In Arkansas, legal separation is complicated because there are 2 types of marriages and three types of separations. So, if you are seeking legal separation in Arkansas, then you need to know the law of the state and have strong negotiation skills. Arkansas State has unique laws for separation. Legal separation law procedure depends upon preferences of spouse and type of marriage they had.
Legal separation instead of divorce is usually requested by the couple due to the following reasons.
- Religion. Divorce is not possible in some religions
- Insurance benefits
Legal separation is basically an agreement between spouses that deals with many issues leading to differences/conflicts and define terms and conditions by which spouses decide to separate from each other. This includes
- Child custody
- Child support
- Property division
Division of property includes division of vehicles, furniture, and other asset liabilities.
In Arkansas, there are two types of marriages like covenant and traditional marriage. So, legal separation in Arkansas depends upon the type of marriage spouses when married. In a covenant marriage, the couple accepts each other with the knowledge that marriage is a lifelong commitment and harder to divorce later. Legal requirements of legal separation are tougher in covenant marriage than in traditional marriage. To file separation in this type of marriage, one or both spouses live in the state and you must have a legal reason or ground.
In Arkansas, there are authorized sources for counseling. These sources can be marital counselors, priests or rabbi, or ministers. A couple seeking legal separation should get counseling from any authorized source and at the same time, the petitioner should also provide proves that his/her spouse has
- Committed adultery
- Been convicted of a felony and has been sentenced to death or imprisonment
- Has committed physical or sexual abuse of a spouse or one of the children of either spouse
- Alcohol addiction for more than one year
- Endangering his or her life
- Is committing indignities
In Arkansas, you can get legal separation without any foregoing where both parties lived apart without reconciliation for at least 2 years.
In another type of marriage called traditional marriage, the separation agreement is enforced by the court which is signed by both spouses. If spouses live apart for 18 months in Arkansas, the law permits divorce. This separation is solid ground for divorce. In this process, if a party is waiting until he/she file for divorce then the party is legally separated.
In Arkansas, the separation agreement is a legal document. In this agreement, Spouses agree to certain legal points like child custody/support/visitation, spouse support, and property division and then sign it. If the court believes that this agreement is fair for both spouses then will approve and grant separation. The judge will merge this agreement into the divorce process when spouses go for divorce.
Spouses have the right to agree or disagree with this agreement. If one doesn’t agree then can file a complaint of the order of separate maintenance like filing a divorce complaint. This can enable the court to decide about child custody and support and property division. In this situation, the court issues judge’s ruling like a divorce decree without legal termination of the marriage.
In Arkansas, the court can decide issues and terminate marriage for a complaint about separate maintenance. The spouses after divorce cannot remarry unless the absolute divorce is granted by the second court.
In Arkansas, there is a residency requirement in addition to the above requirement. In residency requirement, at least one spouse must fulfill the 60 days residency requirement in Arkansas before filing a legal separation. There is a waiting period of 30 days during which the court can take any action on your request.
Whatever type of marriage you are having in Arkansas, living apart from your spouse for a specific legal duration is necessary. Living apart means
- Don’t share home
- No cohabitation
In some special cases, the court allows sharing a home but living in separate bedrooms. If you cohabitate then it is a breaking of the law. So, the judge can decline your application for separation.
Trial Legal Separation in Arkansas
Trial separation helps the spouses to test the real separation or divorce. In trial separation, Spouses live apart for a certain time without the intervention of a court during which you can reassess your decision of living apart and the direction of marriage. Spouses verbally agree to different issues like child custody/support/visitation and spouse support etc. during separation. When the trial period is completed, spouses can be decided about reconciliation, separation, or divorce.
Legal Separation Agreement
A separation agreement is a legal document that consists of terms and conditions of separation. This agreement is not needed in a trial separation. This agreement consists of critical terms and conditions for separation. For example
- The procedure of division of parental rights and responsibilities.
- Child support by either spouse
- Financial Spouse support by either spouse
- Division of marital property and debt
- Medical insurance issues
The court has the right to force the terms and conditions on spouses reconciliation, file a divorce petition, or request to judge to modify the arrangement.
What is better to choose either separation or divorce? It is a very difficult question and no one can answer properly because people choose separation or divorce according to their benefits and convenience. Some people choose legal separation because one of the spouses needs medical insurance of the other. Some spouses want to get tax benefits while maintaining marital status. Some other critical reasons to decide in favor of legal separation instead of divorce are given below.
- Use this separation as the trial for divorce in future
- Religious issues. Spouses can have religious, moral, or social issues. In some religions, divorce is not possible.
- As the divorce is permanent and the possibility of reconciliation exists
- The couple wants to live separately but wants the court to make a legal agreement about custody of the child, child support, visitation, etc.
Although States’ law does not require hiring a lawyer it will be good to get the services of an experienced and professional services for complete knowledge of the separation process. Online help is also available. You can visit our website for this purpose.