Twisted Truths About Divorces in Arkansas
August 9, 2016
Divorce can be really stressful and quite frankly, it sucks. A big stressor is that most people have no idea what is fact or fiction when it comes to the whole overcomplicated process. Of course, when you file for divorce everyone becomes an expert. I am not sure being an expert in divorce is necessarily a good thing but regardless; there is a lot of misinformation out there. We all have that third cousin’s daughter’s neighbor who used to go to church with a divorce attorney in Little Rock and therefore feels competent to advise you. Then there’s the mom from daycare that went through a bitter divorce 3 years ago and every time she sees you she tells you that you can’t get divorced in less than a year and that the Arkansas child support chart is merely a suggestion, just because her divorce was unnecessarily messy.
And Hollywood does us no favors when portraying the real divorce process. We all remember Bill and his high maintenance fiancé chasing Bill’s estranged wife, Jo, (and tornadoes) all over the Midwest in the movie Twister. They apparently needed Jo’s signature on the divorce papers to finalize things. You weather the storm of divorce and get to the end only to run into the roadblock of an uncooperative spouse. Your spouse is holding you and your freedom hostage! Not really. That’s why it’s fiction, folks.
It’s time someone put out some truths about divorces here in Arkansas. I talk to lots of people who are concerned that their spouse won’t sign anything, just to be difficult. After all, emotions run high in divorce and you guys didn’t get to this point because everything was hakuna matata. Does cooperation make the process go more smoothly? Absolutely. Does his or her difficult self completely prevent you from obtaining a divorce? Absolutely not. In truth, if you file for a divorce in Arkansas, your spouse has 30 days after s/he was served the Arkansas divorce papers to respond by answering your Complaint for Divorce. If your spouse does not respond within that timeframe, s/he loses his/her time to respond and as long as you can prove that s/he was served properly, a judge can order the divorce without your spouse’s signature. If your spouse does answer and you move forward with a disputed divorce, the judge can still sign and order a Decree of Divorce to finalize it as the judge sees fit, even if the parties don’t agree. This is yet another reason why Arkansas Virtual Lawyer advocates for peaceful divorces. Why leave it to a third party to decide who gets your stuff or what your child custody arrangement should look like?