DIVORCE INFORMATION
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    DIVORCE INFORMATION DIVORCE INFORMATION Document Transcript

    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series DIVORCE INFORMATION & SAMPLE FORMS Arkansas Legal Services Partnership Family Law Series PLEASE READ BEFORE USING THIS INFORMATION You should not use these materials if you have not lived in Arkansas for at least 60 days . You should not use these materials if you have children that were born or adopted during the marriage and are under the age of 18 or if you or your spouse is expecting a child. You should not use these materials if you own land or have expensive property that has to be divided between you and your spouse. You should not use these materials if your spouse is in the military. You may not use these materials, if your spouse is planning on contesting or fighting the divorce, You should always speak with a lawyer, if you can, before taking legal action. The Family Law Series is produced by the Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas, Inc., and Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly. These agencies provide free legal services to eligible Arkansans. Additional information can be found at: http://www.arlegalservices.org or call 1-800-9LAW AID. This information is given to you as a guide to help you generally understand the way family law matters are handled. Local courts interpret things differently. The information and statements of law contained in this fact sheet are not intended to be used as legal advice. Before you take any action, talk to an attorney and follow his or her advice. Always do what the court tells you to do. Funding for the Family Law Series is provided in part by the Arkansas Bar Foundation A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 1
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series Table of Contents Instructions for filling out the Divorce Complaint ………………………………………………………..………………………………………. 3 Instructions for filing your Complaint ……………………………………………………………………………………………..…. 5 Instructions for Service ……………………………………………………………………………………………..…. 6 Instructions for Setting & Attending the Hearing ……………………………………………………………………………………………..…. 8 Sample Form: Court Testimony …………………………..……………………………………………………………………10 Sample Form: Divorce Complaint ………………………..………………………………………………………………………11 Sample Form: Restraining Order ………………………………………………………………………………………………..14 Sample Form: Affidavit of Service by Mail …………………………………………………………………………………………..……15 Sample Form: Affidavit for Warning Order …………………………………………………………………………………….………….17 Sample Form: Affidavit of Service by Warning Order ………………………………………………………………………………………………..18 Sample Form: Entry of Appearance & Waiver of Service of Summons ………………………………………………………………………………………………..20 Instructions for Property Settlement ………………………………………………………………………………………………..22 Sample Form: Property Settlement Agreement ………………………………………………………………………………………………..24 Instructions for In Forma Pauperis (waiver of court cost) ………………………………………………………………………………………………..28 Sample Form: Petition for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis ………………………………………………………………………………………………..31 Sample Form: Affidavit in Support of Request to Proceed In Forma Pauperis ………………………………………………………………………………………………..33 Sample Form: Order Granting Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis ………………………………………………………………………………………………..36 Sample Form: Divorce Decree (without Property Settlement Agreement) ………………………………………………………………………………………………..37 Sample Form: Divorce Decree (with Property Settlement Agreement) ………………………………………………………………………………………………..39 Checklist for an Uncontested Divorce without Children ………………………………………………………………………………………………..41 A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 2
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series STEP ONE: PREPARING THE COMPLAINT Things to Know Before You Begin: These instructions correspond to the numbered blanks on the Sample Complaint included on page 11. You may wish to print out the Sample Complaint and place it side-by-side with the instructions as you are reviewing them. Please note the Sample Complaint is only a sample - it is not a “Fill-In-The- Blank.” You will need to retype the Complaint with your information included. You will need to leave out the small numbers in parenthesis under the blanks when you type your own complaint. Instructions for the Complaint: 1. Put the name of the county where you live in the first blank. 2. Put your NAME down as the Plaintiff throughout this document. 3. Leave the line that says “No. _________” blank, it will be filled in by the court clerk. 4. Put your SPOUSE’S name down as Defendant throughout this document. 5. Put the name of the county where you live. 6. Put the county where your spouse is living. If you do not know, then put unknown and give his/her last known residence. For example: “Unknown, last known in Pope County, Arkansas.” 7. Fill in the date of your marriage. Please include month, day, and year. For example, October 1, 1989. 8. Fill in the location of your marriage, include the city, county and state. For example: “Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas. 9. Put the month, day, and year when you and your spouse last lived together or had sexual relations, whichever date is later, as the separation date. If you do not remember the exact date, put the month and year. A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 3
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series 10. List Your Property and Debt Issues 10(a): No Property. If there are no property rights/debt issues to resolve, fill in the word “are no” in the paragraph which deals with property rights. 10(b): Property. If there are property issues to divide, please list all the property rights that the court needs to divide. Property rights can include any assets or debts that were purchased or incurred in the marriage. Assets can include such items as real property (land and buildings, including your home), rights to collect monies from other parties in lawsuits, bank accounts, vehicles, retirement accounts, IRA’s, stocks, bonds, workers compensation cases, personal injury lawsuits, and tax refunds. Use this divorce packet only if you have simple property and debt matters. You should not use this packet if either you or your spouse have retirement accounts or pending litigation. You should consult an attorney, or you may lose your rights to claim a ½ interest in such assets. On the Complaint, list the assets individually giving a description, the name on the property and approximately when the property was obtained. For example, you could have a 1994 Dodge Pickup, titled in the name of John and Jane Doe, purchased on January 3, 1996. 10(c): Debts/Obligations: You must also list under this section, all debts/obligations that you and your spouse owe that need to be divided. This includes debt on any of the assets listed above, credit card debt, medical bills, other loans, judgments that other people have gotten against you, or any other monies that you owe. If you fail to list them so the court can divide them, you could be held solely responsible for a marital debt. All debts should be divided and dealt with in the divorce. USE THE PROPERTY SETTLEMENT PARAGRAPH if you and your spouse have reached an agreement as to the division of property and debts. Property Settlement Instructions and a Sample Agreement are included on page 24. You will eventually attach a copy of the Property Settlement Agreement to the Divorce Decree. A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 4
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series 11. 11. In this section, put the grounds that you are claiming for divorce. Indignities are listed on the form and generally will cover the other grounds, but you can substitute any of the grounds if they fit your situation better and you choose to. 12. 12. Put your maiden name in the complaint if you want to go back to it. If you do not want your maiden name back or are male, then leave this section out. 13. 13. Then take the 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. Finally, 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 he did not see you sign. Don’t forget to fill in your address and phone number underneath your signature on the Complaint. STEP TWO: FILING YOUR COMPLAINT How to File Your Divorce Complaint Copies & Cover Sheets: Make 3 copies of your Complaint and take the copies and the original to the Circuit Clerk in the county where you live. Fill out and attach a cover sheet to each copy and the original complaint. You can get these cover sheets from the clerk or at http://courts.state.ar.us/. Filing Fees: The filing fee for the Complaint is $100.00 and must be paid at the time that you file. If you cannot afford to pay the filing fee, you should file an In Forma Pauperis (IFP) Petition. There are instructions and forms needed to file this Petition included on page 28. If the IFP Petition is granted, the judge will enter an Order waiving your filing fee. Please note that you have to get the In Forma Pauperis Order signed by a judge before you can file the divorce without paying the filing fees. Restraining Order: Ask the clerk to issue a standard Restraining Order when the divorce complaint is filed. A restraining order prevents each party from A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 5
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series harassing the other or the children of the parties. Also, it prevents either party from selling or otherwise disposing of property of the marriage while the case is pending. Some clerk’s offices do not have a form for this, so we have included a standard mutual restraining order on page 14. You will have to get the Restraining Order signed by a judge before it goes into effect. Ask the clerk for directions on how to do this. The restraining order should be served on the defendant along with the complaint and summons STEP THREE: SERVICE OF A SUMMONS, RESTRAINING ORDER & PRO SE COMPLAINT UPON AN INDIVIDUAL 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, he or 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 If the defendant agrees to waive the service of the Summons and Complaint, he or she may do so. However, the defendant must sign an Entry of Appearance and Waiver of Service of Summons. A sample Entry of Appearance and Waiver of Service of Summons is located at page 20. The Defendant’s signature must be verified. This means that he or she must sign the document in front of notary public. Once this is done, you may file the Entry of Appearance and Waiver of Service of Summons along with the Complaint. If the defendant will not voluntarily sign an Entry of Appearance and Waiver of Service of Summons, you will have to use one of the following methods to serve the Summons and Complaint on the defendant. Service by Law Enforcement The most assured way of getting the complaint and summons served is by use of a county sheriff or a process server. Phone numbers for process servers and the sheriff’s office are in the phone book. However, this method may cost up to $50.00, depending on the county you are in. However, there are alternatives to this method, but these alternatives require more work on your part. Please note that if the court has waived your filing fee based on an In Forma Pauperis (IFP) Petition, there may be no cost for requesting the county sheriff to serve the complaint and summons. A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 6
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series Service by Mail One of the least expensive methods of service is by mail. You will have to send the complaint and summons to the defendant at his/her last known address. You must send it certified mail, restricted delivery, return receipt requested. Only the defendant can sign for the letter. If he does not sign it or someone else signs for it, you have not gotten proper service. If all else fails, use service by publication. There are special rules for service when the Defendant is a minor; incarcerated; or a person for whom a guardian has been appointed. If the Defendant does sign for it, then once you get the return receipt (green card) back, you must file the Affidavit of Service by Mail with the court and attach the “green card” to it. A sample of an Affidavit of Service by Mail is on page 15. Service by Publication The law requires that you exercise “due diligence” in trying to locate the defendant. If the service by mail you sent is returned or if you cannot locate the defendant, you may get constructive service on the defendant by publication. You will need to present to the court clerk an affidavit/sworn statement that you have tried to locate the defendant, but were unable to do so. An example of this affidavit is located on page17. On the affidavit, you will need to list all the efforts you made in trying to find the defendant. You will need to file the affidavit with the court clerk. The clerk should then issue a Warning Order. This Warning Order will direct the defendant to enter an appearance within 30 days from the date of the first publication of the order. If the defendant does not file an answer within that time given by the court, he/she may be prevented from answering. How to “Publish” the Warning Order. Publishing can be done by one of two ways: If the court granted you permission to proceed In Forma Pauperis, as discussed earlier, then you may post the Warning Order in the courthouse for a period of thirty (30) days. Ask the court clerk to direct you to the bulletin board they use for postings. If the court did not give you leave to proceed In Forma Pauperis, then you will have to publish the warning order in a newspaper of general circulation weekly for at least two weeks. Once the publication period has run, the newspaper will mail you a “proof of publication” which must be filed with the court. A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 7
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series Whether you post the Warning Order at the courthouse or publish it in the newspaper, you must send a copy of the Complaint and Warning Order to the Defendant at his/her last known address by certified mail, restricted delivery, return receipt requested. When you receive the green card or returned letter, you must prepare and file another affidavit with the clerk that shows you mailed and received back the green card or letter and that publication has been made by either of the two ways listed above. A sample of an Affidavit of Service by Warning Order is located on page 18. Once all the above requirements have been completed, you may ask the court clerk to schedule a hearing date so that you may proceed with the hearing on the merits. STEP FOUR: SETTING THE HEARING 1. After filing the Complaint for Divorce and obtaining service and filing all the proper affidavits 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. 2. 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 non-contested divorces. The case coordinator will fill in the date and time of the hearing on the Notice of Hearing. 3. 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. 7. STEP FIVE: PREPARING FOR AND ATTENDING THE HEARING 1. Preparing for the Hearing. Prior to the hearing you will need to find someone who can testify as your witness. This person should be over eighteen (18) years old. 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 your length of residency. The witness cannot testify as to what you told them, he or she has to personally know about your grounds for themselves. 2. Attending the Hearing. When you go to your hearing, you generally wait in the hall or 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 A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 8
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series 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) he or she brings, if any. 3. Presenting Testimony. You will get to go first. You and your witness will have to testify according to the outline attached on page 10. 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 present him a copy of the divorce decree you have prepared according to the samples on page 37 or page 39. 4. Entering the Decree. Once the judge signs the decree, you will need to take it and several copies to the circuit clerk’s office and file them. You will then be divorced. A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 9
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series COURT TESTIMONY Your Testimony in Court for an Uncontested Divorce: 1. My name is _______________. My address is _________________________. 2. I have lived in _______________ County since ________________, 19___.. 3. I am married to ___________________. We married on ________________. 4. There no children of the marriage and none are expected. (IF THIS IS NOT TRUE, THEN YOU CANNOT USE THIS PACKET. PLEASE CONTACT AN ATTORNEY.) 5. I am seeking a divorce from ______________. We separated on _______________and have lived separate and apart since that time. 6. The reason that I am asking for divorce is that my spouse ________________________, (GIVE REASONS FOR SEPARATION, INCLUDING ANY PHYSICAL OR MENTAL ABUSE, BELITTLING, INSULTING, CURSING, SEEING ANOTHER MAN/WOMAN, ETC. [7. We had no property of the marriage OR We owned the following property: ______________(include all assets). We had no debts OR We have the following debts incurred in the marriage: ____________.] OR [7. We have reached a property settlement agreement, which is on file with the court.] [8. I would like to have my maiden name of ___________ restored to me.] Your Witness Will Testify: 1. My name is _______________ and my address is __________________. 2. I can verify that Plaintiff has lived in __________ County since ________, 19___. 3. I can verify that she has been separated since ________________and has remained separate and apart to the best of my knowledge. 4. I have personally witnessed: _______________________(Witness should list the events that witness has personally seen or heard that would support the plaintiff’s grounds for divorce. A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 10
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF ______________ COUNTY, ARKANSAS (1) DOMESTIC RELATIONS DIVISION __________________ PLAINTIFF (2) v. No. ______________ (3) __________________ DEFENDANT (4) COMPLAINT FOR DIVORCE Comes the Plaintiff, ______________________________, pro se, for his/her (2) Complaint for Divorce filed herein against the Defendant,________________________, (4) respectfully states and alleges: 1. The Plaintiff is a resident of _____________ County, Arkansas and has been (5) for more than sixty (60) days; Defendant is a resident of _______________________. (6) 2. The parties were lawfully married on _____________________________ in (7) ______________________; the parties separated ______________________ and the (8) (9) parties have remained separate and apart since that time. 3. There are no minor children of the marriage and none are expected. 4. There (are / are no) marital property rights or obligations to be adjudicated. (10) (The property rights and or obligations to be adjudicated are:____________________ _________________________________.) (10B & 10C) 5. During the term of the marriage, the Defendant treated the Plaintiff with such (11) indignities as to render Plaintiff’s condition in life intolerable and to entitle him/her to an absolute divorce. A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 11
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series 6. Plaintiff _______________________want(s) to restore her maiden name of (2) ___________________________________________________________________. (12) WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays for an absolute divorce, for her maiden name of ____________________________ to be restored, and for all other relief to which (12) he/she is entitled. Respectfully submitted, ________________________________ (13) PLAINTIFF, Pro Se Address: _________________________ _________________________ Phone: _________________________ A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 12
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series VERIFICATION I, _____________________, Plaintiff, state that the statements contained in the foregoing Complaint are true and correct to my knowledge and belief. _____________________________________ Plaintiff STATE OF ARKANSAS ) ) ss. COUNTY OF __________) On this _____day of ____________, _____________________, personally appeared before me, a Notary Public for the aforesaid state and county, _____________, to me well-known or satisfactorily proven, who stated that the statements in the foregoing Complaint were true and correct to the best of his/her knowledge and belief. SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN TO before me this _____day of ___________, _______. _______________________________ Notary Public My Commission Expires: ___________________ (S E A L) A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 13
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF ______________ COUNTY, ARKANSAS DOMESTIC RELATIONS DIVISION __________________ PLAINTIFF v. No. ______________ __________________ DEFENDANT RESTRAINING ORDER All parties to domestic relations action involving parties listed above are subject to this order from the date of institution of suit or service of summons: The willful violation of this order may result in punishment by fine or imprisonment, or both. 1. Each party is hereby enjoined and restrained from doing, or attempting to do, or threatening to do, any act of injuring, maltreating, vilifying, molesting, or harassing the adverse party or any children of the adverse party. 2. Each party is hereby enjoined and restrained from selling encumbering, contracting to sell, or otherwise dispensing of or removing from the jurisdiction of this court, any of the property belonging to the parties except in the ordinary course of business. 3. The Plaintiff of the domestic relations complaint shall be bound by the terms of this order upon filing of such a complaint. The clerk of this court shall attach a certified copy of this order to the summons issued thereon so that the same shall be served with the summons issued along with a copy of the complaint. The defendant shall be bound by this order when served with summons with certified copy of this order attached thereto. In every instance, the sheriff, or other officer serving such summons shall note in his return thereon the service of a copy of this order and a copy of the complaint. In every such case hereafter filed in which a summons is not served in accordance with above, but in which the defendant enters his appearance waiving summons and service, such defendant shall be furnished a certified copy of this order and thereupon be bound by its terms. In such cases of waiver, the clerk is directed not to accept any such waiver until a certified copy of this order is received and acknowledged by the defendant in question. It is so ordered this _________day of _______________, __________. _________________________________ CIRCUIT JUDGE A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 14
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF ____________ COUNTY, ARKANSAS DOMESTIC RELATIONS DIVISION _________________________ PLAINTIFF VS. CASE NO. ____________________ _________________________ DEFENDANT AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE BY MAIL The undersigned, having been duly sworn, states upon oath and affirmation as follows: 1. That I am the Plaintiff in the above captioned case. 2. That on ____________, I caused a certified letter, restricted delivery to addressee only or his agent, to be mailed to the Defendant, __________________, at his last known address along with a copy of the Summons and Complaint. 3. 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__. ________________________________ Plaintiff A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 15
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series Acknowledgment On this day before the undersigned, a Notary Public, duly qualified and acting in and for the county and state aforesaid personally appeared____________________, known to me or satisfactorily proven, whose name appears as AFFIANT in the foregoing instrument, and stated that he/she had executed the same for the uses and purposes therein stated. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this _________ day of_______, 20__. _________________________________ NOTARY PUBLIC My Commission Expires: ____________________ (S E A L) A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 16
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF ____________ COUNTY, ARKANSAS DOMESTIC RELATIONS DIVISION _________________________ PLAINTIFF VS. CASE NO. ____________________ _________________________ DEFENDANT AFFIDAVIT FOR WARNING ORDER STATE OF ARKANSAS ) )ss: COUNTY OF ________ ) The undersigned Plaintiff, ___________, states that he/she has made diligent inquiry by ___________________________________ (list all the efforts you have made to locate the Defendant) and that it is his/her information and belief that the Defendant, _____________________________, is a nonresident of the State of Arkansas or has no known address so that a summons cannot be served upon Defendant. _____________________________________ Plaintiff Date: ________________________________ Acknowledgment On this day before the undersigned, a Notary Public, duly qualified and acting in and for the county and state aforesaid personally appeared____________________, known to me or satisfactorily proven, whose name appears as AFFIANT in the foregoing instrument, and stated that he/she had executed the same for the uses and purposes therein stated. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this _________ day of_______, 20__. _________________________________ NOTARY PUBLIC My Commission Expires: ____________________ A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 17
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF ____________ COUNTY, ARKANSAS DOMESTIC RELATIONS DIVISION _________________________ PLAINTIFF VS. CASE NO. ____________________ _________________________ DEFENDANT AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE BY WARNING ORDER The undersigned, having been duly sworn, states upon oath and affirmation as follows: 1. That I am the Plaintiff in the above captioned matter. 2. That on ______, I caused a certified letter, restricted delivery to addressee only, to be mailed to the Defendant, _____________________, at his last known address along with copies of the Complaint and Warning Order. 3. That on __________, the letter was returned by the United States Post Office, for the following reason: _________________________________________________. 4. [Publication of the Warning Order began on _________, as indicated by the Proof of Publication attached hereto as Exhibit A. ] or [Defendant was granted leave by the court to proceed In Forma Pauperis and publication was made by conspicuously posting the Warning Order at the court house.] 5. That 30 days have passed since the warning order was first published. IN WITNESS WHERETO, I have set my hand this ____ day of ______, 20__. ________________________________ Plaintiff A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 18
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series Date: ___________________________ Acknowledgment On this day before the undersigned, a Notary Public, duly qualified and acting in and for the county and state aforesaid personally appeared____________________, known to me or satisfactorily proven, whose name appears as AFFIANT in the foregoing instrument, and stated that he/she had executed the same for the uses and purposes therein stated. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this _________ day of_______, 20__. _________________________________ NOTARY PUBLIC My Commission Expires: _____________________ (S E A L) Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 19
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF ______________ COUNTY, ARKANSAS DOMESTIC RELATIONS DIVISION ______________________________ PLAINTIFF VS. NO. ____________________ ______________________________ DEFENDANT ENTRY OF APPEARANCE AND WAIVER OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS The Defendant hereby enters his/her appearance in this court and states under oath the following: 1. I hereby waive service of summons upon me in the above styled court and cause and the time in which to answer. I acknowledge that I have received a copy of the complaint filed herein. 2. 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. 3. I am not a member of the Armed Services of the United States. 4. This cause may be submitted to the court for hearing at any time or place, and the proceedings shall have the same force and effect as if done at a regular day of court. 5. I understand that the Circuit Court of _________________, 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. A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 20
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series WITNESS my hand this _________ day of _________________, 20___. _________________________________ DEFENDANT VERIFICATION I, _____________________, Defendant, state that the statements contained in the foregoing Entry of Appearance and Waiver of Service of Summons are true and correct to my knowledge and belief. _____________________________________ Defendant STATE OF ARKANSAS ) ) ss. COUNTY OF _________) On this _____day of ____________, 20__, _____________________, personally appeared before me, a Notary Public for the aforesaid state and county, _____________, to me well-known or satisfactorily proven, who stated that the statements in the foregoing Complaint were true and correct to the best of his/her knowledge and belief. SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN TO before me this ___day of _________, ______. _______________________________ Notary Public My Commission Expires: ___________________ (S E A L) A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 21
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series Property Settlement Instructions Please note that if you have a lot of property or have property such as retirement accounts or you have pending or settled litigation, you should not use this divorce packet. Consult with an attorney. If you and your spouse come to an agreement on how you want your property and debts divided, then you can file the property settlement agreement with the court. This helps to assure that you will have input into how the property and debts are divided. If you do not come to an agreement, then the judge will make the divisions listed in the property settlement agreement. Generally, the judge will go along with property and debt divisions that you and your spouse have agreed to, unless the judge believes that it would be unfair to one party. The judge can always overrule what you have agreed on. It is best to divide the property and debts equally or be able to explain why it is fair for one of you to get more than the other. Also, make sure and list every piece of property and every debt that you and your spouse have. This includes both real property such as land and houses, and personal property such as cars and televisions. If you don’t divide them here you could be held responsible for debts and lose interest in property. Use as much space as you need for your list. Many arguments have occurred in court over who will get the sheets. For example, you might list “Bedding” to be divided 50/50 except John’s grandmother’s quilt, which will go to John. If you are confused or need further advice on how to divide your property and debts, go to an attorney for help. These are very important issues in your divorce and they will affect what you have left and what you will have to pay. How to fill out the Property Settlement Agreement 1. Fill in the county name, plaintiff and defendant name, and number exactly as they appear on your original complaint. 2. Fill in your and your spouse’s names in the spaces that are appropriate and give the date of your marriage in the next paragraph. A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 22
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series 3. Next, fill in who filed the complaint for divorce and in what county it was filed. This should be the same person listed as Plaintiff above. The county should generally be the same as above, also. 4. Next, in the Property Settlement section, list each item of property and who gets it. Also list each debt including who you owe, type of debt [example: credit card] and how much you owe for that debt. Then, list who is to be responsible for paying that debt. Add as many sections as necessary to completely describe property and debts. If you don’t divide them here you could be held responsible for debts and lose interest in property. 5. Read over each section of this agreement thoroughly again. Make sure that you are willing to agree to each and every part of it. If you and your spouse are both in agreement to the terms, then you both need to take the agreement to a notary public and sign it in front the notary public. Then have the notary to sign it and notarize it. This generally will cost you around $10.00. 6. After you have the agreement notarized, then take it to the clerk’s office where you filed your divorce and file it. You should take at least one copy of the Property Settlement Agreement to court with you. A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 23
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COUNTY, ARKANSAS DOMESTIC RELATIONS DIVISION PLAINTIFF V. NO.______________ _______________________ DEFENDANT PROPERTY SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT This agreement is made between ____________________ , hereinafter referred to as “Wife;” and ______________________ hereinafter referred to as “Husband.” Witnesseth: WHEREAS, the parties are husband and wife, having been married on , ___, _____ (Month, Day, Year); WHEREAS, irreconcilable differences have arisen between the parties as a result of which a Complaint for Divorce has been filed by in the Circuit Court of _____________ County, Arkansas, and the parties wish to enter into an agreement settling the issues arising out of this litigation in order to avoid the expense and hardship thereof; and WHEREAS, the parties have reached an equitable settlement of these matters, which shall be submitted to the court to be incorporated into the final Decree of Divorce, subject to the court’s approval; NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the premises and mutual covenants and undertaking set forth herein, the parties agree as follows: A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 24
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series 1. PROPERTY SETTLEMENT During the course of this marriage, the parties acquired various items of real and personal property and debts, and such items and debts are disposed of as follows:(List each item of property and who gets it here. Also list each debt including who you owe type of debt [example: credit card] and how much you owe. Then list who is to be responsible for paying that debt. Add as many sections as necessary to completely describe property and debts. If you don’t divide them here you could be held responsible for the debts and lose any ownership interest in the property) 2. Property 1. 2. 3. Debts 1. 2. 2. RELEASE OF RIGHTS Each of the parties does hereby release the other of and from any claims, demands, dues, debts, rights, causes of action, right of dower, courtesy or homestead, excepting any possible cause of action for divorce which either party might have against the other, and accepts only such claims, demands, dues, debts or rights, or causes of action, as are provided for in this agreement. A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 25
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series 3. CONSENT TO TERMS Both parties expressly certify that they have entered into this agreement freely, voluntarily, and upon full and mature consideration. Consent to the execution of this agreement has not been obtained by coercion, duress, fraud or undue influence on the part of any person. Both parties further certify that they have either been represented by an attorney or have been advised to seek legal advice and counsel regarding this agreement, and that they understand and consent to the provisions of this agreement. 4. FINAL SETTLEMENT It is understood and agreed that this agreement is a complete and final settlement of all property rights and claims between the parties growing out of their marriage and each party accepts the same in full and final satisfaction of all such claims. This agreement is entered into in contemplation of a final Decree of Divorce being granted by a court of competent jurisdiction, and if the divorce does not become final and if the same should be dismissed prior to the entry of the final Decree of Divorce, then, and in that event, this agreement shall be null and void and of no force or effect. WITNESS OUR HANDS, ON THE DATES INDICATED. _____________________________________ HUSBAND DATE: ___________________ _____________________________________ WIFE DATE: ___________________ A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 26
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series ACKNOWLEDGMENT STATE OF ARKANSAS ) ) ss: COUNTY OF ) I, a Notary Public, within and for the County and State aforesaid, do certify that on this day came before me, and _________________ to me well known whose names are signed to the foregoing agreement and so acknowledged their signatures on said agreement and that said and ___________________ entered into said agreement of their own free wills and volition without force or duress by any party. Given my hand and seal this day of _________, 20__. _______________________________ NOTARY PUBLIC My commission expires: ____________________ (SEAL) A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 27
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series CAN’T AFFORD THE FILING COSTS? Information on In Forma Pauperis In Forma Pauperis (IFP) is a Latin term that means “in the form of a pauper.” The IFP Petition is used when a party cannot afford to proceed with a civil cause of action because of the fees, costs, or security required. If you plan on filing a civil lawsuit (such as a divorce) and you feel that you cannot financially afford to pay the court costs, you must first complete and file a Petition for In Forma Pauperis with the Circuit Clerk of the county where you will be filing for divorce in order to get the costs waived. Generally, a court will base a party’s ability to pay on what he owns and how much money he makes. To get a court to waive the costs, you must file: 1) A Petition for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (IFP) and 2) An Affidavit of Means for In Forma Pauperis. Samples of the Petition and Affidavit are located at page 31. For the affidavit, you must answer each question honestly and completely. Failing to answer either honestly or completely can result in your IFP Petition being denied and could result in criminal perjury charges being filed against you. How to Fill Out the Petition for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis: 1. Fill in the county name, plaintiff and defendant name, and number exactly as they appear on your Complaint. 2. In Paragraph Two, list all the sources of income you have and how much you get from each source. 3. You will need to fill out the Affidavit in Support of Request to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. Instructions follow. 4. Attach the Affidavit in Support to your IFP Petition. 5. Do not sign the IFP Petition until you are in front of a Notary Public. A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 28
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series How to Fill Out the Affidavit of Financial Means: 1. Fill in the county name, plaintiff and defendant name, and number exactly as they appear on your Complaint. 2. Paragraph One: Not Employed: If you are not currently employed, put “NO” in the space that asks that question. Then fill in Subparagraph (B) stating when you were last employed and how much you made there in the space provided. Employed: If you are employed, put “YES” and then give the name of your employer, the address of your employer, how much you make before taxes each pay period, and how often you get paid in subparagraph (A). For example, Employed at XYZ Corp., 2333 Industrial Drive, Little Rock, AR. Make 250.00 per week before taxes. Other Sources of Income: Next fill in the information in subparagraph (C) - (H) on money that you have received in the past 12 months. Again, it is important to be honest when answering these questions. If you have received money from any of the sources, then you need to give the name of the source and how much money that you received. For example, if you cashed in some stock you would put $1200.00 from XYZ Corp. Stock. 3. Paragraph Two: Fill in the amount of cash that you have on hand, in any checking account that has your name on it, and any savings account that has your name on it - Even if you are not the primary user of the account. So if your name is on your mother’s checking account or your child’s savings account you must list those accounts. You can note whose account it is when you list the amount in this paragraph. 4. Paragraph Three: List any property that you own. Included everything but ordinary household furnishings and clothing. “Other valuable property” can mean things such as livestock, extraordinary jewelry, guns, or anything else of value and should be listed. “Notes” are debts that people owe you. 5. Paragraph Four: List the people who count on you for support. When determining who is dependent upon you for support you should look at how much of a person’s needs that you provide. Examples of dependents include children who live with you A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 29
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series or who you pay child support for, a spouse, elderly parents who live with you or who you pay bills for, and brothers or sisters who because of disability or age you support. For each of the people you support, you must tell give your relationship to them, for example “my mother”, and list how much support you provide them. 6. Do not sign the Affidavit until you are in front of a Notary Public. Once you are in front of a Notary Public, sign both the IFP Petition and the Affidavit and have the Notary Public notarize both documents. Attach a copy of the Complaint to the Petition and Affidavit. 7. Prepare an Order Granting Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. A sample order is located on page 36. 8. You should then take the Petition, Affidavit, Complaint and Order to the office of a judge where you intend to file the Complaint. You may have to leave the Petition packet with the judge’s case coordinator to review. 9. If the Judge grants the IFP Petition and signs your Order, you then file the IFP Petition, Affidavit, and Order with the court clerk. Once all of this has been filed with the court clerk, you may proceed in filing your for Divorce. 10. If the Judge does not grant the Petition, you will need to wait to file your Complaint for Divorce until you have acquired the total amount of the filing fee. A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 30
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF__________________COUNTY, ARKANSAS DOMESTIC RELATIONS DIVISION ___________________________ PLAINTIFF VS. NO._________________ ___________________________ DEFENDANT PETITION FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS Comes now_____________________, plaintiff, who hereby petitions the court for leave to proceed In Forma Pauperis does allege and states: 1. That plaintiff, a resident of the State of Arkansas, has prepared and desires to file with this Court a Complaint for Divorce. 2. That plaintiff’s only income is: ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ 3. That plaintiff’s income barely suffices to meet the costs of daily essentials of life and includes no allotment that could be budgeted to pay for court fees and costs incident to this proceeding. 4. That plaintiff has no other income in addition to that described above and no means of paying such costs without being reduced to total impoverishment. An Affidavit in Support of Request to Proceed In Forma Pauperis is attached as Exhibit “A”. 5. Plaintiff believes that he/she is entitled to the relief requested in the accompanying complaint and that such action is not brought for a frivolous or malicious purpose. A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 31
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series WHEREFORE, plaintiff prays that the court enter an order allowing the plaintiff to prosecute this action in form pauperis and that the plaintiff may have the necessary writs and processes without payment of fees or costs for the same. Respectfully submitted, _________________________ PLAINTIFF Address: __________________ _________________________ Acknowledgment On this day before the undersigned, a Notary Public, duly qualified and acting in and for the county and state aforesaid personally appeared____________________, known to me or satisfactorily proven, whose name appears as AFFIANT in the foregoing instrument, and stated that he/she had executed the same for the uses and purposes therein stated. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this _________ day of_______, 20__. ________________________________ NOTARY PUBLIC My Commission Expires: ______________________ (SEAL) A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 32
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF__________________COUNTY, ARKANSAS DOMESTIC RELATIONS DIVISION ___________________________ PLAINTIFF VS. NO.___________________ ___________________________ DEFENDANT AFFIDAVIT IN SUPPORT OF REQUEST TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS I, ________________________, being first duly sworn, depose and say that I am the plaintiff in the above entitled cause; that in support of my petition to proceed without being required to prepay fees, costs or to pay the costs of said proceeding or to give security therefore; that I believe I am entitled to redress. I further swear that the responses, which I have made to questions and instructions below, are true: 11. Are you presently employed? _________________________________________________ (A) If the answer is yes, state the amount of your salary or wages per month, and give the name and address of your employer. _______________________________________________________ (B) If the answer is no, state the date of last employment and the amount of the salary and wages per month which you received. ________________________________________________________ (C) Have you received within the past twelve (12) months any money from A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 33
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series any of the following sources? If the answer to any of the following is yes, describe each source of money and state the amount received from each during the past twelve (12) months. a. Business, profession or any form of self-employment? _____________________________________ b. Rent payments, interest or dividends? _____________________________________ c. Pensions, annuities or life insurance payments? ______________________________________ d. Gifts or inheritances? ______________________________________ e. Any other sources? _______________________________________ 2. Do you own any cash, or do you have money in a checking or savings account? If the answer is yes, state the total amount in each account. _________________________________________ 3. Do you own any real estate, stocks, bonds, notes, automobiles, or other valuable property (excluding ordinary household furnishings and clothing)? If the answer is yes, describe the property and states its approximate value. __________________________________________ __________________________________________ 4. List the people who are dependent upon you for support, state your A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 34
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series relationship to those persons, and indicate how much you contribute toward their support. _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ I understand that a false statement or answer to any questions in this affidavit will subject me to penalties of perjury. ____________________________________ PLAINTIFF ACKNOWLEDGMENT STATE OF ARKANSAS ) )SS COUNTY OF __________ ) Plaintiff, ______________________, being first duly sworn under oath, states that he/she has read and subscribed to the above and affirms that the information contained therein is true and correct of his/her own knowledge, information and belief. SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN to before me this ________ day of ________________, 20__. My Commission Expires: ____________________ ________________________ (SEAL) NOTARY PUBLIC A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 35
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF__________________COUNTY, ARKANSAS DOMESTIC RELATIONS DIVISION ___________________________ PLAINTIFF VS. NO._________________ ___________________________ DEFENDANT ORDER GRANTING LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS On this day comes on to be heard the petition of ___________________, that ___________________ be permitted to prosecute the above action in forma pauperis. The Court being satisfied of the truth of the facts alleged and good cause appearing thereto, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED: 1. That ________________ be authorized and permitted to prosecute the above- captioned action against ____________________, in forma pauperis. 2. That the Clerk of the Court shall receive and file any necessary forms or pleadings incident to petitioner’s action without requiring the payment of fees or costs. 3. That the sheriffs of the counties of the State of Arkansas shall serve writs or processes incident to petitioner’s action without requiring the payment of fees or costs. 4. That no other officer shall require of the petitioner any fee or cost incident to this action. __________________________ JUDGE __________________________ DATE A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 36
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series (USE THIS DECREE WHEN NO PROPERTY SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT IS USED) IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF __________________ COUNTY, ARKANSAS __________________ PLAINTIFF VS. NO.__________________ __________________ DEFENDANT DECREE OF DIVORCE ON THIS DATE, the plaintiff, _____________, appears Pro Se, the defendant, _______________, having been properly served, appears not. This matter having been submitted to the Court upon the Complaint for Divorce, and from the testimony of the plaintiff and his/her witness, ______________________, and other evidence before the Court, the Court DOTH FIND AND ORDER: 1. That this Court has jurisdiction of the parties and subject matter of this cause of action. 2. That the plaintiff, __________________, has substantiated the allegations of his/her Complaint by a preponderance of the evidence and that the plaintiff is entitled to an absolute divorce from the defendant, __________________. 3. That there were no children born during this marriage and none are expected. 4. That the 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. 5. That the plaintiff, __________________, shall take financial responsibility, A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 37
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series and hold defendant, __________________, harmless, for debts in his/her name, for payment of debts which he/she incurred after the separation on __________________ and for those debts owed on any property which he/she retains. 6. That the defendant, __________________, shall take financial responsibility and hold plaintiff, __________________, harmless, for debts in his/her name, for payment of debts which he/she incurred after the separation on __________________ and for those debts owed on any property which he/she retains. 7. That both 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. IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED, that plaintiff, __________________, be granted an absolute divorce from defendant, __________________; that the parties be restored to all rights and privileges of a single and unmarried person; that the property and debt shall be divided as set out above; and the 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. _____________________________________ CIRCUIT JUDGE DATE: _______________________________ A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 38
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series (USE THIS DECREE WHEN PROPERTY SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT IS USED) IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF __________________ COUNTY, ARKANSAS __________________ PLAINTIFF VS. NO.__________________ __________________ DEFENDANT DECREE OF DIVORCE ON THIS DATE, the plaintiff, _____________, appears Pro Se, the defendant, _______________, having been properly served, appears not. This matter having been submitted to the Court upon the Complaint for Divorce, and from the testimony of the plaintiff and his/her witness, ______________________, and other evidence before the Court, the Court DOTH FIND AND ORDER: 1. That this Court has jurisdiction of the parties and subject matter of this cause of action. 2. That the plaintiff, __________________, has substantiated the allegations of his/her Complaint by a preponderance of the evidence and that the plaintiff is entitled to an absolute divorce from the defendant, __________________. 3. That there were no children born during this marriage and none are expected. 4. That the parties have entered into a Property Settlement Agreement on ____ attached to this Decree, which Property Settlement Agreement has been reviewed and approved by the Court and the same is ordered incorporated herein by reference. 5. That both parties shall execute all necessary documents and conveyances for the purpose of implementing this Decree and the incorporated Property Settlement Agreement when and as called upon to do so by the other. A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 39
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED, that plaintiff, __________________, be granted an absolute divorce from defendant, __________________; that the parties be restored to all rights and privileges of a single and unmarried person; that the property and debt shall be divided as set forth in the attached and incorporated Property Settlement Agreement; that the parties are ordered to comply with all the terms and provisions of the incorporated Property Settlement Agreement; and the 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. _____________________________________ CIRCUIT JUDGE DATE: _______________________________ A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 40
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series CHECKLIST FOR AN UNCONTESTED DIVORCE WITHOUT CHILDREN The following is a checklist for you to use when preparing for your Uncontested Divorce without Children. PRELIMINARY MATTERS: Did you prepare an Entry of Appearance and Waiver of Service of Summons? o Did you have your spouse sign the Entry of Appearance and Waiver of Service of Summons in front of a notary public? If not, you will have to have your spouse served according to one of the methods listed in the attached packet If you have property or debt issues, did you reach and enter into a Property Settlement Agreement? o Did both of you sign the Property Settlement Agreement in front of a notary public? Did you prepare the Complaint for Divorce according to the instructions? o Did you sign the Complaint in front of a Notary Public? o Did you remember to prepare a Restraining Order for the Judge to sign? IN FORMA PAUPERIS PETITION: If you are submitting a Petition for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis asking the Judge to waive your filing fee, did you: o Prepare the Petition for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis? o Prepare the Affidavit in Support of Petition for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis? o Sign the Petition and Affidavit in Support of the Petition for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis in front of a notary public? o Prepare the Order Granting Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis for the Judge to sign? FILING OF THE SUMMONS & COMPLAINT: If you are not submitting a Petition for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis, do you have the $100 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? A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 41
    • March 2004 ALSP Family Law Series SERVING THE COMPLAINT AND SUMMONS: If you did not have your spouse sign an Entry of Appearance and Waiver of Summons, did you have the Complaint, Summons and Restraining Order served on the Defendant according to one of the methods listed in the handout? After you have gotten service on the Defendant, did you, or your process server, file proof of service with the court clerk? PREPARING FOR THE HEARING: Did you call 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 prepare a Decree of Divorce for the judge to sign? Did you review Your Testimony For An Uncontested 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? A Collaboration of Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Legal Aid of Arkansas & Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly 1-800-9 LAW AID or www.arlegalservices.org 42