Divorce In Louisiana

Divorce In Louisiana | How to Get a Divorce & Process (Guide) 2024

It is common to feel overwhelmed during the divorce process. When a marriage ends, you have to deal with the emotional and practical upheavals that result while attempting to understand a legal system that is probably entirely unfamiliar to you. Then there are the persistent financial concerns that are virtually always present.

Getting a divorce in Louisiana is equivalent to getting one in most other states, despite the fact that the law in the Bayou State is virtually always at least slightly different from that of most other states (as it has its roots in French Napoleonic law, rather than in British law like in the other states).  Any married couple who files for divorce will be able to divide their assets and debts as well as end their marital partnership. 

The topic of alimony may also come up if they were married for an extended period of time, and one of them would need help after the divorce in Louisiana because they are both unable to sustain themselves. Child custody, visitation, and support concerns must be settled if there are minor children.

How to File for Divorce in Louisiana

Uncontested divorce and contentious divorce are generally the two sorts. When the parties to the divorce concur on all issues, including property distribution, child custody, and alimony, the divorce is deemed to be uncontested (spousal support). On the other hand, a disputed divorce is one in which the parties must approach a court to resolve the issues in their divorce because they disagree on at least one point.

Given that there is no arguing in court, uncontested divorces in Louisiana typically resolve more quickly and cost less than contentious divorces. The judge must only consider, authorize, and issue a divorce decision after reviewing and approving the marriage settlement agreement between the parties.

Parents Name
Wages & Income
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In Louisiana, the divorce filing procedures are the same whether the divorce is uncontested or contentious. You must submit a divorce petition to the parish where you or your spouse resides in order to begin the divorce process. As an alternative, you may file in the parish where you last resided together as a married couple. 

Visit the Louisiana State Bar’s self-help page and type your parish’s name into the “Select a Parish” box at the bottom of the page to locate your neighborhood court. To ensure you are filing in the correct court, check with the court clerk.

When the required separation period has passed, you must additionally file a Rule to Show Cause if you filed for divorce in Louisiana under Article 102. The divorce petition has been served on the non-filing spouse, the required separation time has passed, and the spouses have consistently lived separate and apart during the separation time, according to the Rule to Show Cause, which informs the court of these facts.

Once the Rule to Show Cause is submitted, the non-filing spouse may reply and “show cause” (provide justification) for why the divorce shouldn’t be granted (if applicable). Other aspects of the divorce, such as spousal support, child support, and child custody, may also be the subject of motions filed by the non-filing spouse.

Residency Requirements for Divorce in Louisiana

You or your spouse must be domiciled in Louisiana, which means Louisiana is your principal state of residence, in order to petition for divorce in Louisiana. You are only allowed to have one domicile state, even if you temporarily dwell in many states.

Generally speaking, your domicile is the state from which you obtain your driver’s license, register your vehicle, register to vote, and file your taxes. The parish where you or your spouse currently reside or where you last lived together is where you should submit your case to the Judicial District Court.

Covenant Marriage

In Louisiana, a covenant marriage is one that is entered into when a man and a woman realize and agree that their union is a lifelong commitment. Counseling has been provided to the parties in a covenant marriage, with a focus on the nature, goals, and obligations of marriage.

The non-breaching partner may only request that the marriage be declared to be no longer valid if there has been a complete and utter violation of the marital covenant commitment.

A man and woman can get married in a covenant by signing a Declaration of Intent to Get Married in a Covenant and stating their intention to do so on their marriage license application. To obtain a marriage license, you must file an application and declaration with the relevant authority.

All the laws that apply to married couples generally, as well as the specific covenant marriage laws, apply to spouses in a covenant marriage.

Unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise, spouses must live together. By mutual agreement, the spouses choose the family’s residence based on their needs and the needs of the family.

The Grounds for Divorce in Louisiana

Both “fault-based” and “no-fault” divorces are legal in Louisiana. In a no-fault divorce, neither spouse is required to show that the other’s bad behavior was the reason for the split. In a fault-based divorce, one or both spouses must prove that the other’s acts contributed to the breakdown of the marriage (were the “grounds for” the divorce).

No-Fault Grounds for Divorce in Louisiana

There are two types of divorce: fault-based and no-fault.

A no-fault divorce is one in which the spouse filing the divorce does not have to establish any blame on the part of the other spouse. These types of divorces necessitate the separation mentioned above periods and are typically the result of the breakup of the marriage or “irreconcilable disagreements.”

Unless they can demonstrate reconciliation or the separation delays have not yet expired, spouses are not entitled to oppose no-fault divorce procedures because doing so would only strengthen the argument of irreconcilable differences.

Contrary to no-fault divorces, fault-based divorces are less frequent. In such situations, the filing spouse is required to establish the other spouse’s guilt. Adultery, abuse, or imprisonment are examples of this defect. Because the spouse requesting the divorce will need to present a lot of proof, fault-based divorces are harder to organize.

The categories of divorce are defined by law. Civil Code of Louisiana Articles 102 and 103

Article 102

When you and your spouse choose this no-fault divorce option, you must:

  • Before a divorce can be officially declared final, the parties must live separately for 180 days (or 365 days if you have small children).
  • It enables you to file ahead of the beginning of the delay and then finish following the conclusion of your separation time.

Article 103

Before you can originally petition for divorce on no-fault grounds under this type of divorce, you and your spouse must have already been living apart and separated for 180 days (365 days if you have young children).

Additionally, the grounds for a fault-based divorce are listed in this article as follows:

  • The other spouse has been unfaithful.
  • The other spouse committed a crime that carries a death sentence or a sentence of hard labor.
  • Regardless of whether they are being prosecuted for such crimes, the other spouse physically or sexually abused the other spouse or child.
  • To safeguard the other spouse or minor kid during the divorce process, a protective order was granted against them.

Fault-Based Grounds for Divorce in Louisiana

When filing for a fault-based divorce in Louisiana, either one or both spouses must provide the judge with evidence that the other spouse engaged in conduct that satisfied one of the state’s fault-based grounds for divorce. A Louisiana fault-based divorce may be requested for any of the following reasons:

  • The other partner had an extramarital affair.
  • The other spouse has committed a crime and has been given death or hard labor jail sentence.
  • Regardless of whether the other spouse was punished for the abuse, one of the spouses or a child of one of the spouses was subjected to physical or sexual abuse by the other during the marriage.
  • A protective order or an injunction was imposed against the other spouse after a contested hearing or consent decree to stop the abuse of the spouse seeking the divorce or a child of one of the marriages.

Divorce Mediation in Louisiana

Consider divorce mediation if you and your spouse disagree on the divorce’s issues but believe you might be able to work together to resolve them. A “mediator” who is an impartial third party who assists you and your spouse in resolving your differences will meet with you during the divorce mediation process.

In comparison to a courtroom battle, divorce mediation is frequently significantly less expensive and confrontational. If you can have an internet connection, you might even be able to meditate online, allowing you to take part from anywhere. Your ability to file for an uncontested divorce may be dependent on how well your mediation goes.

Documents you need to file for divorce.

You must complete the following forms for an Article 102 divorce in Louisiana in order to file for divorce:

  • Petition for Divorce
  • Verification of the pleading
  • Rule to Show Cause Why Divorce Should not be Granted
  • Affidavit of Living Separate and Apart
  • Judgment 

Identical paperwork will be required in an Article 103 divorce based on separation. But if you decide to divorce for reasons of blame. Regarding the verification of your allegations, more information will be required.

“Petitioner” and “respondent” are terms used to describe the spouse who filed the divorce and the other spouse. These documents spell out the petitioner’s justification(s) for seeking a divorce and establish its legality in the court system.

Make sure you submit the paperwork to the appropriate courthouse, or you run the danger of having your divorce declared invalid. The trial court in Louisiana is split up into various districts, each of which includes a number of parishes. To make sure your paperwork is sent to the correct parish office, work with a divorce lawyer.

Each completed form should be duplicated. One copy will be served to your spouse, and you will keep one. The courthouse should receive the originals.

Serving Divorce Papers

You must serve your spouse with the documents as soon as your petition for divorce is filed. Delivering the papers to your spouse is referred to as “serving,” and it ensures that they are aware of the petition. They now have a chance to react to the petition, contest a divorce petition when one party is at fault, and appear in any court proceedings.

You will serve these documents to your spouse’s home address if they are acting pro se (without counsel). The documents can be served to their lawyer’s office if they are represented by one.

For the divorce to be served in accordance with Louisiana law, your spouse must get the papers in one of the following ways:

Service can be made to the lawyer’s office or the Civil Sheriff’s Office in your spouse’s parish of residence.

Suppose your spouse lives out of state by certified mail to their residence with a return receipt. As evidence of service, you can submit the receipt to the court as soon as you get it.

Employ a process server to find your spouse and deliver the petition personally. A court order and approval are needed for them to an affidavit that your spouse received the paperwork.

Your spouse can accept the papers personally if you have them signed on a waiver of service, which must also be submitted to the court.

Discuss options for serving the documents with your divorce lawyer if your spouse is incarcerated, serving in the military, or cannot be located.

Mandatory Waiting Periods for Divorce in Louisiana

Before the divorce is officially finalized by the court, some states demand that spouses wait a certain amount of time after filing for divorce. If you apply for a divorce under Louisiana’s Article 102 (described above) and you have young children, you must maintain a separate residence from your spouse for 365 days following the service of the divorce papers before the court can grant your divorce. 180 days must pass after the divorce papers have been delivered if you don’t have children, during which time you must live apart.

A divorce petition filed under Article 103 is not subject to a waiting period.

Divorce Filing Fees in Louisiana

You must submit the proper documentation and court filing costs in order to start your divorce. The filing costs vary from parish to parish; therefore, verify with the clerk of the court where you will file for the precise costs. For instance, divorce filing costs in Jefferson Parish might range from $400 to $600, depending on how complicated the case is.

If you file an affidavit with the court to proceed in forma pauperis, you can ask the judge to waive the filing fees if you are unable to pay them (IFP). If the court agrees to your request, you are able to postpone paying your fees until the case is over.

Property Division

Either spouse may ask for injunctive relief, the right to use and occupy the family residence, the right to use communal movables or immovables, or the right to use the personal property during a divorce action or later.

Community property is legal in Louisiana. Except in cases where a settlement is reached between the parties without a court order, all community property shall be divided equally between the spouses. The following are examples of community property:

  • Property gained within the legal regime through the work, talent, or industry of either spouse;
  • property acquired by the use of communal resources, or communal resources and separate resources, unless otherwise designated as separate property;
  • A gift of property made to both spouses;
  • Fruits of common property that are civil and natural;
  • monetary compensation for the loss or damage to a community object;
  • Any additional property that is not defined as separate property by law.

The distinct property of a spouse belongs solely to that spouse. This is among its components:

  • Property obtained by a spouse before a community property regime was established;
  • Property purchased by a couple using their own funds or a combination of their own and community funds when the value of the community funds utilized is negligible in contrast to the value of the separate funds used;
  • Property obtained by a spouse through an inheritance or gift made to that spouse alone;
  • compensation given to one spouse in the event that the other spouse is found to have violated a contract caused a loss, or handled common property in bad faith or with deception;
  • Damage awards or other forms of compensation given to a spouse in relation to how their separate property is managed;
  • Things obtained by a spouse as a consequence of the community’s voluntary division while a community property rule was in place.

Can we agree to an out-of-court settlement in our Louisiana divorce?

Yes, you can decide how to address the difficulties in your divorce with your spouse at any stage in the process, from before you’ve filed the divorce papers up to just before a trial.

The terms of your settlement, once all of your disputes have been resolved, will often be detailed in a written divorce settlement agreement that will be incorporated into the final divorce judgment. The court will consider your case to be uncontested if you and your spouse come to an agreement before filing for divorce.

Depending on the grounds for divorce, you may be able to obtain your divorce decree rather fast in this situation. (However, keep in mind that some uncontested divorces are subject to the waiting time indicated above.)

If you’ve filed all the necessary documents for an uncontested case, you can typically obtain your divorce order without appearing in court. However, if judges think it’s necessary, they may order a court appearance. If you’re unsure whether you need to attend court, check with the court clerk ahead of time.

Where can I get more information and help with my Louisiana divorce?

In our section on divorce in Louisiana, you can discover the answers to further questions about divorce.

Other resources are provided below:

Court services

On the website of the Louisiana State Bar Association, you can discover information about divorce and court forms.

Mediation

Divorce mediation can assist you in settling disputes and finding common ground if you want the money and time benefits of an uncontested divorce but are having problems reaching an understanding with your spouse. The mediator will often draught a written divorce settlement agreement at the conclusion of the procedure.

Online separation

Try an online divorce service that will send you the completed paperwork based on your responses to a questionnaire if you have achieved a complete settlement but need assistance with the uncontested divorce procedures.

Lawyers

Of course, certain divorces call for the assistance of a lawyer. If it applies to your situation, ask the following questions before hiring a divorce lawyer.

Conclusion

Although the divorce process might be drawn out, difficult, and confusing, it doesn’t have to be. You may use the best position yourself to overcome many of the challenges you may encounter throughout a divorce by being aware of where to start, what to anticipate, and which concerns to address.

faqs

What is the fastest way to get a divorce in Louisiana?

If you and your husband have been apart for the necessary length of time, you can quickly get a divorce decision in Louisiana without a fight by filing a number of documents with the court. You and your spouse might not even need to show up in court, depending on your parish.

Can I file for divorce on my own in Louisiana?

Yes. Divorce can be initiated by one individual. Although it is frequently wise to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer, many court websites offer the necessary documents for filing for divorce on your own.

Can you get a divorce without going to court in Louisiana?

Given that there is no arguing in court, uncontested divorces in Louisiana typically resolve more quickly and cost less than contentious divorces. The judge must only consider, authorize, and issue a divorce decision after reviewing and approving the marriage settlement agreement between the parties.

What is necessary for Louisiana for divorce?

In Louisiana, you don’t need to be at “fault” to petition for divorce. Couples must live apart and apart for a predetermined period of time in order to obtain a “no-fault” divorce. It may be 180 days, 365 days, or even two years. In a covenant marriage, the couple must spend the first two years apart from one another.

How long does a Louisiana divorce take?

Depending on the parish court where you file, an uncontested divorce might take anywhere from two weeks to six months to conclude. Your attorney will arrange for a court runner to physically deliver your pleading to the court in order to speed up the uncontested divorce so that it happens in less time than a month.

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