Why Does Fault Matter In A Divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 23, 2023 | Divorce

To obtain a divorce, you generally need to have a reason. Arkansas law details the circumstances that qualify as grounds for divorce.

In Arkansas, acceptable grounds for divorce are mostly fault-based. However, in certain circumstances, it is possible to obtain a no-fault divorce.

What are fault-based grounds for divorce?

Fault-based grounds for divorce in Arkansas include impotence, felony convictions, alcohol abuse, adultery and spousal abuse. State law also allows divorce on the grounds of “general indignities.” This is a broad term that encompasses many types of behavior and mistreatment that can make a marriage intolerable.

To qualify as grounds for divorce, the event or behavior must have occurred within the last five years.

How can you obtain a no-fault divorce?

A no-fault divorce is possible if you and your spouse have lived apart for at least 18 consecutive months.

If your spouse has an incurable mental health condition that requires you to live apart, you can obtain a divorce after three continuous years of living separately.

Does fault affect child support, alimony or property division?

Marital fault is generally not relevant to child custody or support decisions unless it involves risks to your child’s safety, such as abuse or substance use.

Likewise, fault is not usually a factor in determining spousal support unless it directly relates to your need for support or ability to pay.

Property division, however, may depend partly on marital fault. In an at-fault divorce, the court may deem it appropriate to award a larger share of marital property to the spouse who is not at fault.

If you are considering ending your marriage, you must consider your grounds for divorce and understand how fault can impact the outcome of your divorce.