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Do I Need a Reason to Get a Divorce in Arkansas?

The short answer is yes. While many states recognize and permit no-fault divorces, Arkansas does not. To get a divorce in Arkansas, you must have a reason. Not just any reason will do. You must have and plead specific legal grounds for the divorce.

To obtain a divorce in Arkansas, the following legal grounds are recognized:

  • Impotence
  • Felony Conviction
  • Habitual Drunkenness
  • Cruel and Barbarous Treatment
  • General Indignities
  • Adultery
  • Living Separate and Apart
  • Willful Failure to Provide Support


Arkansas law permits divorce when either party, at the time of the contract, was and still is impotent. Impotence is the inability to engage in sexual relations. If your spouse either refuses or intentionally avoids sexual relations, that does not qualify as impotence. Similarly, infertility or the inability to have children does not qualify as impotence. In order to seek a divorce on the grounds of impotence, your spouse must have been physically unable to engage in sexual relations at the time of the marriage. Subsequent impotence is insufficient grounds for divorce.

Felony Conviction

If your spouse is convicted of a felony or other infamous crime, the conviction may be grounds for a divorce.

Habitual Drunkenness

Under Arkansas law, if your spouse is addicted to habitual drunkenness for one (1) year, the drunkenness qualifies as grounds for divorce. It is not enough to plead drunkenness – just because you say your spouse is a drunk doesn’t make it true in the eyes of the law. In order to maintain a divorce action on the grounds of habitual drunkenness, there must be actual evidence of frequent, habitual drunkenness for at least a year. Call us to discuss your situation.

Cruel and Barbarous Treatment

If you have suffered cruel and barbarous treatment during a marriage such that it endangers your life, the abuse is grounds for a divorce. Generally, this comes into play when one spouse suffers physical, mental or emotional abuse by the other spouse. If you have suffered such abusive treatment, contact us today to discuss divorce and options for counseling and relocation. We are here to help you.

General Indignities

Although general indignities may sound like a catchall provision for any given reason you may seek to divorce your spouse, Arkansas law actually dictates what qualifies as general indignities. To obtain a divorce on the grounds of general indignities, there first must be indignities to you by your spouse. Indignities are treatment or circumstances that cause one to feel shame or lose one’s dignity. Further, the indignities suffered by you from your spouse must be such that they render your condition intolerable. What conditions are considered to be intolerable under the law can vary. Contact us today to discuss your situation.


If your spouse commits adultery or cheats on you during the marriage, the adultery is sufficient grounds for divorce. If you suspect adultery, contact us. We work with private investigators to gather evidence to prove your grounds for divorce.

Living Separate and Apart

Despite the way it reads, simply living separate from your spouse is insufficient grounds for a divorce. Under Arkansas law, when a husband and wife have lived separate and apart for eighteen (18) continuous months without cohabitation, a court may grant a divorce. The divorce decree can be entered at the request of one spouse due to the fault of another spouse or due to the fault of both parties. Although Arkansas does not permit quick, no-fault divorces, the closest grounds to a no-fault divorce is living separate and apart without cohabitation for 18 months. Beware of the requirement that you do not cohabitate with your spouse at any period during the 18 months. If your spouse can prove you were living together at any time during that period, you will not be able to get a divorce on these grounds.

If a husband and wife have lived separate and apart for three (3) consecutive years without cohabitation because one spouse is legally insane, you may also seek a divorce on grounds of living separate and apart. However, there must be specific evidence of insanity, supported by medical proof. Contact us at the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield to discuss what qualifies.

Willful Failure to Provide Support

Arkansas law permits divorce when a spouse that is legally obligated to provide support to the other spouse, and who has the ability to provide the other with the common necessaries of life, willfully fails to provide such support. What qualifies as a legal obligation to provide support and willful failure to provide support can be complicated. Contact us today to discuss your situation and options for divorce.

Contact Our Springdale Divorce Attorneys

Oftentimes, you may have multiple grounds for divorce. You may also have grounds for divorce that you fear may embarrass your soon-to-be ex since legal filings are public. If you have children with your soon-to-be ex, you may want to keep the split amicable. Call the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, P.A. today at 479-361-3575, and we can discuss your situation and options that suit you.

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