In Arkansas, to get a divorce, you have to demonstrate that you have a legal cause for a divorce. I.e., you will have to prove that someone was at fault. The only way to file for a “no-fault” divorce is for you and your spouse to live separately for 18 months.
If your spouse disagrees in regards to why he or she is at fault, then the divorce is contested. Otherwise, it is uncontested. Some other important considerations:
- You cannot file for divorce without first having in Arkansas for a period of 60 days.
- An order of divorce will not be given until at least 30 days have passed since filing for divorce.
It should also be noted that if you file for divorce and your former spouse cannot be located, then your divorce cannot be finalized until you have lived in this state for 3 full months.
Reasons For Divorce
Again, to file for divorce, you will have to cite one of the following reasons:
- Felony conviction
- Alcohol abuse lasting over 1 year
- Violent behavior
- Your situation is “intolerable”
- You’ve lived apart for 18 months (continuously)
- Lived apart for 3 years (continuously) due to mental insanity
- Failure of one person to support the other despite a legal obligation to do so
Contested & Uncontested
Why were all those reasons listed out? Because they are the root of “contested” and “uncontested” divorces in this state. Traditionally, a contested divorce was where two people disagreed on the reasons for a divorce. For instance, if your spouse claimed you had an “addiction to habitual drunkenness,” then you could contest it.
Originally, a contested divorce meant that one party disagreed on the grounds and therefore did not want to grant the other a divorce.
Is this the case anymore? Not really. Typically, when one person requests a divorce, the spouse will pursue one as well. However, they are likely going to dispute how they will divide assets, property, child custody, etc.
When a divorce is uncontested, both parties are in full agreement about every aspect of the divorce. On the other end, a contested one is when they are in complete disagreement. Both ends of the spectrum are extremes, and people are likely going to fall somewhere in between.
Perhaps you agree that the house will be sold and split 50/50, but you disagree about who will have primary custody of the children. Is this contested or uncontested? It’s both.
If you are about to start divorce proceedings, you want to be as close to uncontested as you can. This is not easy. It takes an incredible amount of patience, negotiation, and respectful conversations with your spouse.
As difficult and impossible as it may sound, it is still in both of your best interests. Why? Because it saves you time and money. Anything you cannot come to terms on will be sorted through lawyers, mediation, and potentially by a judge. On the spectrum of uncontested to contested, both you and your spouse should be to get as close to the former as possible.
At OMG Law, we understand you want to protect yourself during a divorce. Whether you are trying to retain some of your assets or are struggling to work out a custody agreement, we can step in. We are experienced with family law, and we will use that to your advantage. Contact us to speak with one of our attorneys, and you can also reach us at (870) 330-7325.