Louisiana allows you to complete your divorce without an attorney if you and your spouse can come to an agreement on what to do with your property and how you will care for any children that you have.
Louisiana Residency Requirements
The spouse who files for divorce must have been a resident of the state for at least twelve (12) months before filing. Divorces are filed in the parish where either spouse lives or in the parish where the spouses last lived together as husband and wife.
Grounds For Divorce
In Louisiana, there are two no-fault options when seeking a divorce. To file for divorce under Article 102, the spouses must live separate and apart without reconciliation for 180 days after filing for divorce (365 days if minor children are involved). To file for divorce under Article 103, the spouses must have lived separate and apart without reconciliation for 180 days before filing for divorce (365 days if minor children are involved). If you want to file for divorce immediately, but you and your spouse have not yet been separated for the requisite amount of time, you must file under Article 102.
Covenant Marriage Grounds. If the couple chose to have a "Covenant Marriage" (rare, 1-2% of Louisiana marriages are covenant marriages), a divorce can be granted based on ONE of the following stricter covenant grounds:
- The spouses have been living separate and apart continuously without reconciliation for a period of two (2) years.
- The spouses have been living separate and apart continuously without reconciliation for a period of one (1) year from the date the judgment of separation from bed and board was signed. If minor children are involved, the period shall be extended for an additional six (6) months unless there is evidence of the child being physically or sexually abused by the other spouse.
- One spouse committed a felony and has been sentenced to death or imprisonment at hard labor.
- One spouse has physically or sexually abused the other spouse or the child of either party.
Filing Your Louisiana Divorce
The steps for divorcing in Louisiana under Civil Code Article 102 are:
- File a Verified Petition for Divorce and have your spouse sign a Waiver of Service.
- Live separate and apart from your spouse for one hundred eighty (180) days (365 days if you have minor children together) from the date he or she signed the Waiver of Service.
- File a Rule to Show Cause/Rule for Final Divorce and attend a brief hearing to finalize the divorce.
The steps for divorcing in Louisiana under Civil Code Article 103(1) are:
- File a Verified Petition for Divorce after living separate and apart for 180 days (365 days if you have minor children together) and have the other spouse sign a Waiver of Service.
- File an Affidavit swearing that the information contained in the Petition for Divorce is truthful and accurate.
- Wait 15 days (30 days if the other spouse lives out of state) and then ask the Clerk of Court to set your case for a preliminary default. Two days later, the judge will either sign the Judgment or require hearing to confirm the default of the other spouse before signing the Judgment.
Division of property & debt, child parenting plan (including child support, visitation and custody), spousal support, and more are covered.
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