While chances are good that you have some familiarity with the divorce process, this understanding might perhaps be limited to more traditional forms of marital dissolution like divorce litigation or uncontested divorce.

While these are certainly two very important legal processes, it’s important to understand that there are other avenues through which couples can elect to end their marriage such as collaborative divorce, divorce mediation and even something known as covenant marriage divorce.

In today’s post, the first in a series, we’ll start exploring the topic of covenant marriage divorce in an attempt to help people understand how it works.

What exactly is covenant marriage?

In general, if a couple elects to enter into a covenant marriage, they must first undergo pre-marital counseling from a clergyman or therapist, and sign a document expressing their understanding that marriage is a lifetime commitment.

However, by taking these steps, the couple is also making it more difficult to split up further down the line, meaning their grounds for separation and divorce become more limited.

How long has Arkansas had covenant marriage?

Arkansas passed the Covenant Marriage Act back in 2001, following Louisiana and Arizona, which passed their own laws in 1997 and 1998, respectively. To date, only these three states have covenant marriage laws on the books.

Is covenant marriage popular in Arkansas?

While the numbers peaked at 318 licenses issued back in 2005 after then-Governor Mike Huckabee expressed his support for the institution by renewing his vows on stage at Verizon Arena, the numbers have declined steadily thereafter, reaching only 149 licenses in 2010.   

Is covenant marriage controversial?

The covenant marriage law has been the subject of significant debate with proponents arguing that it helps limit divorce and protect families, and opponents arguing that it is non-secular, paternalistic and creates unnecessary obstacles to divorce.

We will continue to explore this topic in future posts, including the requirements that must be satisfied to secure a covenant marriage divorce under state law.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding divorce or divorce-related matters, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.