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Grounds are required for Arkansas divorces

In some states, unhappily married couples can end legal unions without blaming a spouse for wrongdoing. Technically, you can get a divorce in Arkansas without accusing a spouse of misconduct. A divorce may be granted for spouses who've lived apart for at least 18 months or due to mistreatment called "general indignities."

These grounds are used commonly in our state's divorce petitions, but other fault options are available. A felony conviction, adultery, habitual drunkenness, impotence and intolerable or cruel treatment can be claimed. Provisions are more restrictive for Pulaski County couples in covenant marriages.

Available fault options for couples in covenant marriages are limited to felony conviction, adultery and sexual or physical abuse of a child or spouse. The parties also may be granted a divorce provided they do not have a minor child and have been separated continuously for two years, without or after a judicial separation. Six months is added to the separation period for couples with children, unless child abuse is a factor.

Annulments are not divorces. Arkansas courts may void a marriage, if legal conditions are met -- a couple with a shared child is ineligible. At least one spouse must meet the 60-day residency requirement prior to a divorce filing. Divorce decrees from previous marriages must be produced before remarriages.

Special rules apply to military service members. According to federal laws, a divorce action may be suspended while a service member in on active duty and an additional 60 days, following the individual's return.

Uncontested Arkansas divorces can take place quickly, following a 30-day wait after the filing of a divorce petition. When a divorce is contested, the dissolution of the marriage may take considerably longer. The process can be lengthened when courts are asked to settle disputes over child custody and support, marital property and alimony - a divorce attorney can assist spouses with resolving these conflicts.

Source: Saline County, Arkansas, "10 important things to know about filing a divorce" Oct. 13, 2014

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