Expert Legal Assistance from Experienced Arkansas Divorce Lawyers

Divorce Lawyers in Arkansas

For those who are thinking of ending their marriage, there is a lot to know and a lot to consider.

The first thing you should be thinking about is what you want your post-divorce life to look like.

As Arkansas divorce lawyers, we often tell our clients to picture what they hope their life will look like after divorcing their current spouse. Just because one dream didn’t turn out the way you expected doesn’t mean you have to give up on all your dreams.

Yes, divorce is an ending and a major change in your life. But it’s also a new beginning.

First, however, you have to untie the knot and that could take up the next year of your life. Reach out to Harris Law Firm’s Divorce Lawyers in Arkansas today.

Ready to Speak to an Arkansas Divorce Attorney?

If you are thinking about filing for divorce in Arkansas, you shouldn’t face it alone. We want to hear from you, simply fill out the form below and we will contact you to set up a consultation. We just need some brief information:

Understanding Fault and No-Fault Divorces in Arkansas: A Comprehensive Guide

While all states now allow no-fault divorces, Arkansas also allows residents to file divorce on fault-based grounds. It is important to understand the difference.

When filing a fault-based divorce, you basically blame your spouse for the breakdown of the marriage.

By contrast, an Arkansas no-fault divorce cites “irreconcilable differences” as the cause of the breakdown of the marriage. While the blame is laid at the feet of neither spouse, that doesn’t mean that a no-fault divorce is necessarily an uncontested divorce.

I searched the internet for a lawyer that had a good history of handling claims of my family’s nature. Mr Noel handled me and my family as though he knew us personally. He was able to secure a satisfactory settlement in our favor.

Loretta Williams Covington
Loretta Williams Covington
Katie goes above and beyond! Excellent service. Highly recommend.

Holly Beck
Holly Beck
They get the job done good law Firm

Dewayne Durham
Dewayne Durham
I reside in Seattle, Washington, and needed an attorney in Mississippi, my research led me to Noel Harris. My case took a little under three years, and Mr. Harris provided the best representation of myself and my lawsuit. The outcome was very favorable for me, and I am grateful for Mr. Harris. He is detail oriented, and does not miss a beat. I was treated with respect and kindness. I hope I do not have business in Mississippi again, but if I do, I know who to call. I cannot give a higher recommendation of Harris Law Firm.

Molly McBride
Molly McBride
I contacted Katie for help with an unusual legal problem. I needed a court order to have a birth certificate issued for a family member who died 30 years ago. As you can imagine, there is no attorney that specializes in birth certificates, but I sure did luck up. As soon as we spoke she and her team dove into the State statute and the Department of Health policies and quickly had a legal path to make this happen. In the process we uncovered a problem with the way the estate was handled and she took care of that also.

She was upfront about the cost and I found it to be reasonable. I was most impressed with the open and clear communication. She returned calls and emails promptly and used common language that I could understand. There were no surprises. Best of all, I am out of state and she took care of everything, saving me time and a trip. Katie really made this a painless process and I would highly recommend her.

Ron Tharp
Ron Tharp
Yes, I recommend, highly recommend, this firm because they take pride in their work and their reputation. If you care for specifics, read below:
1. Of the many firms from which I sought help, Harris Law Firm, PLLC of Greenville, MS, was the ONLY firm that deemed me worthy of even a response.
2. Their honest, realistic, upfront options were thoroughly and patiently explained to me without enticing promises.
3. I did not have to keep calling to find out what was going on. Their action was immediate; they had taken the first step before I completed my part. As a matter of fact, I had missed their attempts to notify me that it was favorably over.
4. Oh, and I agree with the two reviews before mine about the friendly staff and the reasonable fees.

Bertha Bell
Bertha Bell
While no one wishes to find themselves in a situation where legal services are needed, Mrs. Katie Elliott is a knowledgeable, trustworthy attorney you can expect to guide you through the legal process. We will not hesitate to return to her for our future legal needs.

Courtney Johnson
Courtney Johnson
Katie was very helpful and always quick to respond either with a call back or even a text message. Everything we needed we got with Katie. Highly recommend her to anyone.

Paulina Self
Paulina Self
We had a pretty bad accident back in January 2020 and we went to Noel Harris. He was very knowledgeable and very friendly. He would explain the whole process to us and treated us like friends and not just clients. I would recommend him to anyone.

Dakota Silvey
Dakota Silvey

Grounds for a Fault-Based Divorce in Arkansas

In Arkansas, you must identify specific grounds for the breakdown of the marriage. These include:

  • Cruelty (physical, emotional, sexual, or psychological abuse),
  • Abandonment (if one spouse leaves the other spouse for an extended period of time),
  • Adultery or infidelity,
  • Impotence that was not disclosed before the marriage took place,
  • Conviction of a felony or an extended period of imprisonment,
  • Or drug or alcohol abuse.

A spouse who files for a fault-based divorce on one of these grounds will need to be prepared to prove the allegation in court.

Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce

Fault and no-fault divorces only specify the grounds on which the divorce is initiated. While there are some key differences, a no-fault divorce can still be a contested divorce.

In other words, the divorce is adversarial. The two spouses have interests that directly conflict with one another. While all fault-based divorces are contested, a good portion of no-fault divorces are as well.

Exploring Your Options: Three Approaches to Divorce in Arkansas

Nowadays, there are three different ways for couples to dissolve their marriage. Litigation and lawsuits are only one of them. There is also collaborative divorce and mediation.

Navigating Litigation Divorces: A Closer Look at Arkansas Law

Regardless of whether or not you pursue fault grounds or no-fault grounds, there are several key issues that need to be resolved by you, your spouse, and your attorneys.

For instance, how will the assets be divided? What will custody of the children look like? Will there be spousal support or alimony? Will there be child support?

These are the kinds of questions that must be answered by the time your divorce is finalized. While there are different ways of getting to that finish line, you will not have gotten to the finish line until these issues have been decided.

How Does a Litigation Divorce Work?

Litigation is considered the most adversarial form of divorce. Each spouse has their own attorney who advocates on his or her behalf.

Litigation can become very contentious. Each spouse may have very different ideas about what they want post-divorce. Each spouse may feel that they’re entitled to certain property that was built during their marriage.

Each spouse may feel that they are themselves better suited to handle the children’s affairs. Each spouse may resent having to pay alimony or child support.

Because there is little or no common ground between the spouses, the court must decide for them what the best course of action is.

What are the Advantages of Litigation?

In a litigation divorce, you have an Arkansas divorce attorney who is advocating for your interests.

In some cases, litigation is the only form of divorce that makes sense for the couple to pursue. If one spouse does pursue fault-based grounds then it’s a sure thing that the other spouse will contest the divorce.

What are the Disadvantages of Litigation?

Litigation costs more money than other kinds of divorces. It takes longer too. It has the capacity to upset your children and the transition into post-divorce life won’t happen quickly. You will need to be conscientious about showing up to court.

Lastly, your finances and asset holdings will be a matter of public record. There are some ways around this, but when property gets divided through a probate process, those records become public knowledge.

Benefits of Choosing Mediation Divorce in Arkansas

Mediation is the least adversarial type of divorce. Each spouse may or may not have their own divorce attorney.

The process is run by a mediator, usually a divorce lawyer, who has experience helping couples resolve their divorce issues. The mediator will help the couple find common ground but may not give any legal advice.

Those who go through mediation typically have an attorney who will advise them while not necessarily advocating for their interests.

The process is designed to be quick and painless. While it works for many couples, it won’t make sense for every divorce to be resolved in mediation.

The major issue is that the couple must be able to agree on all of the post-divorce issues. This includes deciding primary custody, creating a visitation schedule, dividing assets, and deciding on child support and alimony.

If the mediation process breaks down, the couple has the option of enlisting the aid of an arbitrator. Their other option is to scrap the arbitration process altogether and go into litigation.

The benefit of hiring an arbitrator is that the couple gets to choose who the arbitrator is and define the scope of the arbitrator’s decision making.

Advantages of a Mediated Divorce

Mediation tends to be the cheapest and fastest way to dissolve a marriage.

The former spouses get to keep all important decisions in-house and even if certain disputes go into arbitration, they will not be a matter of public record. However, if there is a dispute revolving around child custody, that decision will not be managed in arbitration.

Disadvantages of Mediation

Mediation presupposes that both spouses are willing to work together toward an amicable dissolution of their marriage. It will not be appropriate if they can’t.

It will also not be appropriate if one spouse had all the decision-making power in the marriage.

If one spouse is the primary breadwinner and holds most of the financial assets, the other spouse might want to think twice about mediation.

Lastly, if there is any history of abuse at all between the spouses, mediation is not appropriate.

Collaborative Divorce

The last option on the table is collaborative divorce. Collaborative divorces are not quite litigation and not quite mediation. It exists in the happy medium to fill the void left by the two extremes.

In collaborative divorces, the main idea is to solve the problems of divorce in the most amicable way possible while still acknowledging that the two spouses may not see eye to eye on some issues.

In a collaborative divorce, each spouse has their own attorney, but the attorney’s purpose is not to advocate so much as it is to advise. In addition to lawyers, there are financial planners, child psychologists, and other experts involved in the process of ratifying a lasting agreement.

Each individual involved in the collaborative divorce signs an agreement to move forward with the collaborative process. If that process breaks down or one or the other spouse threatens litigation, it breaks the contract and the divorce goes into litigation.

It is an option for couples who don’t want the divorce process to be fully adversarial but don’t think they’re close enough on key issues to employ mediation.

Legal Separation in Arkansas

Sometimes couples are not ready to get divorced but it feels like there are too many problems in the marriage to allow it to continue as is. In this case, they choose to separate, or in other words, they live separately.

During this separation and regardless of whether or not they later divorce or get back together, agreements need to be reached concerning custody, visitation, and financial issues.

An Arkansas divorce attorney can help you draft a legal separation contract that is enforceable under the law.

Covenant Marriages

Arkansas is one of three states that have what is called “covenant marriages”.

Dissolving a covenant marriage is a little trickier than dissolving a non-covenant marriage. Most folks have never heard of a covenant marriage and aren’t even sure if they’re in one. That is because it is a very old-fashioned throwback to an older era.

Mike Huckabee made covenant marriages more popular when he announced that he and his wife planned on converting their marriage into a covenant marriage on Valentines Day.

Spouses will need to accept that their options for dissolving a covenant marriage are more limited than those in non-covenant marriages. Nonetheless, covenant marriages remain rare.

Hire an Arkansas Divorce Attorney Today

The Arkansas divorce lawyers at Harris Law Firm have successfully helped numerous couples dissolve their marriages in non-adversarial ways and represented spouses in litigated divorces. If you need representation for your divorce, give our divorce lawyer in Arkansas a call at (662)335-4171 or talk to us online.