Bentonville, AR Divorce Attorney
Deciding to divorce from a spouse is a difficult and stressful experience for any person. This decision can be even harder to make when you share one or multiple children with a spouse. However, when you need to act in your own best interest, a divorce may be the best option at your disposal. Still, you may have some questions about the process and potential consequences.
First, you should determine whether you are eligible for a divorce in Arkansas. You must satisfy a citizenship requirement as well as declare whether you are seeking a fault-based or no-fault divorce. Not only will you have to consider child custody issues, but you will also have to work out the distribution of property from the marriage. If you need legal assistance to handle your divorce, you should consult with an experienced Bentonville divorce attorney as soon as possible.
At Gunn Kieklak Dennis LLP, we are dedicated to offering our clients legal services that are adjusted to their unique needs. We know that enduring a divorce is a sensitive issue for a person, and we are here to offer you the legal representation you deserve. To schedule a confidential legal consultation to discuss your divorce case, contact Gunn Kieklak Dennis LLP at (479) 439-9840. You may also contact the firm online.
Requirements to File for Divorce in Bentonville, AR
Divorcing a spouse can be a life-changing experience. A person will have to consider many issues when they decide to initiate divorce proceedings. One of the first issues that must be resolved is meeting the requirements to file a divorce in Arkansas.
The first requirement that must be met when filing for a divorce is ensuring that you meet the residency timeframe for eligibility to file your case in Arkansas. In Arkansas, either spouse must be able to show that they resided in the state for at least 60 days before filing for a divorce. Additionally, either spouse must live within the State of Arkansas for at least three months prior to the court awarding the final divorce decree.
A residency requirement is not the only qualification that must be met before a person can file for a divorce in Arkansas. The spouse filing for the divorce must detail a grounds for divorce. This means that the spouse must provide a specific reason for why the marriage must be dissolved. Arkansas recognizes at-fault and no-fault grounds for divorce. For example, an at-fault divorce will discuss specific actions by a spouse, while a no-fault divorce is often based on a period of separation between the spouses.
If you choose to file for an at-fault divorce, here are common grounds that are used to support the filing:
- One or both spouses have committed adultery
- A felony conviction
- A spouse struggles with an addiction to alcohol or drugs
- Cruel treatment from one spouse causes the other spouse to fear for their life
- Tormenting a spouse to make the living situation intolerable
- Spending at least three years in a mental health institution
- Purposely ignoring one spouse’s need for support
Additionally, if you and your spouse you wed in a covenant marriage, you should be aware that you may be subject to other requirements. For example, you may legally be required to attend marriage counseling prior to completing a divorce.
If you choose to pursue a no-fault divorce, the court is obligated to grant your divorce regardless of any of the above factors. However, no-fault divorce is conditioned on a physical separation of at least 18 months. In other words, no-fault divorce only works if the married couple has not lived together or been intimate for 18 consecutive months prior to the filing of the divorce.
To learn more about other factors that should be considered when divorcing a spouse, you should consult with our experienced Bentonville divorce lawyers today.
Divorce Settlements in Bentonville, AR
Just because you are seeking a divorce does not mean that you have to have the end of your marriage litigated in front of a judge. Arkansas does allow for a divorce which can be conducted amicably to be settled out of court. Divorce settlements can account for many of the things that might otherwise be decided in court, including marital property distribution, alimony, and child support payments. In order to secure a divorce settlement, both parties must sign the agreement and then submit it to the court for approval. Once the court reviews and approves your divorce settlement, they will notify you via mail. As soon as the divorce settlement is approved, the marriage is dissolved.
If you have signed and submitted a divorce agreement, you still have the opportunity to have it altered. If your partner is willing to make changes, you may simply draft another agreement that expressly modifies it and submit it to the court for approval. If your partner is unwilling to negotiate the terms of the original divorce settlement, you have the option to petition the court to order modifications that override the original settlement.
Even though you are outside of a courtroom, you can still benefit from the help of legal counsel. Gunn Kieklak Dennis LLP can negotiate your settlement agreement, as well as draft and file the document on your behalf. By using one of our dedicated Bentonville divorce attorneys, you can avoid the contentiousness of a divorce settlement negotiation while ensuring that any agreement that you sign is equitable and valid.
Distribution of Marital Property in Bentonville, AR
One of the largest factors that must be considered when filing for divorce is the distribution of marital property. Marital property is a property that was accumulated during the marriage, and that belongs to each spouse. For example, if you and your spouse purchased a home after being married, you will have to determine who is permitted to remain in the home or whether it should be sold to distribute the proceeds to each spouse.
To avoid the possibility of losing property due to a divorce, a couple may look to sign a prenuptial agreement prior to marriage. A prenuptial agreement can set out how property will be distributed in the event of a divorce. This is especially helpful for spouses that wish to keep personal property separate from marital property. A prenuptial agreement can also help a spouse protecting an interest in a business or with preserving of the inheritance for a child.
If you are already married without a prenuptial agreement, you still have options. The State of Arkansas recognizes postnuptial, or mid-marriage, agreements which can act in place of or modify a prenuptial agreement. Postnuptial agreements are usually helpful for couples who are separated and concerned about division of property. Our capable Bentonville divorce attorneys can walk you through the preparation, negotiation, and drafting of your postnuptial agreement.
Child Custody in Bentonville, AR
If you had any children with your spouse, a divorce could lead to a number of custody issues. For example, one person may want full custody of a child while another seeks joint custody. If you and your former spouse cannot agree on child custody issues, they may have to be handled in court.
There are two types of custody that you need to know about. The first is physical custody, which refers to the right and responsibility of actual physical care of the child. Physical custody determines the amount of time that the child lives with each parent. Often, the parent with less physical custody will be responsible for child support payments as they have more time to work and earn income.
The second type of custody is legal custody, which determines a parent’s ability to be involved in decision-making regarding the larger issues of the child’s life. Areas that are governed by legal custody include medical care and education. Arkansas courts usually attempt to provide both divorced parents with some legal custody, but may reserve that power to one parent where such an arrangement serves the best interests of the child.
Courts in Arkansas are no longer obligated to favor the mother in a custody determination. In previous years, Arkansas followed the “Tender Years” doctrine, which often resulted in the mother retaining primarily (if not sole) physical custody of the child until the child reached a certain age. However, in recent years, the courts have shifted to merely considering what arrangement would be “in the best interest of the child,” regardless of gender.
Child Support Payments in Bentonville, AR
In 2020, Arkansas adopted a new set of guidelines for determining child support payments. The guidelines take into account the total net income of both parents, and determines the level of responsibility proportionally based on the contribution of each party. In other words, each party will owe a percentage of child support that mirrors their income in relation to the other.
For instance, if Parent A makes $3,000 per month and Parent B makes $1,000 and has physical custody of the child, Parent A will be responsible for 75% of the financial support of the child. Typically, the parent with the higher level of child support will pay that amount monthly to the other parent, who is expected to pay their end directly. The actual value of the child support is determined based on a complex formula. For more information about how the calculations affect your situation, speak to one of our Bentonville divorce attorneys today.
There are exceptions in place that allow for courts to deviate from the guidelines. Courts are likely to augment the guidelines where physical custody arrangements are shared more evenly between the parents. Courts will also consider any extraordinary financial circumstances of either parent.
Child support obligations typically terminate when the child turns 18 years old or graduates from high school, whichever comes later. Child support may also end when the child emancipates, marries, or dies. If the child suffers from a physical or mental condition requiring substantial financial support which developed before they turned 18, the child support obligation may continue until the condition improves or resolves.
Work with Our Experienced Bentonville, AR Divorce Attorneys Today
If you need legal aid to proceed with the dissolution of your marriage, you should work with our experienced Bentonville divorce attorneys today. The committed family law attorneys at Gunn Kieklak Dennis LLP is here to help you through a difficult divorce. Our skilled team of Fayetteville, AR family law attorneys has worked on a variety of divorce cases, and we can help you manage your divorce case in Bentonville, Arkansas. To schedule a confidential legal consultation to discuss your case, contact Gunn Kieklak Dennis LLP at (479) 439-9840. You can also use our online submission form to schedule your consultation.