Divorce in Louisiana
Not a day goes by in which we don’t get asked a question pertaining to some aspect of divorce, whether it’s the procedure for obtaining a divorce, the partition of community property, or the custody of a minor child. While custody and partition of community property are aspects of the divorce process and can be handled incidentally to the divorce, they are in actuality independent of each other and can be handled separately depending on the client’s circumstances and needs.
There are two types of divorce in Louisiana: 102 Divorce and 103 Divorce (named after the Civil Code articles they correspond to). 102 Divorce requires a waiting period, while 103 Divorce does not. The grounds for obtaining a divorce under each code article are different, and the circumstances of each case will determine which code article applies.
Before delving into the subject further, we’d like to remind you that the information disseminated here serves only as a very basic overview of Louisiana law concerning termination of marriages under Civil Code articles 102 and 103. Should you wish to consult with an attorney regarding the particulars of your situation, please contact us at (504) 324-8716 to schedule a free consultation today.
Living Separate and Apart
Under Louisiana law, you must live separate and apart from your spouse for a certain period of time before a judge will grant you a divorce. You can either file for divorce and then live separate and apart for the requisite time period (102 Divorce); or live separate and apart for the requisite time period and then file for divorce (103 Divorce).
The time period in which you have to live separate and apart depends on whether you have minor children of the marriage. If you don’t have minor children, the time period that you must live separate and apart is 180 days; while if you do have minor children, it is 365 days. In other words, if you and your spouse have minor children your waiting period to get divorced is 1 year, while if you don’t have any minor children it is 6 months.
It is very important to note that these periods of time start over again if you reconcile with your spouse. For example, if after living separate and apart for 2 months you move back in with your spouse to try to work things out, but after a couple of weeks you decide your differences are irreconcilable and move out a second time; the waiting period for living separate and apart starts from the time you moved out the second time.
Other Grounds for Divorce
Aside from the above, there are also four other grounds for divorce in the state of Louisiana, which do not require a waiting period (or the need to live separate and apart). The first of these is if your spouse commits adultery. If this happens, you can ask the court for an immediate divorce. However, it is of significance to note that you must prove that the alleged action occurred by corroborative evidence.
The second way you can get divorced without having to live separate and apart from your spouse for an appropriate time period is if your spouse has committed a felony and has been sentenced to death or imprisonment at hard labor.
The third and fourth grounds for obtaining a divorce without living separate and apart from your spouse for the requisite amount of time involve domestic violence during the marriage; such as instances where a spouse has physically or sexually abused the spouse seeking divorce or a child of one of the spouses, or in instances where a protective order or an injunction has been issued against a spouse to protect the spouse seeking the divorce or a child of one of the spouses from abuse.
It is important to note that the requirements for divorce differ from those mentioned above when the parties have entered into a covenant marriage, although these will not be discussed in this writing.
It goes without saying that we are at your service if you have any questions about what has been written in these few paragraphs. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at 504-324-8716.