WomensLaw is not just for women. We serve and support all survivors, no matter their sex or gender.

Legal Information: Arkansas

Divorce

Updated: 
February 12, 2020

What are the reasons (grounds) for divorce in Arkansas from a traditional marriage?

The reason for a divorce is called the ground for divorce. There are nine reasons for which a judge can grant you a divorce from a marriage in Arkansas.

No-fault grounds

Basically, this means that it was no one’s fault in particular that the marriage fell apart but that the reason for creating that union no longer exists. There is one no-fault ground for divorce in Arkansas:

  1. Separation - You and your spouse have lived separately for a continuous period of 18 months or more.1

Fault-based grounds

In this type of divorce, a person may be able to allege that one spouse was the one responsible for, or at fault for, the breakdown of the marriage. There are 8 fault-based grounds for divorce in Arkansas. Any of these grounds must have happened in the 5 years prior to filing for the divorce and they have to happen in Arkansas. If the reason for filing for divorce happened in another state, it still needs to be a reason recognized by Arkansas law (one of the reasons listed below.)2 The fault-based grounds for divorce in Arkansas are:

  1. Impotence - Your spouse was impotent at the time of the marriage and continues to be impotent;
  2. Felony conviction - Your spouse is convicted of a felony or other “infamous crime;”
  3. Drunkenness - Your spouse has a habit of getting drunk continually during a one-year period or a longer period of time;
  4. Cruel and inhuman treatment – Your spouse behaves in a way that is so cruel that it’s endangering your life;
  5. Humiliation – Your spouse humiliates you to the point that it makes your life extremely difficult;
  6. Adultery - Your spouse cheats on you after the marriage;
  7. Incurable insanity - When you and your spouse have lived separately for 3 years because s/he is incurably insane and has been committed to a mental institution for 3 years or more before the filing for divorce; or
  8. Lack of support - When your spouse is legally obligated to support you and has the ability to do so but s/he doesn’t.1

Note: Arkansas is one of a handful of states that allow covenant marriages aside from the traditional marriage. This is a different type of marriage in which, among other things, the couple agrees to counseling before the marriage and to more limited grounds for a divorce if they decide to get one in the future. If this is your case, you can find more information on the divorce process in this pamphlet from Arkansas Legal Services and you can also read the related statute on our Selected Arkansas Statutes page.

1 Ark. Code § 9-12-301(b)
2 Ark. Code § 9-12-307(2), (3)