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Arkansas Family Law

Arkansas Family Law


Family law in Arkansas refers to the legal framework that governs family-related issues, such as divorce, child custody, visitation rights, adoption, and child support. This article provides an overview of Arkansas family law, including the latest information and updates on this ever-evolving legal field.

Divorce in Arkansas

Divorce is a complex process that involves many legal intricacies. In Arkansas, the state recognizes both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce. Fault grounds may include adultery, cruelty, and other forms of marital misconduct, while no-fault grounds refer to when the marriage is irretrievably broken.

In Arkansas, spouses seeking a divorce are required to live in the state for at least 60 days before they can file for divorce. The divorce process can be initiated by filing a petition with the local county court. Upon receiving the petition, the court will issue a summons, which is a formal notice to the other spouse.

The court will schedule a hearing, and both parties are expected to present their arguments before the court. In Arkansas, the court may award either joint or sole custody, depending on the child’s best interests. Child support and alimony may also be awarded, depending on the parties’ income and other factors.

Child Custody and Visitation Rights

Child custody and visitation rights are among the most contentious issues in family law. In Arkansas, the courts have adopted the best interests of the child standard, which means that the court will consider various factors when determining custody and visitation rights.

The factors that the court will consider include the child’s age, physical, and mental health, the parents’ capacity to care for the child, the child’s relationship with each parent, and the parents’ plans for the child’s education and future. The court may award joint or sole custody, depending on the child’s best interests.

Child support is another critical issue in Arkansas family law. In Arkansas, both parents are required to support their child financially. The court will consider the child’s needs and the parents’ incomes when determining the amount of child support to be paid. The parent without custody is usually required to pay child support to the parent with custody.

Adoption in Arkansas

Adoption is another crucial aspect of family law in Arkansas. Adoption is the process by which a person or couple becomes the legal parent of a child. To adopt a child in Arkansas, the adopting parent or parents must be at least 21 years old and must complete a home study from a licensed adoption agency.

The court will also require the adopting parent or parents to undergo a criminal background check and fingerprinting. The adoption process can take several months and involves various legal steps, including the termination of the biological parents’ rights.

Arkansas also recognizes stepparent adoption, which is a process by which a stepparent adopts the biological child of his or her spouse. The stepparent must meet the same requirements as other adopting parents and obtain the biological parent’s consent.

Child Abuse and Neglect

Child abuse and neglect are serious issues that can have lifelong consequences for children. In Arkansas, anyone who suspects child abuse or neglect is required to report it immediately. Failure to report suspected child abuse or neglect can result in legal sanctions.

The Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) is responsible for investigating reports of child abuse and neglect. The DHS may remove a child from his or her home if the child is in danger and place the child in foster care.


Family law is a dynamic and constantly evolving legal field. Arkansas family law governs various family issues, including divorce, child custody and visitation rights, adoption, and child abuse and neglect. Arkansas family law, like other areas of law, is subject to change, and it is crucial to stay informed of the latest updates and changes to this legal framework. Through this article, readers can get a better understanding of Arkansas family law and how it impacts families’ lives in the state.

Quick Guide to Arkansas Family Laws 

Where can I find the majority of Arkansas Family Laws?

You’ll have to visit the annotated code under the outside program of LexisNexis® for a complete list of all Arkansas family laws under the state’s general assembly.  Once you begin searching for Arkansas family law, you’ll want to reference Title 9 Family which contains the majority of family law.

In this article you’ll find general information about Arkansas family law about marriage requirements, divorce, adoption, child custody, and other commonly accessed areas of family law.  If you are referencing Arkansas family laws for legal help, you are highly advised to consult with a family law attorney before proceeding with any settlement process.

Specific Arkansas Family Laws

Some general information about sections of Arkansas family law within Title 9 is listed below:

Chapter 11 Marriage

This chapter provides prerequisites for a valid marriage, as well as who cannot marry in the state of Arkansas.  This chapter also contains information on Arkansas family laws for licenses and other contracts (Subchapter 2 specifically), as well as who is legally allowed to solemnize a marriage.

Chapter 12 Divorce and Annulment

This chapter of Arkansas family law is one of the most frequently accessed chapters under Arkansas annotated code.  This chapter covers general grounds for divorce, property division, methods of payment for spousal support (alimony), and much more.  Other chapters that may supplement this chapter of Arkansas family law are Chapter 14 Spousal and Child Support and many more under Subtitle 2.

Chapter 9 Adoption

This chapter of Arkansas family law provides general provisions for adoption such as who may adopt a child, information about petitions, financial disclosures, investigative procedures from a child-placing agency, and much more.

Subchapters 2 through 7 also discuss several very important Acts concerning adoption in relation to specific Arkansas family laws.

Chapter 13 Child Custody and Visitation

This chapter of Arkansas family law provides detailed information about the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act, the International Child Abduction Prevention Act, and much more valuable information.  For more information about child custody, talk with your family law attorney.

How to Search Arkansas Family Law

Consider the follow search techniques while researching Arkansas family laws.  These search techniques will work for this website as well.

1. Stemming- this technique includes adding suffixes onto your search, such as divorces, divorcing, divorced, or more

2. Wildcards- a wildcard allows you to search multiple words using an asterisk, and adopt* will usually bring you to adopted, adoption, adopting, adoptive, adoptable, and more.

3. Missing variables- you can search for a missing variable with a question mark, and wom?n will bring results associated with woman, women, and more

4. Boolean Operators- you should always consider using and, or, and not to limit your searches as well

Of course, searching for a specific term will limit your search and bring you closer to what you’re looking for, but if you’re having trouble finding a term, you can use the methods above.