Fault or no fault?

Is Arkansas a fault or no fault divorce state? Technically, Arkansas is a fault divorce state; meaning, one spouse must have behaved in a way that amounts to “grounds” for a divorce under Arkansas law. Divorce grounds are legal cause for a divorce or, said a different way, behaviors or circumstances that permit a married individual to a divorce. Arkansas recognizes the following grounds for divorce:


1) Impotence;

2) A felony conviction;

3) Alcohol abuse for at least one year;

4) Cruel and barbarous treatment that endangers the other spouse’s life;

5) General indignities;

6) Adultery;

7) When the spouses have lived separate and apart from each other for eighteen (18) continuous months without cohabitation; and

8) When spouses lived separate and apart from each other for three (3) consecutive years without cohabitation by reason of the insurable insanity of one spouse; and

9) Willful failure to support the other spouse despite a legal obligation to do so.


The grounds most often referred to as general indignities (No. 5 above) are by far the most commonly plead grounds for divorce in Arkansas. General indignities are a sort of catch all under the divorce statute. It’s the least stringent grounds for divorce.


What does general indignities mean? That’s a question often asked by individuals seeking divorce because general indignities are a very vague concept. To plead general indignities as your grounds or reason for divorce under Arkansas law, you must allege and prove that your spouse has “offer[ed] such indignities to [you] as shall render [your] condition intolerable.” Ark. Code Ann. §9-12-301(3)(C). General indignities is the closest thing Arkansas has to offer to no fault divorce offered in other states.

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