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Louisiana Divorce Self-Help Center

Many customer Louisiana divorce questions are answered here.  Browse from the topics below or use the search box to narrow your search.
 
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General Information State Procedures   Custody, Visitation, Support
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STATE PROCEDURES
Where do I file my divorce papers in Louisiana? 2527
Divorces are filed Civil District Court in the parish where either party lives or in the parish where the spouses last lived together as husband and wife.
Will either of us be required to attend a court hearing? 2529
Generally, a hearing is required. In a 102 divorce, the Petitioner must attend a brief hearing along with two witnesses who will testify to their knowledge of the spouses living separate and apart without reconciliation for the required amount of time. In a 103(1) divorce, many parishes require the Petitioner to go to court on date of the hearing with two witnesses who can testify that the spouses have lived separate and apart without reconciliation for the required time (180 or 365 days). However, other parishes allow the Petitioner in a 103(1) divorce to instead file a Affidavit of Correctness in Lieu of Testimony and a Motion for Confirmation of Divorce Judgment of Default without a Hearing instead of holding a hearing.
What is considered to be the date of separation in Louisiana? 2531
In Louisiana, the date of separation is the date that the spouses stopped living under the same roof with no intent to reconcile.
What are the Louisiana residency requirements for filing for divorce? 2533
In order to file for divorce in Louisiana, the spouse who files for divorce must have been a resident of the state for at least twelve (12) months before filing.
What are the grounds for filing for divorce in Louisiana? 2534
In Louisiana, there are two "no-fault" divorce grounds in non-covenant marriages, both of which require the parties to live separate and apart at different residences without having reconciliation for 180 days (365 days if the parties have minor children together. Under LA Civil Code Article 102, the separation requirement must be met after the divorce has been filed while under LA Civil Code Article 103(1), the separation requirement must be met before the divorce is filed.

In covenant marriages, the following grounds for divorce are available in Louisiana:
  1. The other spouse has committed adultery.
  2. The other spouse has committed a felony and has been sentenced to death or imprisonment at hard labor.
  3. The other spouse has abandoned the matrimonial domicile for a period of one year and constantly refuses to return.
  4. The other spouse has physically or sexually abused the spouse seeking the divorce or a child of one of the spouses.
  5. The spouses have been living separate and apart continuously without reconciliation for a period of two years.
  6. Either (a) The spouses have been living separate and apart continuously without reconciliation for a period of one year from the date the judgment of separation from bed and board was signed or (b) If there is a minor child or children of the marriage, the spouses have been living separate and apart continuously without reconciliation for a period of one year and six months from the date the judgment of separation from bed and board was signed; however, if abuse of a child of the marriage or a child of one of the spouses is the basis for which the judgment of separation from bed and board was obtained, then a judgment of divorce may be obtained if the spouses have been living separate and apart continuously without reconciliation for a period of one year from the date the judgment of separation from bed and board was signed.
What are the basic steps to getting a divorce in Louisiana? 2537
The steps for divorcing in Louisiana under Civil Code Article 102 are:
  1. File a Verified Petition for Divorce and have your spouse sign a Acceptance and Waiver of Service.
  2. 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.
  3. File a Rule to Show Cause/Rule for Final Divorce along with Verified Affidavits and Defendant's Acceptance and Waiver of Service of the Rule to Show Cause.
  4. The spouse who filed for divorce attends a brief hearing after which the judge will sign the Judgment finalizing the divorce.
The steps for divorcing in Louisiana under Civil Code Article 103(1) are:
  1. File a Verified Petition for Divorce after living separate and apart for 180 days (or 365 days if you have minor children together) and have the other spouse sign a Waiver of Service.
  2. File an Affidavit swearing that the information contained in the Petition for Divorce are truthful and accurate along with a Judgment of Divorce.
  3. 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 a Confirmation of Default hearing to confirm the default of the other spouse.
How much is the filing fee in Louisiana? 2538
The filing fee charged by the Court is NOT included in the DivorceWriter price. The filing fee varies from parish to parish, but is typically $200.00-$450.00 in Louisiana.
What documents are included in the self-prepared Louisiana DivorceWriter package? 2539
The following documents are included with the Louisiana Article 102:
  • Louisiana Divorce Filing Procedures
  • Pro Se Petition for 102 Divorce
  • Child Support Worksheet (if minor child(ren))
  • Joint Custody Plan (if joint custody is selected)
  • Rule to Show Cause
  • AffidavitWaiver of Service and Citation
  • Settlement Agreement
  • Judgment of 102 Divorce
The following documents are included with the Louisiana Article 103(1):
  • Louisiana Divorce Filing Procedures
  • Pro Se Petition For 103(1) Divorce
  • Verification
  • Acceptance of Service and Waiver of Citation and All Delays
  • Motion for Preliminary Default
  • Affidavit of Correctness in Lieu of Testimony
  • Motion for Confirmation of Divorce Judgment of Default without a Hearing
  • Child Support Worksheet (if minor child(ren))
  • Joint Custody Plan (if joint custody is selected)Marital Settlement Agreement
  • Judgment of 103(1) Divorce - No Minor Children
How long does it usually take to finalize a divorce in Louisiana? 2540
The length of time required to finalize a divorce in Louisiana depends on whether the divorce is filed under Article 102 or Article 103(1). Since Article 102 allows you to file for divorce without having met the separation requirement, you can file immediately, but must wait 180 days (365 days if you have minor children with your spouse) from the date you file to ask the Court to finalize the divorce. However, since Article 103(1) requires you to wait until the 180/365-day separation periods have already been met before filing, the divorce is generally finalized in less than a month after the filing date.

Thus, if someone has been separated from his or her spouse for a significant period of time, it may be quicker to just wait until the entire 180/365 day separation requirement has been met and file a 103(1) divorce or else the existing separation period will be lost if a divorce is filed under Article 102. DivorceWriter cannot assist you in determining under which Article you should file for divorce.
How do I serve my spouse with the divorce papers in Louisiana? 2541
In Louisiana, the non-filing spouse (Defendant) signs a Waiver of Service and Citation, which allows the filing spouse (Petitioner) to avoid the hassle and expense of formal service by a process server.
Do we have to be separated to get a divorce in Louisiana? 2542
Yes. In order to obtain a divorce in Louisiana, spouses must live separate and apart at different residences without reconciliation for a period of 180 days (365 days if the spouses have minor children together). Whether that separation requirement must be met before or after the divorce is filed depends on whether Petitioner files an Article 102 or Article 103(1) divorce. Under Article 102, the separation requirement begins after the divorce is filed. Under Article 103(1), the separation requirement must already be met before the divorce is filed.
Can I change my name in Louisiana divorce proceedings? 2543
Louisiana case law allows the wife to change her last name back to her maiden name in the divorce proceedings, if desired. There is no additional charge to add the request for wife to resume her maiden name.
Does Louisiana require divorcing spouses and/or their child(ren) to attend a class or seminar on coping with divorce? 2545
Some parishes in Louisiana require parents and/or child(ren) involved in divorce proceedings to attend an education seminar on coping with divorce. When a seminar is required, it must generally be completed before the divorce will be granted. The Court Clerk in your parish will be able to provide specific information about the requirements, if any.
What is the difference between an Article 102 divorce and an Article 103(1) divorce? 2548
In Louisiana, an Article 102 Divorce can be obtained by filing of a Petition seeking a divorce, and then filing additional documents after the spouses have lived separate and apart for 180 days (365 days if you have minor children together) from the date the non-filing spouse waived service of the Petition for Divorce.

On the other hand, an Article 103 Divorce can be obtained if the parties have already been separated for at least 180 days (365 days if you have minor children together). Note: If you want to divorce, but have not yet been separated for 180 days (365 days if you have minor children together), you must wait until those time periods pass before filing for divorce or in the alternative, you would need to file a 102 Divorce.
What is a Mover's Affidavit? 3499
A Mover's Affidavit is a sworn affidavit that you must sign in front of a Notary Public, which you use to swear to the allegations in the document you have filed. In the case of a fee waiver request, which is called an In Forma Pauperis Affidavit, a Mover's Affidavit is attached to that form. An In Forma Pauperis Affidavit with a Mover's Affidavit attached is available free of charge upon request as part of your DivorceWriter purchase by sending a request to info@DivorceWriter.com.

If you've been told you need a Mover's Affidavit attached to a different document, you may be able to use the one attached to the In Forma Pauperis Affidavit as a sample.
The Court Clerk said I need to file an Affidavit of Fact, Certificate Regarding Service and Entry of Default to finalize my 103 divorce, but I do not see those documents in my DivorceWriter package. Where do I find them? 3559
It is not unusual for the clerks and judges in one parish to refer to the same documents using different names than those used by clerks and judges in other parishes. For example, each Louisiana DivorceWriter 103 divorce package contains an Affidavit of Correctness in Lieu of Testimony. However, in some parishes, this document may be referred to as an Affidavit of Fact. Regardless of the name, this Affidavit swears to the truth of the statements made in the Divorce Petition. While it probably isn't necessary, you may self-customize your document by downloading it in Microsoft Word and change the title, if desired.

Each Louisiana DivorceWriter 103 divorce package contains a Motion for Preliminary Default, which states that Defendant signed an Acceptance of Service, wherein he or she accepted service of the Divorce Petition and waived citation and also lists the date that the Acceptance of Service was signed. Attached to the Motion for Preliminary Default is a Certificate for the Clerk to sign, which indicates that the record was examined by the clerk and that, as of that date, no Answer or other opposition was filed by the Defendant. Finally, beneath the Certificate that the Clerk signs, there is an Order, which the Judge signs. This Order is sometimes referred to as an Entry of Default.

Please refer to Steps 2 and 3 of the DivorceWriter Divorce Filing Procedures included with your package for additional information on these forms.
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CUSTODY, VISITATION, SUPPORT
We already have a child support order issued by a judge. Will we be able to keep the same amount? 2544
DivorceWriter provides the option to enter information regarding an existing child support order including the amount of support ordered and other identifying case information. Generally, you will also be expected to provide the Court with a copy of the prior child support order.
What are the different types of custody in Louisiana? 2535
  • Physical custody" means the physical care and supervision of a child.
  • With joint custody, one parent is often designated as the domiciliary parent. The domiciliary parent is the parent with whom the child shall primarily reside, but the other parent shall have physical custody during time periods that assure that the child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents. If a domiciliary parent is designated, that parent shall have authority to make all decisions affecting the child. If a domiciliary parent is not designated, joint custody confers upon the parents equal rights and responsibilities.
  • Shared custody is a joint custody arrangement in which each parent has physical custody of the child for an approximately equal amount of time.
When can a child support order be modified in Louisiana? 2536
A judge will consider a motion to change an existing child support obligation if the financial situation of the parents causes the child support obligation to decrease or increase approximately 15%.
What if my spouse and I have agreed to use a child support amount that is different from the standard amount set by the Child Support Guidelines? 2530
Reasons for deviating from the guidelines may include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • That the combined adjusted gross income of the parties is not within the amounts shown on the schedule in R.S. 9:315.14.
  • The legal obligation of a party to support dependents who are not the subject of the action before the court and who are in that party's household.
  • The extraordinary medical expenses of a party, or extraordinary medical expenses for which a party may be responsible, not otherwise taken into consideration under the guidelines.
  • An extraordinary community debt of the parties.
  • The permanent or temporary total disability of a spouse to the extent such disability diminishes his present and future earning capacity, his need to save adequately for uninsurable future medical costs, and other additional costs associated with such disability, such as transportation and mobility costs, medical expenses, and higher insurance premiums.
The court may deviate from the guidelines for any other reason which would make application of the guidelines not in the best interest of the child or children or inequitable to the parties. Louisiana Revised Statutes Article 9-315.1
How is child support calculated in Louisiana? 2528
Based on the information provided by the customer when completing the Louisiana online interview, a computer generated Child Support Worksheet is automatically created and sent to the customer as part of the DivorceWriter package. See RS 9:315 Guidelines for Determination of Child Support and also Louisiana Child Support Schedules for additional information on child support calculation in Louisiana.
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SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES
What is a covenant marriage and how do we get a divorce if we have one? 2549
In 1997, Louisiana became the first state to allow a couple to seek a covenant marriage. Covenant marriage is unlike a traditional marriage in that the parties must take extra steps to enter into a covenant marriage, which include the following:
  1. Receive premarital counseling;
  2. Declare the intent to enter into covenant marriage on your application for a marriage license;
  3. Execute a declaration of intent to contract a covenant marriage; and
  4. File the application for a marriage license and the declaration of intent to contract a covenant marriage with the official who issues the marriage license.
If you did not take all of the steps above, you do not have a covenant marriage. Additionally, if your marriage occurred before 1997, you do not have not covenant marriage unless you and your spouse specifically filed a request to have your marriage converted to a covenant marriage.

If you and your spouse have a covenant marriage, you can obtain a divorce on the ground that you have been living separate and apart continuously without reconciliation for a period of two years.

DivorceWriter Louisiana forms work for both regular and covenant marriages.
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CUSTOMER SERVICE
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