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Avoiding The Blame Game

Divorce is hard. There is really no other way to say it. Even when both parties are “amicable.” I used the quotes here, because I can’t begin to tell you how many clients have come into my office saying that everything was amicable and it was going to be an easy process only to end with the opposite and both parties to the divorce playing the blame game. It is not uncommon as there are so many important issues to sort out – child support and custody, alimony, division of assets, which can include the family home, and the list goes on. It is easy to lose control of your emotions. In addition to so many life-altering choices, it is not easy coming to terms with the fact that your marriage and the life you have built is over. It’s human nature to want to point your finger at your soon-to-be ex and blame them for the situation. If you want things to stay as amicable as possible, it is best to avoid playing the blame game; no amicable divorce has ever come from it. In fact, it can delay recovering and moving on with this new chapter of your life.

Avoiding the blame game in Arkansas can be difficult as the spouse filing for divorce will have to state a “ground,” or reason, for the divorce. Arkansas recognizes the following fault grounds:

  • Impotence,
  • A felony conviction,
  • Alcohol abuse for at least one year,
  • Cruel treatment that endangers the other spouse’s life,
  • Behavior that results in intolerable humiliation, embarrassment, or shame to the other spouse,
  • Adultery,
  • Incurable insanity, and
  • Willful failure to support the other spouse despite a legal obligation to do so.

The law also requires proof of the fault. The proof must be in the form of reliable evidence that can be submitted to a court. Given the requirement to have a reason for the divorce and needing to provide proof of the fault, you can see how the blame game can suddenly become easy to participate in. To avoid the fault requirement, Arkansas divorce law allows a no-fault divorce based upon separation. The separation rule requires that you and your spouse have lived separately for at least 18 months. The law strictly requires that there must not have been any cohabitation during that time. If there is any evidence of cohabitation or sexual relations between the spouses during the separation period, the 18-month waiting period starts over. Additionally, a divorce based on separation does not need consent. A judge will grant a divorce based on the 18-month separation whether or not both spouses agreed to separate. 

I have handled countless divorces. Some have been an all out war and others have managed to stay amicable. The couples that do manage to keep things civil and not participate in the blame game do the following:

  • They recognize when they are blaming. Awareness is the first and very important step.
  • Each spouse takes ownership for his or her behavior.
  • They understand one another with empathy.

Kevin Hickey Law Partners is here to help you with all your divorce and family law needs. Seeking legal counsel in these matters is a vital and important step in assuring you get the settlement you deserve. Whether your divorce is amicable or far from it, Kevin Hickey Law Partners is here to help you. Our expertise and experience can tackle every divorce situation. Call today to schedule a consultation, 479.434.2414 to schedule in our River Valley office or 479.802.6560 for the Northwest Arkansas office.