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Arkansas Divorce Definitions

This collection of definitions will help clarify some unique characteristics to the Arkansas Divorce laws, process and paperwork which is filed with the court.

Filing Party Title:
Plaintiff

The spouse who will initiate the Divorce by filing the required paperwork with the court.

Non-Filing Party Title:
Defendant

The spouse who does not initiate the Divorce with the court.

Court Name:
In the Circuit Court of _____________ County, Arkansas _____________ Division

The proper name of the court in which a Divorce is filed in the state of Arkansas. Each jurisdictional court typically has a domestic relations or a family law department or division.

Child Support Enforcement Website:
http://www.state.ar.us/dfa/childsupport/index.html

The state run office devoted to enforcing existing child support orders and collecting any past due child support.

Document Introduction:
In Re the Marriage of:

The lead-in verbiage used in the legal caption or header of the documents filed with the court. The introduction typically prefaces both spouse’s names.

Initial Divorce Document:
Complaint for Divorce

The title and name of the legal document that will initiate the Arkansas Divorce process. The filing spouse is also required to provide the non-filing spouse a copy of this document.

Final Divorce Document:
Decree of Divorce

The title and name of the legal document that will finalize the Arkansas Divorce process. This document will be signed by the judge, master, or referee of the court to declare your marriage officially terminated.

Clerk’s Office Name:
County Clerk’s Office of the Superior Court

The office of the clerk that will facilitate the Divorce process. This is the title you would address letters to or ask for when contacting the courthouse.

Legal Separation:

Legal separation may be granted for the following reasons: (1) Impotence; (2) adultery; (3) confinement for incurable insanity or separation caused by mental illness for a period of 3 years; (4) conviction of a felony; (5) willful desertion for 1 year; (6) cruel and inhuman treatment which endangers the life of the spouse; (7) personal indignities; (8) habitual intemperance (drunkenness) for 1 year; (9) commission and/or conviction of an infamous crime; (10) voluntary separation for 18 months; and (11) nonsupport whereby the spouse is able to provide support but willfully fails to provide suitable maintenance for the complaining spouse. [Arkansas Code of 1987 Annotated; Title 9, Chapter 12-301].

Property Distribution:
Equitable Distribution

The applicable Arkansas law that will dictate how property and debt is to be divided upon Divorce.