In Arkansas, a divorce may be granted on either no-fault grounds or on grounds that one, or both, spouses are at fault. Furthermore, a divorce may be contested or uncontested. In a contested divorce, outstanding issues are related to division of assets and debts and/or child custody. In an uncontested divorce, both parties have agreed on how to handle the dissolution of their marriage. The person filing for a divorce is the plaintiff; the responding spouse is the defendant.
Select your grounds for asking the court to grant you a divorce. A divorce may be granted because of the fault of a spouse. For example, the spouse has committed adultery, a felony, or engaged in domestic or sexual abuse of a family member, including a spouse. A divorce may also be granted through no-fault of either party. For example, a married coupled who have been continuously separated for 18 months without reconciliation are eligible for a divorce.
Draft a Complaint for Divorce. The complaint must indicate the residential address for both you and your spouse and state how long each of you have been a resident of Arkansas. State the date on which you and your spouse were married. If possible, attach a copy of your marriage certificate to the complaint. Indicate the date on which you and your spouse separated. The complaint must also explain the reason (i.e., ground) why you are seeking a divorce. Indicate whether you and your spouse have entered into a marital agreement regarding assets, debts and/or child custody. End the complaint by asking the judge to order a divorce from your spouse. You must declare, under penalty of perjury, that the statements in the complaint are known to be true to you. The complaint must be signed by you in the presence of a notary public and then notarized.
File the Complaint for Divorce in the chancery court in the county in which you reside. The filing fee is $140 as of 2010. If you are suffering financial difficulties and you cannot afford the filing fee, you may petition the court for a waiver of the fee (see Resources). The petition for waiver of the filing fee must be made and granted before filing your Complaint for Divorce. After your complaint is filed, the court clerk will issue a summons. The summons and complaint must be served on your spouse, the defendant, by certified mail with return receipt requested.