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Common Legal Questions Surrounding Divorce

From moving out of state to bankruptcy to dating and more, Martin Attorneys can address all of your questions about divorce in Arkansas.

What is a legal divorce?

Starting with the basics, a divorce is a method of terminating a marriage contract between two individuals. From a legal standpoint, a divorce will give each person the legal right to marry someone else. It will also legally divide the couple's assets and debts, and determine the care and custody of their children. Each state addresses these issues differently, but there are some relatively uniform standards. Each state does have some type of "no-fault" divorce laws that can significantly simplify the divorce process.

Can I move out of state with my children?

Yes, if you have written permission from your ex-spouse or from the Court. See a divorce attorney to find out what requirements your judge may have for this written permission.

However, there is a law that states that a child must live in a state for 6 months before that state has jurisdiction over the child. That means that if you move to Oklahoma, for example, you would no longer be entitled to an Arkansas divorce because you are no longer a resident of Arkansas, but you would have to wait 6 months before you could file in Oklahoma.

It is important that the state you are divorced in have jurisdiction over your child so that the judge can award custody, child support and visitation.

What if my spouse is out of state and I want a divorce?

You would have to send the papers to your spouse to get their signature and then they would send them back. They will not have to be “served.” For our clients, we always make sure that the complaint is filed and give them a file marked copy to send with the paperwork so your spouse can see that everything is as you agreed.

There is a 30 day waiting period before you can get a divorce. Your spouse will not have to go to court. You will have to go and you will need to take one witness with you that can testify that you are a resident of Arkansas. After a few minutes on the stand answering very simple questions, the judge will sign your divorce decree. Let us know if we can help. Divorce is an area that we practice in every day.

What if I don't know where my spouse is and want a divorce?

You must have grounds for divorce, but if you have been separated for longer than 18 months that, alone, is grounds for divorce in Arkansas. The only thing you will need is your spouse's last known address, even if that is your address. You will definitely need an attorney because the law is very clear about the steps to obtain a divorce when you are serving your spouse without knowing their actual location, and these steps are complex. Missing even one of them, or doing one of the steps incorrectly, means that the judge will not grant the divorce when you go to court, and you will have to begin the whole process again from the beginning.

Can my spouse force me to move out of our home?

If your home was purchased after your marriage, or if both names are on the home, or if both names are on the lease, it is considered the marital home and neither person can force the other person to move out. However, if the home is in your spouse's name only, you can be forced to move from the home within a reasonable time. When possession of the home is an issue, though, your judge may hold a temporary hearing and will order one of you to move out, regardless of whose name is on the home documents. See an attorney to learn what the judge is likely to do in your case.

What are the rules about dating while waiting for divorce?

Dating may void grounds for divorce, and your action for divorce can be dismissed by the court. However, there may be alternatives to a divorce if you and your spouse are still having marital relations. Consult with a divorce attorney for all options available to you. Your attorney may advise you that dating is OK. However, it is never OK to begin a sexual relationship before you are divorced, whether or not you have children. Again, discuss this with your attorney first.

If you have children, you should not date until you are divorced because you are still married to your spouse, and the judge could consider any dating to be improper and not in the children’s best interest.

Wondering about anything else regarding your current or upcoming divorce? Give the experts a call at (479) 888-2039.