Leslie Copeland Law

Restraining Orders in Arkansas

Family LawLeslie Copeland
Order of Protection Standing Restraining Order No Contact Order Arkansas

What is a Restraining Order? How is that different from an Order of Protection or a No Contact Order? My clients are often confused by these differences, and the differences are important. Allow me to explain.

A Standing Restraining Order is typically automatically issued at the beginning of every domestic relations case, like a divorce. It restrains both parties from harassing each other, from selling or disposing of property, and from removing the children from the jurisdiction of the Court, if there are children involved. This kind of order is not particular to you and does not prevent you from contacting the other party. Here is an example of a Standing Restraining Order from Washington County, Arkansas. 

An Order of Protection is a court order that is issued when there has been an allegation of abuse that threatens the safety and security of the petitioner. The Order prevents communication between the parties and restrains the alleged abuser from going to the home or workplace of the petitioner. The Court will often enter an "Ex Parte" Order of Protection first, which will be temporary and will last until there is a court hearing where everyone can be heard. If the Court finds that the alleged abuser is a continuing threat to the petitioner, then the Court will issue an Order of Protection for a longer period of time, such a one year or even up to ten years.

If you are the victim of domestic abuse and believe that there is a threat to you or your children, here is a step by step guide on how to file for an Order of Protection.

Lastly, a No Contact Order is entered in criminal cases and prevents the alleged perpetrator of a crime from contacting the alleged victim. These are routinely issued in domestic violence, assault and battery cases. There can be no contact whatsoever. This includes text messages, and also includes sending messages through third parties. If either party violates the Order, they can be charged with an independent crime.

If you have a question about a restraining order, contact Leslie so that she can advise you on your rights and responsibilities under that order. Better safe than sorry!

5 Quick Facts About Divorce in Arkansas

Family LawLeslie Copeland
Divorce Alimony Child Support Custody Arkansas

Here are 5 basic things you need to know about getting a divorce in Arkansas: 

#1 - Residency. To file for divorce, either you or your spouse must be a resident of the state of Arkansas and must have been a resident for at least 60 days before filing. That person must also continue to be a resident during the divorce proceedings. 

#2 - Time Frame. A common question from clients is, “How long does it take to get a divorce?” While there is no one answer, it will take at minimum 30 days, but it almost always takes longer. A less complicated divorce typically takes between 45 and 90 days. A complicated divorce can take several months, or even a year or more to be finalized.

#3 - Grounds. To get a divorce in Arkansas, you have to prove that you have grounds for divorce. The most common ground for divorce is general indignities, which refers to your spouse treating you in such a way as to "render married life with them intolerable." The second most common ground is separation for at least 18 months. Other grounds include incarceration and adultery. Arkansas does not have a “no fault” divorce. The grounds for divorce in Arkansas must be specifically proven or agreed to.

#4 - Property. In Arkansas, we have what’s called “equitable” division of marital property. This means that the court will take all factors into consideration when dividing a couple's property, including the age and health of the parties, their income and employability, and the length of the marriage. The court will typically return property owned by each of the parties prior to the marriage, but not always. There is a lot of leeway in dividing property in order for the parties to negotiate. So do not assume that ownership of property will necessarily determine who gets the property in divorce. The court will attempt divide the parties' property as a whole as fairly as possible.

#5 - Child Support & Alimony. As to child support, the non-custodial parent (with whom the child does not live) is routinely ordered to pay child support to the custodial parent (with whom the child does live). The amount of child support is set by the Family Support Guidelines and is determined according to the non-custodial parent’s income. Even if the parent doesn’t work, a certain amount is “imputed” or assumed to be their income. The judge can grant more or less child support based on the child’s needs.

As to alimony, it is up to the court to decide whether alimony should be granted and how much. The primary factors the court considers are the need of one spouse for alimony and the other spouse's ability to pay. But the court will consider others factors too, such as the parties’ income, earning abilities, health, and the length of the marriage. When granted, the trend favors temporary, rather than permanent, alimony in order to help the spouse get back on their feet.

Every marriage is different, and so is every divorce. There are a variety of factors at play that could make a meaningful difference to you, now and in the future. Schedule a consultation with Leslie today and see how she can help you.