2011 Legislative Preview: HB 1011

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Bill Name: AN ACT TO REQUIRE A PARTY’S SIGNATURE ON A DECREE OF DIVORCE BEFORE THE COURT MAY ENTER THE DECREE OF DIVORCE WHEN THAT PARTY IS REPRESENTED BY COUNSEL

Sponsors: Jon Woods (R-93), 479-200-3100, woodsforarkansas@gmail.com.

Purpose: Creates Ark. Code Ann. 9-12-326, which would require that a divorce decree be signed by a person in a divorce action, even where s/he is represented by an attorney, before the court may enter the decree.  Failure to get such a signature would render the divorce decree unenforceable.

Pros for Average Arkansans:  None?  I mean, I literally can’t think of one.  Of course, I am laboring under the assumption that there are not bands of rogue attorneys out there submitting divorce decrees without their clients’ knowledge.

Cons for Average Arkansans: Let’s see…confusion in thinking that you are divorced when you in fact are not, plus all the attendant problems that could pose down the road if neither party realizes the mistake.  The law also brings the potential for extra costs if a person is forced to go back to court to re-do a divorce that s/he assumed was finalized.

Official BHR Position: Strongly oppose as bad policy.