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Arkansas Divorce Packet

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UPDATED: December 1, 2011
Version 2.0

Arkansas Divorce Packet
Arkansas Legal Services Partnership
Arkansas Access to Justice Commission
Center for Arkansas Legal Services & Legal Aid of Arkansas

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This self-help resource was created for Angela R. Pruitt by the Arkansas Legal Services Partnership (ALSP) and is endorsed by the Arkansas Access to Justice Commission. ALSP provides these sample forms and information free of charge to low-income Arkansans. These forms and instructions can be used cases involving an uncontested divorce without minor children and expensive property and debt. READ ALL INSTRUCTIONS IN THIS PACKET VERY CAREFULLY.

PACKET CONTENTS:

· Complaint for Divorce
· Entry of Appearance and Waiver of Service of Summons
· Affidavit of Service by Mail
· Decree of Divorce
· Court Testimony
· Witness Testimony
· Packet Instructions

Disclaimer
We are providing this information as a public service. We try to make it accurate. Sometimes the laws change. We cannot promise that the information is always up-to-date and correct. We do not intend this information to be legal advice. We do not intend it as advertising or solicitation. By providing this information, we are not acting as your lawyer. Always talk to a competent lawyer, if you can, before taking legal action.

The Arkansas Access to Justice Commission was created in 2003 by the Arkansas Supreme Court upon petition from the Arkansas Bar Association. The mission of the Arkansas Access to Justice Commission is to provide equal access to justice in civil cases to all Arkansans. For more information visit our website at www.arkansasjustice.org.

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF Benton COUNTY, ARKANSAS
DOMESTIC RELATIONS DIVISION

Angela R. Pruitt

PLAINTIFF

v.
Case No. _______________

Tracy A. Pruitt

DEFENDANT

COMPLAINT FOR DIVORCE

COMES NOW the plaintiff, Angela R. Pruitt, pro se, and for a Complaint for Divorce filed herein against the defendant, Tracy A. Pruitt, respectfully states and alleges:
1. That plaintiff is a resident of Benton County, Arkansas and has been for at least sixty (60) days prior to filing this action. That this action arose in Arkansas.
2. That defendant is a resident of Washington County, Arkansas.
3. That this cause of action occurred within five years last past from the date of this complaint.
4. That the plaintiff and defendant were lawfully married on November 3, 2012 in Rogers, AR and lived together as husband and wife until they separated on or about September 1, 2013; the parties have continued to live separate and apart since that date.
5. That during the course of the marriage defendant has been guilty of such cruel and barbarous treatment as to endanger the life of the Plaintiff..
6. That there are no minor children of the marriage and none are expected.
7. That the plaintiff should be restored her former name of Angela Rae Claborn.
8. That there are no marital property rights or debts to be adjudicated.
9. WHEREFORE, plaintiff prays that she be granted an absolute divorce from the defendant; for restoration of plaintiff’s former name, Angela Rae Claborn, and for all other just and proper relief to which she is entitled.

Respectfully submitted,
___________________________________
Angela R. Pruitt
115 Birch St
Centerton, AR 72719
(479) 282-7886 VERIFICATION
STATE OF ARKANSAS ) ) SS
COUNTY OF _________ )

The undersigned, being duly sworn, states on oath that she has reviewed the above named pleading and that the facts and matters contained therein are true and correct to the best of her knowledge and belief.

_________________________________
Angela R. Pruitt

SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN TO before me this _____day of ___________, _______.

_________________________________
Notary Public
My Commission Expires:

___________________

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF Benton COUNTY, ARKANSAS
DOMESTIC RELATIONS DIVISION

Angela R. Pruitt

PLAINTIFF

v.
Case No. _______________

Tracy A. Pruitt

DEFENDANT

ENTRY OF APPEARANCE AND WAIVER OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

The defendant hereby enters appearance and waives requirements of service of summons in this court and states under oath the following:
10. I hereby waive service of summons upon me in the above styled court and cause and the time in which to answer.
11. I agree that this cause may be heard in vacation, on oral testimony or on depositions and hereby waive notice of taking depositions and the filing of cross-interrogatories thereto, and waive all irregularities in time of taking such depositions.
12. I am not a member of the Armed Services of the United States.
13. This cause may be submitted to the Judge at any time or place, and the proceedings shall have the same force and effect as if done at a regular day of court.
14. I understand that the Circuit Court of Benton County, Arkansas will retain jurisdiction of this cause for such further orders as may be necessary for the enforcement of the terms of the Decree.
WITNESS my hand this ______________ day of _________, _______. _______________________________________
Tracy A. Pruitt

VERIFICATION
STATE OF ARKANSAS ) ) SS
COUNTY OF _________ )

The undersigned, being duly sworn, states on oath that he has reviewed the above named pleading and that the facts and matters contained therein are true and correct to the best of his knowledge and belief.

_________________________________
Tracy A. Pruitt

SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN TO before me this _____day of ___________, _______.

_________________________________
Notary Public
My Commission Expires:

___________________

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF Benton COUNTY, ARKANSAS
DOMESTIC RELATIONS DIVISION

Angela R. Pruitt

PLAINTIFF

v.
Case No. _______________

Tracy A. Pruitt

DEFENDANT

AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE BY MAIL
The undersigned, having been duly sworn, states upon oath and affirmation as follows:
15. That I am the plaintiff in the above captioned case.
16. That on ____________, I caused a certified letter, restricted delivery to addressee only or his agent, to be mailed to the defendant, Tracy A. Pruitt, at defendant’s last known address along with a copy of the Summons and Complaint.
17. That on _____________, the letter was claimed as evidenced by the return receipt signed by the defendant attached hereto as Exhibit “A.”
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have set my hand this ____ day of ___________, 20___.

_________________________________
Angela R. Pruitt

ACKNOWLEDGMENT
The undersigned, being duly sworn, states on oath that she has reviewed the above named pleading and that the facts and matters contained therein are true and correct to the best of her knowledge and belief.

_________________________________
Angela R. Pruitt

SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN TO before me this _____day of ___________, _______.

_________________________________
Notary Public
My Commission Expires:
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF Benton COUNTY, ARKANSAS
DOMESTIC RELATIONS DIVISION

Angela R. Pruitt

PLAINTIFF

v.
Case No. _______________

Tracy A. Pruitt

DEFENDANT

DECREE OF DIVORCE
On this date, the plaintiff, Angela R. Pruitt, appearing pro se, the defendant, Tracy A. Pruitt, having been properly served, this matter having been submitted to the Court upon the Complaint for Divorce, and from the testimony of the plaintiff and witness, Kit Claborn, and other evidence before the Court, the Court DOTH FIND AND ORDER:
18. This Court has jurisdiction of the parties and subject matter of this cause of action.
19. The plaintiff, Angela R. Pruitt, has substantiated grounds for divorce, that defendant has been guilty of such cruel and barbarous treatment as to endanger the life of the Plaintiff., by a preponderance of the evidence and that the plaintiff is entitled to an absolute divorce from the defendant, Tracy A. Pruitt.
20. There were no children born during this marriage and none are expected.
21. Each party shall have full ownership, use, control and financial responsibility for all personal property presently in their individual possession free and clear of any claims of the other party. Each party shall execute and deliver to the other any document of title necessary to insure the quiet enjoyment of said property by the other.
22. The plaintiff shall take financial responsibility, and hold defendant, harmless, for debts in plaintiff’s name, for payment of debts which plaintiff incurred after the separation on September 1, 2013 and for those debts owed on any property which plaintiff retains.
23. The defendant shall take financial responsibility and hold plaintiff, harmless, for debts in defendant’s name, for payment of debts which defendant incurred after the separation on September 1, 2013 and for those debts owed on any property which defendant retains.
24. The parties shall execute all necessary documents and conveyances for the purpose of implementing this Decree when and as called upon to do so by the other.
25. The plaintiff’s maiden name of Angela Rae Claborn is restored and she now be known as Angela Rae Claborn.
26. This Court retains jurisdiction of this cause of action for the purpose of enforcing the rights and obligations of the parties under this Decree and for other proper purposes.

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED, that plaintiff, Angela R. Pruitt, be granted an absolute divorce from defendant, Tracy A. Pruitt; the plaintiff’s maiden name of Angela Rae Claborn, be restored and she now be known as Angela Rae Claborn; the bonds of matrimony heretofore existing between plaintiff and defendant should be, and hereby are, canceled, set aside, and forever held for naught, and all matters pertaining thereto shall be as set forth herein.

________________________________
CIRCUIT JUDGE

________________________________
DATE
COURT TESTIMONY

Sample Court Testimony for Angela R. Pruitt:

27. My name is Angela R. Pruitt.

28. My address is 115 Birch St, Centerton, Arkansas, 72719.

29. I have lived in Benton County for more than 90 days.

30. I am married to Tracy A. Pruitt.

31. We married on November 3, 2012.

32. There are no children of the marriage and none are expected.

33. I am seeking a divorce from Tracy A. Pruitt.

34. We separated on September 1, 2013 and have lived separate and apart since that time.

9. The reason that I am asking for divorce is that my spouse has been guilty of such cruel and barbarous treatment as to endanger the life of the Plaintiff..

10. There are no marital property rights or debts to be adjudicated.

Sample Witness Testimony:

35. My name is Kit Claborn.

36. I can verify that the plaintiff, Angela R. Pruitt, has lived in Benton County for more than 90 days.

37. I can verify that she has been separated since September 1, 2013 and has remained separate and apart to the best of my knowledge.

38. I have personally witnessed: (At this point Kit Claborn should list the events that witness has personally seen or heard that would support the plaintiff’s grounds for divorce)

Instructions

Step 1: (Proofread)
Read over these forms and make sure the information you have given is correct and complete. You must write in dates and the Case number in many of these forms. The Court Clerk will provide the Case Number for you. You will need to file your Divorce complaint in the Benton County Courthouse. Write in the appropriate date on the day that you file your forms.

Step 2: (Notarization)
Take the Divorce Complaint form to a notary public BEFORE you sign it. The notary will charge you for notarizing the complaint. The amount varies, but is usually under $10.00. Look in the phone book to locate a notary.

Sign both the Complaint and the Verification Page in front of the notary who will then notarize the Verification Page and give it back to you. A notary cannot notarize a complaint that she did not see you sign. Don’t forget to fill in your address and phone number underneath your signature on the Complaint.

Step 3: (Filing)
Make 3 copies of your Complaint and take the copies and the original to the Benton County Circuit Clerk. The filing fee for the Complaint is $165.00 and must be paid at the time that you file.

If you cannot afford to pay the filing fee, then you can file an In Forma Pauperis (IFP) Petition. The petition, supporting affidavit, and order are at the same website you found this document (www.arlegalservices.org). You must get the In Forma Pauperis Order signed by a judge before you can file the divorce without paying the filing fees. If the IFP Petition is granted, the judge will enter an Order waiving your filing fee.

Ask the clerk to issue a standard Restraining Order when the divorce complaint is filed. A restraining order prevents each party from harassing the other or the children of the parties. Also, it prevents either party from selling or disposing of marital property while the case is pending. Some clerk’s offices do not have a form for this, so a standard mutual restraining order is included in this packet.

Step 4: (Service)
A summons is an order issued by the court to the defendant to answer the complaint within a certain amount of time. After you file a complaint with the court clerk, she will assign a case number to your case and issue a summons. A summons should be issued automatically, but in some counties you must request the summons form. Have an address available where your spouse can be served. You will then have to serve the complaint and summons on the defendant. This can be done in several ways.

Waiver of Service by Defendant
AFTER YOU HAVE FILED THE COMPLAINT and it has been file stamped by the court clerk you must provide a copy of it to your spouse. Your spouse may then agree to waive the service of the Summons and Complaint. If your spouse does agree to waive service then he or she must sign the Entry of Appearance and Waiver of Service of Summons Form that is provided in this packet. This form must also be notarized meaning that your spouse must sign the form in front of notary public.

Once this is done, you may file the Entry of Appearance and Waiver of Service of Summons, but you should file the Complaint first. If the defendant will not voluntarily sign an Entry of Appearance and Waiver of Service of Summons, you will have to use another method to serve the Summons and Complaint on your spouse. If you use the Entry of Appearance and Waiver of Service of Summons Form then you will not use the Affidavit of Service by Mail Form.

Service by Mail
The cheapest method of services is by mail. You will have to send the complaint and summons to your spouse at his or her last known address. You must send it certified mail, restricted delivery, return receipt requested. Only the defendant can sign for the letter. If your spouse does not sign for it or someone else signs for it, you have not gotten proper service. If you use the Affidavit of Service by Mail Form then you will not use the Entry of Appearance and Waiver of Service of Summons Form.

You Must Have Proper Service to Get a Divorce in Arkansas

Step 5: (Setting the Hearing)
After filing the Complaint for Divorce and getting proper service as described above, ask the clerk to issue a Notice of Hearing. Ask the clerk which judge the case is assigned to. Then, take the Notice of Hearing to your assigned judge’s office.

Once in the judge’s office, you will need to speak to your judge’s case coordinator. Ask the case coordinator to set a date and time for your divorce case to be heard by the judge. Ask the clerk if there is a regular scheduled day for pro se divorces (pro se means that you will not have an attorney represent you). The case coordinator will fill in the date and time of the hearing on the Notice of Hearing.

Take the “Notice of Hearing” back to the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office and have it filed-marked. You will then need to send, by regular mail, a copy to the defendant

Step 6: (Preparing for and Attending the Hearing)

Preparing for the Hearing - You will need to find someone who can testify as your witness in court. This person should be eighteen (18) years old or older. This person may be a family member, but should not be a boyfriend or girlfriend. Your witness should have first-hand knowledge of your grounds for divorce and how long you have lived in Arkansas. The witness cannot testify as to what you told her, the witness must personally know about your grounds for divorce. See the “Witness Testimony” section.

Attending the Hearing - When you go to your hearing, you will generally wait in the courtroom until the bailiff calls your case. When your case is called, proceed to the front of the courtroom. Ask the bailiff where you and your witness should sit. The judge or bailiff will direct you to proceed with your case. You and your witness will be sworn in along with the defendant and any witness(s) your spouse brings.

Presenting Testimony - You will get to go first. You and your witness will have to testify according to the court testimony outline in this packet. If you have presented enough evidence to support your grounds and proof of residence, the judge will rule in your favor and grant your divorce. You will need to give the judge a copy of the Divorce Decree from this packet. See the “Court Testimony” section for more information.

Entering the Decree - Once the judge signs the Divorce Decree, you will need to take it and the other two copies to the circuit clerk’s office and file them. You will then be divorced.
CHECKLIST FOR UNCONTESTED DIVORCE WITHOUT CHILDREN

Did you prepare an Entry of Appearance and Waiver of Service of Summons? (if your spouse agreed)

Did you have your spouse sign the Entry of Appearance and Waiver of Service of Summons in front of a notary public? If not, did you have the Complaint, Summons and Restraining Order served on the defendant using the Service by Mail method?

Did you prepare the Complaint for Divorce according to the instructions? Did you sign the Complaint in front of a Notary Public?

If you are not submitting a Petition for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis, do you have the $165 filing fee?

Did you make three (3) extra copies of the Complaint for Divorce to take to the court clerk?

Did the court clerk file stamp all the copies of your Complaint for Divorce?

If your spouse signed the Entry of Appearance and Waiver of Summons did you file it along with the Complaint for Divorce?

After you have gotten service on the defendant, did you file proof of service with the court clerk? Did you attach the return receipt?

Did you call or visit the judge’s case coordinator and request a hearing date, after you filed proof of service with the court clerk?

Do you have a witness who has agreed to go to court with you and corroborate your grounds for divorce and residency?

Did you make copies of the Decree of Divorce for the judge to sign?

Did you review Your Court Testimony for the hearing contained in the Instruction Section for Filing a Pro Se Divorce?

Did you review with your witness his or her testimony contained in the Instruction Section for Filing a Pro Se Divorce?

Copyright © 2007-2012 Arkansas Legal Services Partnership - All Rights Reserved
Visit www.arlegalservices.org & www.arkansasjustice.org for more information.

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