Divorce in Arkansas: everything you need to know

1 min readLast updated February 20, 2024by Unbiased team

From filing and records to costs and more, this guide will take you through divorce in Arkansas and help you make informed decisions

Summary

  • Arkansas allows both fault and no-fault divorces.

  • The median cost of divorce in the US is $7,000, but this can fluctuate massively depending on your unique circumstances.

  • To file for divorce in Arkansas, you must have lived in the state for at least 60 days.

  • A financial advisor can help you navigate your finances during a divorce and rebuild afterward.

What are the different types of divorce in Arkansas?

Arkansas allows both fault and no-fault divorces.

Need help rebuilding your finances after divorce?

A financial advisor can guide you through your financial recovery both during and after your divorce.

You can get a no-fault divorce if you and your spouse have lived separately for at least 18 months without cohabitation.

You can also get a fault divorce in Arkansas if you can prove one of the following grounds:

  • Adultery

  • Felony conviction

  • Impotence

  • Habitual drunkenness

  • Cruel and inhuman treatment

  • Intolerable indignities

  • Insanity

  • Failure to support

There are a few possible options for divorce in Arkansas, depending on how much you and your spouse agree on the terms of the divorce:

1. Simplified “no-fault” divorce:

If you meet certain criteria, you may be eligible to use a simplified divorce process in Arkansas:

  • Summary dissolution - You can file a joint petition for summary dissolution if there are no children, no alimony, and minimal assets/debts. This can expedite the process.

  • Consent decree - If you and your spouse agree on all aspects of the divorce, you can file a settlement agreement without needing a trial or hearing.

  • Default decree - If your spouse does not respond to the divorce papers, you can request a default judgment granting the divorce.

2. Formal divorce trial:

If you have disputed issues that require resolution by the courts (such as alimony, custody, or complex property division), you may need to go through a full formal divorce trial and present evidence to support your claims.

How much does it cost to get divorced in Arkansas?

The costs involved in getting divorced vary widely based on whether the divorce is contested and if there are children or significant assets involved.

Simplified cases can cost a few hundred dollars in court fees, while complex litigation with financial discovery and custody evaluations can cost tens of thousands in legal fees alone.

Some key costs in an Arkansas divorce may include:

  • Court filing fees: Around $165 to file the case.

  • Service fees: Around $50+ to serve your spouse with the papers.

  • Attorney fees: From $1,500+ for simple agreements up to $10,000+ if litigation over property or custody rights.

  • Mandatory mediation: If you have children together, you may have to pay for mediation to develop a parenting plan.

  • Expert evaluations: In high-conflict custody cases, evaluators may assess parental fitness at around $3,000 per parent.

Filing taxes as “married filing separately” can also affect your tax liability during separation. So, it’s important to plan for potential tax implications.

How are assets divided in an Arkansas divorce?

Arkansas is an “equitable distribution” state. This means most assets and debts acquired or incurred during the marriage are considered marital property and are divided fairly, but not necessarily equally, by the court. The court will consider several factors when dividing marital property, such as:

  • The length of the marriage

  • The age, health, and income of each spouse

  • The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition, preservation, or appreciation of the property

  • The needs of each spouse and the children

  • The conduct of each spouse during the marriage

  • Any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements

Property acquired before the marriage is considered separate property, along with the income from it and anything purchased with it during the marriage.

Property received by gift or inheritance is also separate property, unless it was commingled with marital property. Separate property is not subject to division by the court.

Some assets commonly divided include:

  • House or other real estate

  • Cars and other vehicles

  • Bank accounts and investments

  • 401(k) or other retirement accounts

  • Businesses

  • Personal property (furniture, jewelry, collectibles)

Debts accrued jointly are also divided, such as mortgages, car loans, student loans, credit cards, unpaid taxes, etc.

The division process aims for a “fair and reasonable” division. Still, it does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split of every asset or debt, especially if one spouse has more separate property or earning potential than the other.

Settlement agreements decide who gets allocated each asset and liability while keeping in mind the overall equity of the distribution.

Can I get alimony or spousal support in Arkansas?

Arkansas courts may award alimony to help support the lower-earning spouse after divorce. How much and for how long depends on the recipient’s financial need, their ability to work, the marital standard of living, and the length of the marriage.

There is no set formula or percentage used to determine alimony awards.

Rather, judges have broad discretion to decide whether to grant alimony and, if so, how much and for how long. Unlike child support, alimony is not mandatory, nor is it necessarily granted if one spouse is stay-at-home.

However, the longer the marriage lasted while one spouse gave up their earning potential, the more likely and longer-lasting alimony may be ordered. The purpose is to provide some financial assistance for the spouse who needs it to maintain a reasonable standard of living.

However, awards are not permanent in most cases. State law does not specify any duration limits for alimony, but judges are expected to consider the possibility of the recipient becoming self-supporting. Alimony may also be modified or terminated if there is a substantial change in circumstances.

While not following any strict guidelines, Arkansas law does list factors judges may consider in determining alimony, such as:

  • The income and property of each spouse

  • The financial obligations and needs of each spouse

  • The duration of the marriage

  • The age, health, and employability of each spouse

  • The tax consequences of the alimony award

  • The conduct of each spouse during the marriage

  • Any other relevant factors

In sum, alimony is a flexible and case-specific remedy that aims to balance the financial interests of both spouses after divorce. But the goal is for both former spouses to achieve economic independence eventually.

Get expert financial advice

Going through a divorce in Arkansas can be complicated and emotional. Understanding the legal landscape and financial implications from the start helps reduce stress during an already difficult transition.

Speak to an expert financial advisor to make the best choices for your situation when navigating the complex process.

Unbiased can connect you with a financial advisor perfectly suited to meet your needs. Simply provide some details about what you’re looking for, and Unbiased’s platform will match you with your advisor.

Find your financial advisor with Unbiased today.

Writers

Unbiased team

Our team of writers, who have decades of experience writing about personal finance, including investing and retirement, are here to help you find out what you must know about life’s biggest financial decisions.

Need help rebuilding your finances after divorce?

A financial advisor can guide you through your financial recovery both during and after your divorce.