How to File for a Legal Separation in Arkansas

By Shannon Johnson

Legal separations occur when a married couple seeks to live legally apart but are not ready to get a divorce. Many people seeking legal separations do so because one party needs to maintain insurance for an uninsurable partner or meet 10-year marriage requirements to become eligible for certain government benefits. In Arkansas, legal separations are handled similar to divorces. Parties must reach an agreement on issues like child custody and support, alimony and possession of the marital residence. Obtaining a legal separation is a fairly simple process as long as you strictly follow the rules and procedure.

Step 1

Reach an agreement. In order to expedite the legal separation process, spouses should attempt to reach an agreement on all of the major issues a court would rule upon in a divorce proceeding. You should sit down with your spouse and decide who will retain physical custody of any minor children, a visitation schedule and the amount of child support and alimony, if any, to be paid. In addition, you should determine who is going to keep the martial home.

Step 2

Fill out required documents. In order to initiate a separation proceeding, you must prepare a petition for legal separation. The petition must state you are seeking a legal separation on one of the following grounds: adultery, spouse is a convicted felon with a death or life sentence, physical or sexual abuse upon spouse and/or children, two years of living apart without reconciliation, or habitual drunkenness.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Step 3

Complete the domestic relations reporting form. If your spouse has not agreed to the separation, you may also need to fill out a summons form to later serve upon your spouse. If you and your spouse have reached an agreement, type it up and make sure to have both of your signatures notarized.

Step 4

File documents. A legal separation must be filed in the county where you currently live with your spouse or in the county where you and your spouse last lived. In addition, you must file the petition, domestic relations form and an executed settlement agreement. There is a filing fee for a legal separation in Arkansas. In the event you have to serve your spouse with the papers, the local sheriff’s office will direct you to people within your county who can serve them.

Step 5

Attend the hearing. You and your spouse will have to participate in a hearing before your legal separation can become complete. If you have agreed on the pertinent details surrounding the legal separation, the judge will ask a few standard questions and then enter an order of separation. If you and your spouse have not reached an agreement, the judge will conduct a hearing and listen to evidence before entering an order.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Procedures for an Amicable Divorce in Maryland


Related articles

Does Louisiana Require Separation Before Divorce?

When spouses can no longer get along, obtaining a divorce quickly is often a top priority. In Louisiana, the length of time spouses must remain separated in order to dissolve a marriage depends on whether the marriage is a covenant marriage or "standard" marriage -- and if one party can prove marital fault. Further, different separation periods apply if the divorcing couple has minor children or abuse has occurred.

How to Get a No Fault Divorce in Arkansas

In Arkansas, you do not need to place blame on either spouse in order to seek a divorce. Instead, the courts will dissolve the marriage so long as the couple has lived separately for at least 18 months. Generally, it is easier to obtain a divorce when you are not trying to assign guilt. Additionally, the process may be less complicated and quicker if the couple can agree to the terms of the divorce, instead of arguing before the court.

How to Apply for a Divorce Decree Document

A divorce decree is a document prepared by the court that specifies the terms and conditions of the divorce. Typically, it is kept on file at the Office of the County Clerk in the county where the divorce proceedings occurred. It is important to have a copy of your divorce decree as it is the formal legal document that declares your divorce finalized and, where appropriate, contains the court’s determinations as to division of marital property, child support and visitation, and spousal support. You need a copy of your divorce decree to remarry, obtain a legal name change, or remove a former spouse’s name from any joint loans or bank accounts.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

How to Get an Uncontested Divorce in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, the uncontested divorce process provides couples with the option of avoiding some of the ...

Do You Have to Wait 30 Days for a Decree of Divorce in Arkansas?

Even if divorcing spouses agree on all marital issues, such as custody and property division, Arkansas imposes a 30-day ...

How Long Do You Have to Wait After Legal Separation to Finalize a Divorce in Colorado?

The process of getting a legal separation in Colorado is similar to the steps required to obtain a divorce. Once a ...

90 Day Cooling Off Period for a Divorce in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania requires a 90-day "cooling off" period for no-fault or "mutual consent" divorces, which provides an ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED