Divorce in Louisiana, Part 2
Aside from covenant marriage restrictions, Louisiana's no-fault policy among most liberal
In "Divorce in Louisiana, Part 1" we discussed the role of a compatible, experienced divorce attorney, the benefits of counseling and the need to urgently address domestic violence if that is a component of the relationship. Part 1 also includes the four ways marriage can be terminated and a discussion of covenant marriage, which is now recognized in four states and was first introduced in Louisiana.
Residency requirements & venue
Louisiana requires that the filing spouse ("Petitioner") must have lived in state for at least 12 months prior to filing the papers. The case can be filed in district court in the parish where either spouse resides.
According to the Louisiana State Bar, no-fault divorce is available to couples not in a covenant marriage:
Living Separate and Apart
The requisite time periods necessary for living separate and apart before obtaining a judgment of divorce are as follows: 180 days in cases where there are no minor children of the marriage; and 365 days where there are minor children of the marriage. Special rules may apply when the parties have confected a covenant marriage or when there has been a finding of physical or sexual abuse. The action can be defeated if the parties reconcile by resuming to live together with a mutual intent to resume the marriage. Certain procedural formalities are required.
- Living separate and apart before filing of petition
If the parties have already lived separate and apart for the requisite time period, continuously and without reconciliation, either spouse may file for the divorce.
- Living separate and apart after filing of a petition
Once a Petition for Divorce has been filed and the parties remain separate and apart, either spouse may ask the court to finalize a divorce after the requisite 180 or 365 days have passed following either service of the petition, written waiver of said service, or physical separation (whichever is later).
Need for representation
Describing its "online brochure," the bar association also mentions the potential for problems in representing oneself:
This brochure provides a very basic overview of Louisiana law concerning termination of marriages and the various areas where serious legal issues may arise. Every citizen is guaranteed the right to self-representation but, because the legal determinations will have long-term effects on the spouses and family, legal representation is recommended.
No matter your marital situation, we can help. If you're ready to begin the search for a compatible, well trained, experienced divorce attorney, you can start with our free case evaluation. If you need more information, please browse our site, using the tabs at the top of the page.