The Covenant Marriage Act of 2001 & Frequently Asked Questions regarding Marriage and Divorce under the Act
Q. How do I file for Divorce if I was married under the Covenant Marriage Act?
A. You would still file under the regular divorce statute, A.C.A. 9-12-301 (a) as the Court’s authority to dissolve the Covenant Marriage, however, the grounds for divorce are not the same as they are for people not married under the act. The grounds for divorce or separation for people married under the Covenant Marriage Act are codified in A.C. A. 9-11-808.
Q. How do I know if I am married under the Covenant Marriage Act?
A. People who are married under the act have to go through premarital counseling as set forth in A.C.A. 9-11-802 and also have to sign a declaration of intent as set forth in A.C.A. 9-11-804. Additionally, the parties’ marriage license will indicate whether the parties were married under the Covenant Marriage Act.
Q. Can I still get a Divorce on Grounds of general Indignities?
A. No. General indignities is not grounds for divorce under the Covenant Marriage Act; general indignities is grounds for judicial separation only.
Q. Does it take longer to get a divorce if you are married under the Covenant Marriage Act?
A. It can take longer depending on your grounds for divorce. If you have grounds as set forth in A.C.A. 9-11-808 you can get the divorce in the same amount of time as it takes for a divorce under the regular divorce statute.
If your grounds for divorce are based on separation, the separation time is longer. Under the regular divorce statute one of the grounds for divorce is 18 months of separation without cohabitation.
Under the Covenant Marriage Act, to get a divorce based on separation, the parties have to be separated for a period of 2 years, or 2 years after the date of judicial separation, or 2 ½ years if the parties have children together
Q. Do the parties have to get counseling before they can get a divorce?
A. Yes. This is an absolute requirement for the court to grant a divorce decree. Additionally, for parties married under the Covenant Marriage Act who are seeking a divorce, the petition must state that the marriage being dissolved is a covenant marriage, and the final decree must have a finding by the Court that the marriage being dissolved is a covenant marriage.