Getting a Divorce over the Internet in Arkansas | Step by Step
Each state provides multiple options to make divorce available to anyone regardless of their social and financial status. For example, contested divorce with lawyers, DIY solutions, legal aid for low-income families, and Internet divorce services to help couples complete divorce online.
If you are in Arkansas and want to submit an application for divorce online, the option is only available for uncontested divorces. Let’s get down to the main steps of filing and completing an online divorce in Arkansas.
What’s an Uncontested Divorce?
When deciding to get divorced, couples choose between having a contested divorce and uncontested divorce.
To contest a divorce means to disagree with the care of the children, new living arrangements, or division of property and debts, requiring the matter to go to trial. In an uncontested divorce, both spouses settle the divorce-related issues without the court’s involvement.
Regardless of the divorce type, spouses are not required to have an attorney. However, hardly many petitioners can pull off a contested divorce on their own. Usually, each spouse hires a lawyer to gather evidence and interview witnesses for a trial.
In turn, an uncontested divorce is often handled as a Do-It-Yourself divorce because court procedures for completing and filing the paperwork are simple and straightforward in all US states, allowing couples to apply for divorce without an attorney.
The decision to have an uncontested divorce opens up several opportunities for couples. First, they can avoid paying sky-high legal rates if they opt for a DIY solution. All US states have this option, and Arkansas is no exception. Spouses can access divorce forms and filing instructions at the local courthouse, the court’s website, or here.
Second, a wide selection of online divorce companies are available to complete the court-specific forms for the spouses after they fill out a questionnaire about their personal details, financial issues, children, property, etc.
What are the Requirements for a DIY Divorce in Arkansas?
In Arkansas, the list of requirements for an uncontested divorce includes the following:
Residency requirements. Either spouse must have lived in the state for 60 days before filing for divorce.
Separation period. Spouses are expected to live separate and apart for at least 18 months before filing for a no-fault divorce. A third party must corroborate it by signing a written declaration.
Grounds for divorce. As a no-fault divorce state, Arkansas has two grounds for divorce: (1) incompatibility and (2) living separate and apart for 18 months voluntarily.
What are the Divorce-Related Issues?
Resolving the divorce-related issues before submitting the divorce papers for the judge to review is a mandatory requirement for an uncontested divorce. There are four main issues that spouses must agree upon and memorialize in a settlement agreement.
Child custody & visitation. Under current law, joint custody is the preferable option if both parents are physically, mentally, and economically stable and have a relationship with the child. It doesn’t mean, however, that courts favor joint custody orders. The judge takes an all-encompassing look at the family and decides based on a child’s best interests. If parents cannot split custody equally, the typical solution is for one parent to become a custodial parent and take physical custody upon themselves. Then the non-custodial parent arranges the visitation schedule and pays more in child support.
Child support. Arkansas courts calculate child support payments using the Percentage of Income Method. The non-custodial parent pays a flat percentage of 25% of their income instead of a percentage of the calculated cost when using the Income Share Method. If parents split custody, each parent pays a percentage adjusted according to the amount of time they physically care for the child.
Spousal support (alimony). Whether the court awards alimony to one of the spouses largely depends on the length of the marriage, custodial split, and a long list of other factors. Unless spouses settle this issue on their own, spousal support is usually waived in uncontested divorces.
Property division & debt division. As an equitable distribution state, Arkansas divides only community property between spouses. The assets spouses owned prior to getting married are not divided during a divorce settlement.
How Does the DIY Divorce Process Go in Arkansas?
In Arkansas, the filing spouse is called the plaintiff, and the other spouse is called the defendant. Let’s consider the steps for a couple where both spouses agree to have a divorce. If spouses meet the divorce requirements for Arkansas, here’s what they do.
- Complete the divorce forms. The spouses obtain the divorce forms, including an “Entry of Appearance” and a “Waiver of Service of Summons,” at their local county circuit court, the court’s website, or through an online divorce web-based service. A waiver is required to waive the service of a summons. The spouses complete and notarize the forms and make two copies of each.
- File the forms with the court. The plaintiff submits the paperwork with the court’s clerk and pays filing fees. Although e-filing is available in Arkansas, each couple should clarify with the court circuit if it is available in their county. The clerk gives the divorce case a number and stamps the copies.
- Serve the spouse. The plaintiff must serve the defendant with a copy of the divorce papers, but if the spouses have filed a waiver of service, the court now has proof that the defendant is informed of the ongoing divorce process.
- Attend a court hearing. Arkansas has a 30-day waiting period after service of a summons on the defendant. The court mandates a couple to provide witness testimony about the residency and separation requirements. A written declaration can also be used in court if a witness cannot attend. The judge reviews the settlement agreement and other documents and grants a judgment if everything is in order.
Remember What Can Make Your Divorce Easier?
If the divorce papers are completed and submitted correctly, an uncontested divorce is quick and straightforward in Arkansas. Many couples opt for the assistance of online divorce documents preparation services. As an inexpensive option, online divorce allows couples to save time and receive completed forms and filing instructions without leaving the comfort of home. Spouses only have to take the documents to the court and file them with the court’s clerk.