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If you have arrived at the decision to end your marriage, you’ve likely already gone through a substantial amount of stress. Now that you are at the point where you are seeking divorce, you want to move forward as quickly and as painlessly as possible. Fortunately, the state of Arkansas makes it relatively easy to get divorced, as long as your divorce is not a complicated one. If you and your spouse are in agreement on the need to get divorced, how you will divide up your property and how you will care for your children (if you have children), then you simply need to fill out the appropriate Arkansas divorce papers and file them with your county clerk.
If you are in a more complicated situation where there are disagreements about issues like the division of property, child custody or child support then you may face additional challenges. If you and your spouse can not come to agreement about these issues on your own, then a family court will be forced to make the decisions for you. To avoid this more costly and time intensive process you may consider a mediated divorce. However, if mediation is not an option you’ll likely need to seek legal representation .
The following information is provided to help you understand the divorce process in Arkansas, and how to you can forward with your own divorce.
Divorce information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), puts the Arkansa divorce rate in 2011 at 5.3 for every 1,000 residents. This figure puts Arkansas at the higher end of divorce rates in the United States.
Arkansas is fault-based divorce state that requires you to file a reason for your divorce. In Arkansas, grounds for divorce include:
A Felony Conviction
Separation – Living apart for 18 months consecutively
Incurable Insanity – For one year or more
If you and your spouse are in agreement about the need for divorce, you can move forward with an “uncontested divorce”. This is the easiest and fastest way to get divorced in the Arkansas. If your spouse does not agree to the divorce, you must prove the grounds on which you claimed in your filing. Proof includes producing a witness to support your argument, or a written affidavit from the witness to present at the divorce hearing.
Further, you or your spouse must be a resident of an Arkansas county for at least 60 days before filing for divorce. If you do not live in the state then you must file in the county where your spouse lives.
The main divorce form in Arkansas is the “Complaint For Divorce”, where you list your grounds for the divorce along with information about you and your spouse. Depending on the county where you are filing and your individual circumstances, you may need to complete and file additional paperwork.
Arkansas Legal Services provides a helpful pamphlet online that explains the basics of divorce in the state, as well as a Self-Help page to guide you through an uncontested divorce. The online divorce packet is intended for the simplest kind of divorce, but you must meet certain requirements before you can use it. Requirements include not having minor children, not owning any substantial property and not being in the military.
Determining which divorce documents you need to complete and how to fill them out correctly can be overwhelming, which is why many people choose to get their divorce papers from CompleteCase.com. Our online divorce paper service will guide you a step-by-step process to correctly complete the Arkansas divorce papers that meet your specific situation and needs. The online process with free live support ensures that you are submitting all of the right forms and avoiding unnecessary delays in your divorce. Start your Arkansas divorce papers today.
When you have completed your Arkansas divorce paperwork you will need to file your forms with the local county clerk – either where you reside, or where your spouse resides. Be sure to make two additional copies; one to keep for your records and one to serve to your spouse.
It is always a good idea to call your county clerk before you arrive to verify that you have all the correct documentation. You can also verify with the clerk that you are bringing a form of payment that the court accepts for the state filing fee.
When you have filed the forms and paid the fee, the clerk will stamp your divorce documents and issue a “Standard Restraining Order”. The restraining order ensures that neither you nor your spouse “dissipates” assets or money, and states that no harassment between the parties is allowed to occur.
The final step in the divorce process in filing is to serve your spouse. If you are both in agreement, you can simply hand over the completed divorce papers to your spouse and get him or her to complete an “Entry of Appearance and Waiver of Service of Summons”, and have your spouse sign it in front of a notary. You also have the option of serving your spouse by certified mail, or using a sheriff's deputy or a private process server.
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It's great to have an option like this when dealing with an amicable, uncomplicated divorce - no need for attorneys when there's nothing to hash out.
By Deborah Sharp, USA TODAY
Couples can find a mate, fill out a bridal registry and plan a honeymoon on the computer. Now they can also divorce online.
A Web site started last year by a Seattle attorney gives the unhappily wed in Washington, California, Florida and New York the option of dissolving their marriages online. Texas is next, and several other states are being considered.
The site is the latest twist in a do-it-yourself trend. Changing trends in the USA Average age of first marriage Divorce year male female Divorced Americans Divorces granted 1970 23.2 20.8 4.3 million 0.7 million 2000 26.8 25.1 19.9 million 1.2 million Sources: U.S. Census; National Center for Health Statistics
No national figures exist on self-representation. But some experts estimate that as many as half of 1.2 million couples divorcing annually in the USA do so without a lawyer representing at least one of the parties.
The Web site, www.completecase.com, differs from the many self-help sites offering advice, referrals or downloads of documents needed to file for divorce in a particular state.
For $249, the Web site prompts couples with questions on everything from dividing financial assets to deciding where the kids celebrate birthdays. The software then uses their answers to fill out the documents that a couple can download and submit to a court.
Requirements vary by locale as to whether a couple must show up in court or can mail in or fax their divorce filing. But in all cases, a judge must still sign the order ending a marriage.
Randy Finney, a family law attorney for 11 years and the founder of the Web site, says it was designed for uncontested divorces. It's not for couples with convoluted finances or for those fighting over child custody and who gets the dog.
"The decision to get a divorce comes way before the decision about how to get a divorce," says Finney, 35, who is happily married. "I don't think anyone takes their wedding vows so frivolously that they're going to get a divorce just because they can do it for $249."
Not everyone is thrilled with the notion of cyber-divorce.
Judges and lawyers fret that couples who use the Web site may believe they've had legal counsel when they haven't. And leaders in the movement to save marriages complain that point-and-click divorce further undermines the institution's supposed sanctity.
"I can only think of one use of the Internet that's worse and that's pornography," says Dennis Rainey, executive director of FamilyLife, a religious group based in Little Rock. "We're trying to do all we can to call people to keep their wedding vows."
FamilyLife has joined with 30 other organizations since 1999 in drawing 175,000 spouses nationwide to "I Still Do" ceremonies that affirm marriage.
Despite the marriage celebrations, about one-fifth of American men and women have been divorced at least once.
A study released last month by the U.S. Census shows about 90% of Americans will marry at some point. For men, 54% married just once. For women, 60%. Serial marriage is rare: Only 3% of Americans have married three times or more; 13% have married twice.
Finney estimates his Web site has helped 1,000 couples unhitch. Stacey Kiss of Seattle is among those who traveled to virtual Splitsville. The self-described "Internet junkie" says it took her and her husband of seven years about three hours one night to click through the Web site's detailed questions.
"We never got along on anything through our entire marriage, but we still managed to come to an agreement," says Kiss, 36, a hospital business-services manager. "Why drag it out and make it complicated?"
She says the online split was cheaper and easier than her first, traditional divorce. Now single, Kiss says she's comfortable with dot-com divorce, but she draws the line at cyber-dating.
"I like surfing the Web," she says, "but not for men."
Ernesto Gomez and his wife Blanca had been planning to get a divorce for three years. They had already separated and worked out custody and child support for their two kids. But they had stalled on filing because they didn't want to deal with the hassle and expense. Hiring a lawyer, they were told, would cost at least $1,500. Using a free service offered by the court would involve numerous meetings spread out over several weeks.
So when Gomez heard an ad on the radio for a service called completecase.com that would let him fill out the paperwork online for just $249, he decided to give it a try. Four days after he logged onto the site, he had the papers completed and filed in court. "CompleteCase gives you step-by-step instructions. You can't miss anything," says Gomez, a distribution-center manager in Miami.
Gomez is not the only one turning to the Internet to simplify the process. Other services, like divorcewizards. com and divorcesyourself.com also offer quickie online divorce kits, usually for $300 or less. No lawyer is involved unless a client chooses to pay extra for a consultation by phone or e-mail.
Brian Lee, president of legalzoom.com says his site has handled more than 30,000 divorces since its launch in 2001. Though people still have to convey their forms to the court, the process of filling out the paperwork can take less than an hour, thanks to simple online questionnaires that hand-hold customers through the process.
Online divorce is not an option if the couple can't agree on the terms. Even when they can, not everyone thinks it's a good idea. "Instant divorce is the last thing we need," says Mike McManus, president of the marriage advocacy group Marriage Savers. Instead of a divorce, McManus says, couples often just need time to cool off before working out their differences.
Still, such services are spreading. Utah and California offer do-it-yourself sites that let you fill the forms out online (for $20 at utcourts.gov/how to; free at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/selfhelp) Traffic on the California site rose from 6,800 page views in May 2002 to nearly 17,000 in May 2003. --By Anita Hamilton
The Los Angeles Times; Los Angeles, Calif.; Nov 19, 2001; MARTIN MILLER;
Abstract: Californians can legally split from their spouses over the Web site http://www.completecase.com and never have to set foot in a courthouse or lawyer's office. Legal papers can be completed within anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours, depending on the complexity of the split, according to Randolph Finney, a Seattle-based family law attorney who founded the site.
For Californians, once the judge signs the documents, they are "legally binding and enforceable," says Finney, but per state law the divorce doesn't become finalized for six months.
Full Text: (Copyright, The Times Mirror Company; Los Angeles Times 2001 All rights reserved)
The circle of online life is now complete. You can date online; you can marry online; and now you can divorce online.
Californians can legally split from their spouses over the Web site http://www.completecase.com and never have to set foot in a courthouse or lawyer's office. Legal papers can be completed within anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours, depending on the complexity of the split, according to Randolph Finney, a Seattle-based family law attorney who founded the site.
For a flat fee of $249, the site walks divorcing couples step-by- step through such issues as community property and calculating child support payments. When the online form is completed, the applicant simply signs the papers and mails them to the courthouse.
But it's not for everyone. It works only for those couples who are parting amicably and filing for an uncontested divorce. "If you can't agree on who gets the kids, our site is not for you," says Finney, a married 35-year-old.
The site debuted earlier this year, but only to residents of Washington state. Last month, California was added, and soon Florida, New York and Oregon are expected to be added. So far, the site has helped process hundreds of divorces, says Finney.
The site has drawn critics who denounce the online divorce as yet another blow to society's bedrock institutions. The very ease of the process, some contend, makes family and marriage as disposable as an old appliance. Indeed, a similar site in England was recently condemned by the pope as immoral because it made divorce too easy.
Naturally, Finney disagrees. "I think our Web site has the opposite effect," he said. "If you're going to get divorced, let's do it in a civil manner. I really don't believe having something available that makes it easier and costs less money is going to encourage divorce."
The inspiration for the project came from his law practice, where he primarily handles divorces. It took about a year to get the site up and running. "On almost a daily basis, I would get clients who said they needed a divorce but didn't have the money or the patience with the legal process to pursue it," he said. "These people are really stuck between a rock and a hard place."
For Californians, once the judge signs the documents, they are "legally binding and enforceable," says Finney, but per state law the divorce doesn't become finalized for six months. "It isn't quite as fast as a Las Vegas divorce," he says.
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When completing the online questionnaire, help and explanations are provided for each question. Should you have any questions during the process, you may call our support line to speak with a divorce specialist.
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Based on the information provided you are not qualified to use CompleteCase.com to complete your divorce online at this time.
We recommend contacting a licensed Family Law attorney to help you with your situation.