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Louisiana Divorce

Article 102 or Article 103

Article 102 Divorce
Filing: Can file as soon as you separate
Court Hearing: Always required
Completion Time: Must wait 180 days (365 with children) to finalize after filing
Article 103(1) Divorce
Filing: Must be separated for 180 days (365 with children) before filing
Court Hearing: Usually not required
Completion Time: Finalized shortly after filing

In Louisiana, you can file for divorce under Article 102 or Article 103(1) of the Louisiana Civil Code. Under Article 102, you and your spouse must live separate and apart at different residences for 180 days before the divorce can be finalized. Under Article 103(1), you and your spouse must have already lived separate and apart at different residences for 180 days before you can file for divorce.

Note that for both Article 102 and 103(1) divorce, the 180-day separation requirement increases to 365 days if you and your spouse have minor children together. In addition, for both types of divorce, living separate and apart means that you and your spouse cannot have reconciled nor had sex during the required separation period.

Deciding Which Type of Divorce is Right for You

Whether an Article 102 or 103(1) divorce will work best for you largely depends on how long you and your spouse have been separated. If you have already been separated for 180 days (365 days with children), obviously 103(1) divorce is the quickest way for you to get divorced.

The decision becomes somewhat trickier if you and your spouse have already been separated for a period of time that falls short of the 180-day requirement. For example, if you and your spouse have been living apart for three months, you can file for Article 103(1) divorce in three more months and have your divorce finalized shortly thereafter, possibly without even needing to attend a hearing. However, even if you and your spouse have been living apart already, some people simply feel a sense of relief once the divorce is officially filed and for that reason, may choose to file for Article 102 divorce even though it means restarting the separation period and attending a divorce hearing.

When you use DivorceWriter to prepare your divorce papers online, you choose whether to file for divorce under Article 102 or Article 103(1) of the Louisiana Civil Code.

Differences in Divorce Paperwork

Several documents are the same regardless of whether you file for a 102 or 103(1) divorce:

For Article 102 divorce, you will also file a Rule to Show Cause.

However, for Article 103(1) you will file four additional documents:

Depending on which type of divorce you select, DivorceWriter provides detailed written filing procedures and the necessary documents to file for and complete your divorce.

Differences in Divorce Procedure

With both types of divorces, you file a Verified Petition for Divorce and have your spouse sign an Acceptance and Waiver of Service. With an Article 102 divorce, you will 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 from the date your spouse signed the Waiver of Service. Shortly thereafter, you will attend a hearing to finalize the divorce. The spouse who files for divorce will need to take two witnesses to court who can testify to knowing that the spouses have lived separate and apart without reconciliation for 180 days (365 days if the couple has minor children together).

With an Article 103(1) divorce your Petition contains an Affidavit swearing that the information contained in the Petition for Divorce are truthful and accurate. In 15 days (30 days if your spouse doesn't live in Louisiana), request that the Court Clerk set your case for a Preliminary Default. In a couple of days, the judge will finalize the divorce or may decide to first require a Confirmation of Default hearing before finalizing it.

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