Arkansas Marital Settlement (Divorce) Agreement

Create a high quality document online now!

Updated May 17, 2022

An Arkansas marital settlement agreement is a contract between spouses that determines their rights and duties after marriage. During a divorce lawsuit, a settlement agreement may be submitted to the court to communicate the couple’s decisions for alimony, parental responsibilities, custody, and child support payments. The agreement can also specify how the parties intend to separate marital assets and debt. To ensure the fairness of the agreement and its financial stipulations, the spouses should provide each other with copies of their income tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, and other evidence that reveals their current financial status.

Table of Contents

Divorce Laws

Statutes – Title 9, Subtitle 2, Ch. 12 (Divorce and Annulment)


Alimony (§ 9-12-312) – There are no statutorily-defined factors that the court will use to determine alimony. Instead, alimony will be ordered based on the “circumstances of the parties and nature of the case.”

Alimony Calculatorcalculators.law

Child Support (§ 9-12-312(a)(3)) – These guidelines govern the child support obligations of the noncustodial spouse.

Child Support Calculatorarcourts.gov

Division of Property (§ 9-12-315) – The court will divide marital property according to the principles of equitable distribution. All assets and debts acquired by the couple while married will be split fairly between the spouses resulting in a division that may not be equal.

Grounds for Divorce (§ 9-12-301 & § 9-12-307(a)(1)(A)) – A divorce may be awarded if the court finds any of the following are true:

  • The spouses have lived separate and apart for a continuous period of eighteen (18) months;
  • The spouses have lived separate and apart for a continuous period of three (3) years due to the incurable insanity of a spouse;
  • Either spouse, at the start of the marriage, was and continues to be impotent;
  • Either spouse has been convicted of a felony or another infamous crime;
  • Either spouse is guilty of barbarous and cruel treatment that endangers the other spouse’s life;
  • Either spouse is habitually intoxicated for a period of one (1) year;
  • Either spouse committed adultery after marriage;
  • The actions of a spouse to the other are intolerable and shameful; and
  • Either spouse has a legal obligation to support the other, and has the ability to provide the common necessities of life but fails to do so.

Interim Support (§ 9-12-309) – An order for alimony or child support may be awarded to a spouse while the divorce action is pending.

Residency (§ 9-12-307(a)(1)(A)) – Either spouse must reside in the state for sixty (60) days before filing for divorce, and the filing spouse must reside in the state for three (3) months before a judgment for divorce may be granted. 

How to File for Divorce in Arkansas

  • Where to FileCircuit Court
  • Filing Fee – $165
  • How Long Does it Take? At least thirty (30) days

Divorce Forms

Uncontested Divorce with No Children:

Uncontested Divorce With Children:

To obtain an uncontested divorce ruling, the couple must agree on all matters related to their separation. Therefore, the parties will need to negotiate terms such as child support, custody, spousal maintenance, and the division of marital assets. After a mutually acceptable arrangement is reached, a Marital Settlement Agreement should be drafted to set forth the terms in writing.

Step 1 – Complaint for Divorce

The first step requires the petitioner to draft a Complaint for Divorce (may also be referred to as a Petition for Divorce). If the spouses don’t have children together, the petitioner can use a Complaint for Divorce. If the spouses have minor children, the petitioner must contact a court clerk to request the proper form for their county (see Sample). Once complete, the petitioner must sign the document in the presence of a notary public.

  • If the complaint did not contain a verification area, the petitioner should present a Verification for Petition for Divorce to the notary which they will fill out and sign to notarize the document.

Note: Individuals seeking to restore their former name may request a name change in their Complaint for Divorce.

Step 2 – File Complaint with the Circuit Court

The complaint and three (3) copies must be filed with the Circuit Court in the county where the petitioner or the defendant resides. Included with the complaint must be a Domestic Relations Cover Sheet and, if the case involves children, a Confidential Information Sheet. A fee of $165 will be charged to the petitioner unless an exemption has been granted by the court. After filing, the petitioner must ask a clerk to issue a Summons.

Step 3 – Notify Other Spouse

In most situations, the petitioner will need to serve the defendant with notice of the divorce case. However, the defendant can waive the service requirement by signing an Entry of Appearance, Waiver of Service of Summons, and Waiver of Notice. The waiver must be signed in the presence of a notary public and filed with the court. If the defendant chooses not to sign the waiver, the petitioner will need to serve them with the original Summons and a copy of the Complaint for Divorce. Service can be accomplished in any of the following ways:

  • Personal Service – A process server or another authorized individual can personally deliver the documents to the defendant. After service, a certificate will be completed by the server and returned to the petitioner. The petitioner will need to file the certificate with the court.
  • Service by Mail – The documents can be sent by certified mail with restricted delivery and a return receipt requested. Once delivered, a receipt will be returned to the petitioner. The petitioner must complete an Affidavit of Service by Mail, sign it in the presence of a notary, attach the return receipt, and file it with the court.
  • Publication – If the petitioner does not know the defendant’s address, they can ask the court for permission to serve the documents via publication in a local newspaper.

Step 4 – Defendant’s Answer

After service has taken place, the defendant will have thirty (30) days to file an Answer stating whether they admit or deny any allegations stated in the Complaint for Divorce. Note that the defendant must not object to the complaint if they wish to obtain an uncontested divorce ruling. The Circuit Court does not provide an official Answer form; instructions for filing an Answer are provided in the Summons.

Step 5 – Schedule a Hearing

The petitioner will need to ask a court clerk to issue a Notice of Hearing. They must then complete the following instructions to schedule a hearing for their case:

  1. The Notice of Hearing must be taken to the office of the judge assigned to the case.
  2. While at the judge’s office, the petitioner must ask a case coordinator to schedule a hearing for their case.
  3. The case coordinator will input the hearing details into the Notice of Hearing and return it to the petitioner.
  4. The petitioner will need to make a copy of the Notice of Hearing, file the original with the Circuit Court, and send the copy to the defendant by regular mail.

Note: If the defendant signed an Entry of Appearance, Waiver of Service of Summons, and Waiver of Notice, the petitioner is not required to mail the Notice of Hearing to the defendant.

Step 6 – Prepare for Divorce Hearing

The petitioner will need to provide an adult witness in court. This individual must attest that the grounds for divorce are true and that the petitioner or defendant has met the residency requirements. Additionally, the petitioner will need to fill out the Decree of Divorce and bring it with them to the hearing.

Step 7 – Attend Hearing

On the date of the court hearing, the spouses and the witness must appear in court to present their cases to a judge. The parties must provide the judge with the Decree of Divorce. If there is enough evidence to warrant the order, the judge will sign the decree and return it to the petitioner. To finalize the divorce and terminate the marriage, the petitioner must file the original Decree of Divorce and two (2) copies with the Circuit Court.

Step 8 – Name Change

If a name change was requested during the filing process, the change will be awarded following the issuance of the Decree of Divorce. The requesting party should obtain a certified copy of the decree which they can use as legal evidence of their new name.

(Video) Arkansas Marital Settlement Agreement – EXPLAINED