There must be grounds for divorce in Arkansas. The only no-fault grounds is if you and your spouse have been living “separate and apart” for over 18 months. If you don’t want to wait 18 months for a divorce, then we must choose from our other options of fault grounds:
- Impotence – Your spouse was impotent at the time of the marriage and continues to be impotent
- Felony conviction
- Drunkenness – Your spouse has a habit of getting drunk continually during a one-year period or a longer period of time
- Cruel and inhuman treatment – Your spouse behaves in a way that is so cruel that it’s endangering your life
- General Indignities – Your spouse humiliates you to the point that it makes your life extremely difficult
- Incurable insanity – When you and your spouse have lived separately for 3 years because s/he is incurably insane, and has been committed to a mental institution for 3 years or more before the filing for divorce
- Lack of support – When your spouse is legally obligated to support you, and has the ability to do so, but doesn’t
Further, the grounds for divorce in Arkansas must have occurred within the five years before filing, and the grounds must have occurred in the state of Arkansas.
Don’t Fight Over Grounds for Divorce
Realistically, most couples do not fight over the grounds. If both parties want the divorce, we can move to settling the custody, support, asset and debt division, and not waste time or money on the issue of grounds. Most couples waive the requirement of proving grounds.
At Lion Legal, we are big into applying reasonableness and common sense to all cases. 99% of the time we recommend filing based on the basis of general indignities. That is the least offensive, and gets us off on the right foot to negotiate a reasonable settlement for divorce in the other areas. Why make the rest of the divorce more difficult by alleging drunkenness or abandonment?
If your spouse sued for divorce, then we can contest grounds, but there is no practical benefit. If you absolutely don’t want to be the party who is “at fault” for the divorce, we can negotiate that in the settlement, and also counterclaim so your spouse is the one “taking fault.” If this is important to you, don’t despair if your spouse filed and served you first. It is important to note that whoever takes fault does not get a negative inference in the property or asset division or child custody.
Divorce Isn’t About Punishment
At first blush we suppose it makes sense to think that the person at fault should be “punished” in how the the assets and children are divided, but that is not how it works at all. Marriages are contracts, and like all contracts, there is no punitive remedy in the law for breaking the contract.
Practically, just because a spouse had an affair or can’t get along with the other spouse, doesn’t make that person a bad parent or deserving of being destitute financially. Divorce court is equitable and being an alcoholic, for example, is not justification to make someone homeless by giving all the assets to one spouse.
The bottom line is, in theory, can we fight over grounds for divorce in Arkansas? Absolutely. Should we? Definitely not. We can drag it out and run up costs fighting grounds, but eventually, your spouse can divorce you whether you like it or not.
We Can Help
Our attorneys are experts, and are here for you with straight talk, predictable cost, and superior services. We promise to tell you what the most likely outcome is up front, and to be open and transparent in our communications with you until your case is resolved.
Our approach to practicing law is revolutionizing the way law firms deliver legal services. Case evaluations are completely free. Call Lion Legal today at (501) 227-7627 or Email Us to set up a free consultation.