Skilled Representation of Clients in Divorce, Custody and Support Cases
Divorce, custody and support attorney Gregg Knutson guides clients through the process of a divorce, legal separation, custody dispute, guardianship, adoption, or other family law cases. For a free, confidential consultation, call me at (501)224-2928. Before signing a divorce decree, property settlement agreement, be sure to have an attorney with experience review the settlement terms to make sure you are getting what you deserve.
Grounds for Divorce
In Arkansas, parties are required to furnish proof of a party’s grounds for divorce before a divorce can be granted. The Arkansas Code lists several grounds for divorce, including general indignities, adultery, habitual drunkenness, domestic violence (cruelty), conviction of a felony, and separation for eighteen months. Knutson Law Firm is prepared to fight for your rights and require the opposing party to prove their grounds for divorce. In contested cases, you have the right to require a trial concerning grounds for divorce or any other matter in dispute.
Division of Property
Division of property can be a contentious area in a divorce case. Marital property usually includes any property acquired by either party during the marriage, and is be subject to division by the court. The only exceptions are property that was received by gift or inheritance, a workers’ compensation claim, personal injury claim, or social security claim when those benefits are for any degree of permanent disability or future medical expenses. Retirement accounts are usually subject to division, if contributions were made to the account during the marriage. 401k plans, IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs, SEP plans, and military retirement plans are all subject to complicated rules for division, and an attorney can help you evaluate your options.
Support and Custody
Gregg Knutson also has tried numerous child support, spousal support, and custody cases. Spousal support is most often awarded in situations where one spouse has not worked for a period of time, and the other spouse has the ability to pay. Arkansas courts are required to set child support with reference to the Arkansas Child Support Guidelines found in Arkansas Supreme Court Administrative Rule No. 10. Judges in Arkansas are required to award the custodial spouse the amount of child support stated in the Arkansas Child Support Guidelines, unless there are good reasons to deviate from the chart amount.
The general process of filing a divorce is started by the filing of a Complaint for Divorce in the circuit court of the county where one of the parties resides. Upon the filing of the Complaint, the circuit court clerk will issue a Summons. These documents must then be served upon the opposing party by certified mail, personal delivery, or constructive service by publication. After service, the opposing party has thirty days to respond to the Complaint. All divorce cases must remain open a minimum of thirty days before a judge can grant the divorce, except for cases alleging continuous separation for eighteen months.
If there are complex issues involving custody, support, visitation, or division of property, your attorney will likely conduct send written questions to the opposing party called “interrogatories and requests for production of documents”. These written questions must be answered, under oath, within thirty days after receipt. An attorney may also schedule a deposition, so that he can ask the other spouse or witnesses about their expected testimony. A deposition is conducted in the presence of a court reporter, and a transcript is prepared to be used at trial or during settlement discussions.
A temporary hearing is sometimes required to address temporary custody, support, visitation, division of marital debts, and temporary possession of marital property before the case is finalized. Since a complex divorce case can last several months, it may be important for a judge to decide these issues on a temporary basis. Before a temporary hearing, the parties are required to exchange an Affidavit of Financial Means, which will be used by the court in setting child support. In some cases, a temporary order can be negotiated between the parties without a hearing.
Because divorce law can be complicated, be sure to contact an attorney for help before signing a Decree or otherwise waiving your rights. An attorney can help advise you whether a settlement offer is in your best interests, or whether you would be better served by going to trial. Many clients simply want to “get out” of a bad marriage, without thinking about the long term consequences of the provisions in a Decree. Be sure to contact Knutson Law Firm at (501)224-2928 to schedule an appointment to discuss your case.