Fayetteville Divorce Lawyer
Ending a marriage brings both emotional and legal challenges, particularly when young children are involved in the divorce process. At the law firm of Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP our goal is to help you successfully navigate and overcome those challenges by providing personalized, around-the-clock legal support. Divorce is often difficult, but you can depend on our experienced and knowledgeable Arkansas divorce attorneys to answer your questions, handle your paperwork, guide you through the legal process, and protect the best interests of you and your children.
Contact Our Fayetteville Family Law Attorneys for a Legal Consultation
The family law lawyers of Gunn Kieklak Dennis have over 20 years of legal experience assisting the men and women of Northwestern Arkansas with divorce proceedings, child custody disputes, child support disputes, and alimony disputes. We are proud to serve the families of Fayetteville, Springdale, Farmington, Elm Springs, Rogers, Bentonville, and other local communities.
If you are thinking about filing for divorce in Fayetteville, or if you have already been served with divorce papers and aren’t sure what to do next, turn to the skilled attorneys of Gunn Kieklak Dennis for assistance. We will help you understand your legal rights and responsibilities while walking you through the next steps.
To arrange for a confidential legal consultation, call our law offices today at (479) 717-9068. Please don’t hesitate to contact us late at night or early in the morning – we are here to serve you and your family 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our goal is to lighten your burden and simplify the legal process for you while aggressively defending your custody, alimony, and property rights.
The Grounds for Divorce and Residency Requirements in Arkansas?
The person who files for divorce is known as the petitioner, while the person being served with divorce papers is known as the respondent. However, before you can file for divorce in the state of Arkansas, you must:
- Make sure you meet the Arkansas residency requirements for divorce.
- Determine the grounds for the divorce.
Under Ark. Code Ann. § 9-12-307, which establishes the state’s divorce residency requirements, either you or your spouse must be able to prove that at least one of you was an Arkansas resident:
- For at least 60 days prior to filing for divorce
- For at least three months before the final divorce decree is granted
The basis you cite for your divorce is known as the grounds for divorce. Depending on the grounds cited, a divorce can be described as either fault or no-fault. A no-fault divorce is a divorce based on a minimum 18-month period of physical separation, whereas a fault divorce points to a specific reason for the dissolution of the marriage. Arkansas recognizes eight distinct fault grounds for divorce under Ark. Code Ann. § 9-12-301:
- Felony criminal conviction
- Habitual drunkenness (alcoholism) lasting at least one year
- “Cruel and barbarous treatment” that endangers the life of the other spouse
- Engaging in behavior that makes the other spouse’s living conditions “intolerable”
- Being committed to a mental health institution for at least three years
- Willful failure to provide support for the other spouse
It is also important to note that the grounds for divorce may be different depending on the type of marriage you had. For example, if you and your spouse are filing for dissolution of a covenant marriage, both spouses must engage in authorized counseling before they can proceed with the divorce. However, after receiving counseling, many of the grounds for divorce will remain the same.
Additionally, after a decree of divorce, if a spouse changed their last name the court may permit them to restore the name they had prior to the marriage.
How Long Does It Take to File for Divorce?
The answer to this question is different for every family. The amount of time it will take for your case to resolve depends largely on the extent to which there are disputes, if any, over matters such as alimony and the division of property. If there are minor children, child support and child custody disputes may also arise. Depending on your family’s unique circumstances, your case may take anywhere from several months to several years to conclude.
Generally, Arkansas courts encourage divorcing spouses to work out their own mutually acceptable plans for child custody, property division, and other legal matters related to the dissolution of the marriage. However, if you and your spouse are unable to agree, and any aspects of your divorce are contested, the court may be forced to intervene and impose a decision based on the evidence which is presented.
At the bare minimum, you can expect that the divorce process will take at least 30 days to resolve. This is due to the waiting period established by Ark. Code Ann. § 9-12-307, which provides that “no decree of divorce… shall be granted until at least 30 days have elapsed from the date of the filing of the complaint [for divorce].”
Under certain circumstances, two individuals may be engaged in a voidable marriage. For example, if two people were too young to consent to a marriage, their marriage may be voidable. To learn more about filing for divorce in Arkansas, you should consult with an experienced Fayetteville family law attorney.
Determining Child Custody During a Divorce
If you and your former spouse share minor children, determining who has child custody is another important issue. While it was customary for one parent to have custody of the children while the other would have visitation rights, courts have evolved and realized the importance of both parents in a child’s life.
When determining child custody, Arkansas has the best interests of the child in mind. This means that preferential treatment will not be given to a certain parent due to their sex or any other factor. Additionally, if the child is old enough to make certain decisions, the court will consider the preferences of the child.
When handling child custody, it is almost guaranteed that alimony will have to be considered. Alimony is money paid to a former spouse in order to maintain the lifestyle they were accustomed to and to provide for children. If one spouse has custody over the children, the other spouse will likely be ordered to pay alimony. The number of alimony payments will depend on various circumstances like the cost of education or healthcare for a child.
Trust Our Experienced Fayetteville Family Law Attorneys
If you are considering getting divorced in Fayetteville, or if you need help responding to a divorce petition, you can rely on the dedicated Arkansas divorce attorneys of Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP for affordable quality legal representation. Call our law offices right away at (479) 717-9068 to schedule a completely confidential legal consultation. Don’t worry about having “too many questions” or not knowing where to start – that is exactly what we are here to assist you with.