Arkansas Divorce Procedures

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Ours is the age of chaos and competition. Socio-economic conditions during the last two decades have changed man's perception towards his life, thus expanding confusion. In this digital age, no one wants to struggle for a failing relationship. Marriage, which used to be an unbreakable affair in the past, is now often failing, leading to divorce. Couples choose to confront courts in order to end their marriage legally. They have to go through a number of legal proceedings in accordance with the laws. USA has 50 states, which have all laid down their own rules and regulations pertaining to divorce. Arkansas divorce procedures are no different as the state has chalked its own divorce laws.

It is not possible to note down all the divorce procedures in a single article, as divorce laws and proceedings vary according to the nature of the case. Yet we bring to your focus some of the primary steps that couples take. The procedure for divorce in Arkansas can be broadly categorized into three steps as follows:

  • Filling and filing divorce forms
  • Notifying Respondent of filing for divorce
  • Remaining present at the divorce hearing

Initiation of Arkansas Divorce Procedure

The Petitioner must confirm that the residency requirements are being fulfilled. This is to be followed by filing the divorce papers. The proper venue for filing the divorce is the Chancery court of Arkansas. However, if the Plaintiff does not reside in this state while the Defendant is, then the county in which the Defendant resides is chosen.

The Complaint of divorce asks the court to issue a divorce decree and settle topics like divorce property division, visitation, child support and child custody. When the Complaint is filed, a case number is allocated to make the procedure easy. The county clerk's office is the place wherein all divorce documents are filed and handled.

Fees of Arkansas Divorce Procedure

Till March 2007, 100 USD were essential as a filing fee for an uncontested divorce. Additional fees were compulsory if the divorce was a contested one or the Defendant partner could not be traced. These additional fees were required for publication in local newspapers, service of process fees and witness fees.

Serving the Respondent

Any person, other than the Plaintiff, has to personally serve the copy of the complaint and summons to the Defendant. It is the responsibility of the Defendant to file a response (written answer) in the circuit clerk's office wherein the filing of divorce took place. As per the statute, if the Defendant resides within the state, 20 days are provided for a response, and if the Defendant resides outside the state, the time period allocated is 30 days.

If the Defendant chooses not to file a response within the stipulated period, then such a Defendant is in default. After the period is over, the Defendant loses the right to attend divorce hearings or be notified regarding the progress of the divorce procedure.

Importance of witness

The witness plays the important role of substantiating the grounds of divorce with testimonies or evidence. In case the Defendant contests the divorce, the role of the witness is to convince the judge, by testifying some circumstance or fact, the accusations of the Defendant are genuine.

Parenting Classes

If the divorcing partners have any minor children, then they must attend minimum 2 hours of parenting classes. These classes must be relevant to the issues faced by the partners. Alternatively, the divorcing partners must take part in mediation, where visitation, custody, and parenting topics are discussed.

Litigation or Consent Decree

If it is found that the divorcing partners do not accede with each other regarding the issues of the petition, then the litigation starts. Here, each party has to get involved in the following:

  • Requesting pertinent documents of the other partner
  • Requesting hearings in front of the Judge
  • Setting of depositions to interrogate the witnesses and parties
  • Hiring adroit witnesses
  • The final step is to conduct a trial regarding the issues in contest

The other route is to obtain a consent decree. Here, The partners must compulsorily agree with each other regarding all the terms of the divorce, following which they have to wait for sixty days, and then file a consent decree.

Divorce is an unfortunate affair. But if taken at the right time and in a right way, it can change the course of your life. You need to think about your future, your child's future, and other matters like finance and household affairs also. To ensure that you are not deprived of your rights, you must follow the Arkansas divorce procedures so that your divorce does not ruin your life ahead.

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