Arkansas Divorce Steps

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Divorce is a disturbing phase in an individual' s life. But, if not handled properly, it can have more harmful effects. Before applying for a dissolution of marriage, it is necessary to introduce yourself to the basics of family law which explains the provisions for a dissolution of marriage. Family laws will be in different kinds in different states. Here is a detailed information about divorce steps in Arkansas.

Arkansas Divorce Steps regarding Filing of the Complaint

  • Fill out the original copy of the Complaint and make 3 copies of this document
  • Take cover sheets at or from the court clerk
  • Attach a cover sheet to the original as well as the three copies
  • Submit all the cover sheets and copies of the complaint to the court clerk
  • While submitting the above documents, pay the filing fee
  • It may happen that the Petitioner might not have the money for payment of the filing fee. In such a case, the petitioner must file IFP (In Forma Pauperis) Petition
  • If the court grants the IFP Petition, the judge issues an order for waiver of the filing fee
  • It must be borne in mind that the Petitioner should initially procure the In Forma Pauperis Order with the signature of the judge and then file for complaint
  • When the Complaint is filed, the Petitioner must demand a standard Restraining Order to the clerk. This order is used for the following purposes
    • Any divorcing partner should not harass the other or the children
    • While the case is pending, any divorcing partner cannot sell or dispose of the marital property
  • Such a restraining order must be signed by the judge so that it becomes effective

Arkansas Divorce Steps regarding Service of the documents

  • The documents that are served to the Defendant, are the Complaint, the restraining order and the Summons. A summon means an order that is issued by the court to the Defendant. This order specifies the duration of time within which the Complaint must be answered
  • When the Petitioner files a complaint, the court clerk allocates a case number and issues a summons
  • In some counties, the summons is issued automatically while in others it is necessary to request the summons form
  • The service of the documents can be done in the following modes

By means of Mail

  • The Petitioner must send the documents to the last known address of the Defendant
  • The Petitioner must use certified mail, restricted delivery, return receipt requested
  • As per the rules, there exists a singular person who can sign the letter and this is the Defendant
  • If the Defendant does not sign the letter or any other individual signs it, this indicates that the service has not taken place correctly
  • Mail is the least costly means of a service

By means of Law Enforcement

  • The county sheriff or the process server performs the service
  • The Petitioner can refer to the phone book to get phone numbers of the sheriff and the process servers
  • The Petitioner must pay a fee for this service
  • The Petitioner may not pay any fee for this service, in case the court has waived the filing fee on the basis of In Forma Pauperis Petition
  • This method offers maximum assurance of service

Waiver of Service by Defendant

  • The Defendant might sign an entry of Appearance and Waiver of Service in the presence of notary public
  • The Petitioner must file the above mentioned documents along with the Complaint

By means of Publication

  • When the Petitioner cannot locate the Defendant or the service by mail , there exists a method of publication
  • The Petitioner presents an affidavit or sworn statement to the court clerk that mentions that the Petitioner tried to locate the Defendant by all methods but was unsuccessful
  • The court clerk issues a Warning Order. This order mentions that the Defendant must enter an appearance within 30 days from the date on which the Petitioner publishes the order for the first time
  • The Publication is done in a local newspapers

Thus, this is an informative analysis about Arkansas divorce steps. Though they will remain same for every case, some points may vary slightly depending on the nature of the case. Also, the divorce process will depend on the same. Mutual dissolution take less time while regular litigation may continue for years.

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