your spouse. If you live out-of-state, you can file these documents with the court in the county where your spouse resides.
In general, there are two ways to serve divorce papers on your spouse. You can send the documents through certified mail, or you can have a court-appointed process server deliver the forms to your spouse. Once your spouse receives the divorce forms, they will have 30 days to submit their response to the court. If you cannot locate your spouse to serve the forms, the court may place a notice in the local newspaper or another publication that your spouse is likely to read.
If your spouse does not respond within the 30-day timeframe, the court may decide to grant you a divorce on your terms. However, the court may impose additional requirements before granting your divorce. For example, you may have to reside in the State of Arkansas for a certain period of time. The court may also require you to live separately from your spouse for some time.
Some spouses may believe that a divorce cannot occur if they simply ignore all documents related to the divorce. Our firm can help you explore your options if you think your spouse is purposely dodging divorce forms.
Our Arkansas Family Law Attorneys Can Help You Successfully File for Divorce
If you or a family member require assistance serving a spouse with divorce documents, you should contact an experienced Springdale family law attorneys today. The divorce lawyers at Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP possess decades of experience litigating several types of divorce claims, and we will use this knowledge to aid you with your divorce. The divorce process is difficult enough without having to worry about a spouse avoiding the process entirely. You do not have to handle a split from your spouse alone, contact Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP at (479) 439-9840.