Getting a divorce can be complex under even the best of circumstances, especially in the state of Arkansas. Even if you can establish grounds for divorce and meet the qualifying criteria set out by state law, there are still several procedural steps and potential court processes you will have to complete before your marriage can be formally dissolved.
Fortunately, the Texarkana divorce process can be made easier by enlisting professional help as early as possible. Once retained, a seasoned divorce attorney could lend their experience and knowledge towards protecting your best interests and pursuing a positive final resolution.
Certain rules must be met in order to file for divorce in the state of Arkansas. According to Arkansas Code §9-12-307, a person who wishes to begin the divorce process in Texarkana, Arkansas must first have lived in Arkansas for at least 60 days. Furthermore, they will not be able to receive a final divorce decree until at least three months after they established residence in Arkansas, or 30 days after they file their initial complaint, whichever comes later.
Most importantly, a plaintiff seeking divorce must justify their petition with one of the grounds listed in Arkansas Code §9-12-301(b). Only one of these accepted reasons—physical separation without cohabitation for at least 18 months—does not require the plaintiff to show that their spouse is directly at fault for the breakdown of their marriage. An attorney could go into further detail about specific grounds for divorce and what evidence may be needed to support a divorce complaint.
The official divorce process for a qualifying plaintiff in Texarkana, Arkansas begins with submitting a Complaint for Divorce to the Miller County Circuit Court. Once it acknowledges receipt of the divorce petition, the court will put a “Standard Restraining Order” into effect that prohibits both spouses from harassing each other or wasting marital assets. The filing party must then serve a Divorce Summons to their non-filing spouse, who has 30 days to respond before the court will assume their silence means they do not object to the divorce proceedings.
Following this, a discovery period will ensue that entails both parties making comprehensive financial disclosures, and discussing how they wish to approach issues such as division of marital assets and debts, as well as spousal support. While divorcing spouses can agree on a preferred arrangement for child custody and child support, the legal authority for these and other child-related matters lies solely with the court.
If both spouses agree on everything, they can pursue an uncontested divorce, which may require only a brief hearing before a judge to ensure the terms of the divorce are fair and equitable. Alternatively, a divorce with contested issues may take longer to resolve. Third-party mediation and/or judicial intervention could be necessary before the court passes down a final divorce decree.
The divorce process can take several weeks even if you and your spouse are willing to work together. Meanwhile, any disputes that arise will almost always result in months of negotiations and court hearings. This is in addition to the various procedural requirements that could trip up anyone not accustomed to Arkansas divorce law.
Fortunately, help is available from a dedicated divorce lawyer, no matter what your circumstances are. Call today to learn how legal counsel could assist you with your Texarkana divorce process.