Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce
Generally, Arkansas divorces are categorized into two — contested and uncontested divorce.
In a contested divorce, both spouses are unable to agree on one or more essential divorce settlement terms. Settling such divorce issues will require a court hearing, where the judge will issue a final decree.
Conversely, in an uncontested divorce, both spouses mutually agree on the essential divorce settlement terms, including property division, spousal maintenance, child support, custody, tax deductions, and parenting time, usually with the help of a mediator. The agreed-upon divorce terms will be filed with the Arkansas court to be officially approved.
Alimony or spousal maintenance is a court-ordered payment from the higher earner to the lower- or non-earner to help the receiving spouse cover living expenses and maintain something similar to their marital standard of living for a certain period. Arkansas courts will only award alimony when one spouse has a financial need, and the other spouse is able to pay spousal maintenance.
Factors considered when determining the amount, type, and duration of spousal maintenance include:
- The duration of the marriage
- The assets, resources, and debts of each spouse, including any award of marital property
- The marital standard of living
- The current and potential income of each spouse, including future earning ability
Division of Property
Arkansas is an equitable distribution state. In a contested divorce, the judge will divide the marital property fairly and equitably. Marital property includes all assets and real property acquired, debt incurred, or income earned by both spouses during the marriage. The following factors may be considered by the judge during property division:
- The duration of the marriage
- The age, mental, and physical health of each spouse
- The occupation, vocational skills, and employability of each spouse
- The sources of income of each spouse
- The amount of available income
- Each spouse's estate, liabilities, and needs
- The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition, preservation, or appreciation of the marital property
- The consequences of federal income tax on the property division
Child Custody & Support
In Arkansas, legal custody and physical custody are determined by what is in the child's best interest. However, only the noncustodial parent will be required to pay child support. The following factors are usually considered when awarding child custody:
- The child's preference for custody
- The parent's work schedules and home environments
- Each parent's available financial resources
- The character of both parents
- Whether the siblings of the child reside with the parent
- Each parent's respective caring roles
- The ability of both parents to communicate and cooperate
- Allegations of drug use, addiction, misconduct, neglect, or abuse against any of the parents
The amount of child support is established using specific state guidelines.
Divorce Attorney in Little Rock, Arkansas
Filing for divorce in Arkansas involves several complexities. Trying to negotiate a divorce settlement with your estranged spouse and resolving issues of property division, child custody, and parenting time can make the entire legal proceedings even more complicated. An experienced Arkansas family law attorney can help simplify the process and offer you the detailed guidance you need to navigate key decisions.
Scholl Law Firm is devoted to offering experienced legal services and comprehensive representation in a wide range of family law matters involving divorce, spousal maintenance, child custody, and asset division. I will work thoughtfully and carefully with all parties involved to ensure that all divorce issues and relationship differences are settled as quickly and peacefully as possible.
As a knowledgeable Arkansas divorce attorney, I can review your unique circumstances and help you determine the best course of action. I will fight compassionately to protect the legal rights and best interests of both you and your children and ensure that the transition is as seamless as possible. Attorney Scott A. Scholl can offer you with comprehensive legal counsel and support you need and work diligently to help every party involved to move forward amicably.