When couples seek out divorce, one of the most important concerns they bring to the process is how much each of them will get when everything is said and done. Different states have different rules when it comes to property division, with some states using an approach called community property and other states using an approach called equitable division.
Community property states are in the minority, and generally are characterized by an approach which splits marital assets equally between both parties. Arkansas is among the states using the equitable division approach, which is characterized by division of marital assets in a way that is deemed fair to each party.
Fairness in property division is a function of various factors, and Arkansas law includes among these factors: the length of the marriage, the occupation, vocational skills and employability of the parties; the contributions made by each party in acquiring, preserving and appreciating marital property; and the age and health of the parties. Judges have a significant degree of discretion in taking these factors into account.
In terms of what actually qualifies as marital property, it is generally all property acquired by either party after the marriage begins, except for certain categories of property, such as property gifts to one spouse, inheritance intended for one spouse, property excluded by a premarital agreement, and benefits from certain legal claims.
It goes without saying that it is important for divorcing parties to always work with an experienced attorney to ensure that their rights and interests receive appropriate advocacy throughout the process.