Who’s Fault Is It?

Ok, let’s face it. During a divorce, accusations will most likely be flying to assign blame for the failure of the marriage. When filing for divorce in Louisiana, you must cite a reason for the divorce, which then determines how the divorce proceedings will progress, and lets you know what to expect both during and after this process. In its simplest terms, a no-fault divorce establishes that the marriage failed on its own (the common “irreconcilable differences” filing), whereas in a fault divorce one party did something wrong to cause the separation – likely adultery or abuse. Understanding the filing process beyond moving forward from the emotion of the situation, your specific circumstances will determine the type of divorce filing you should pursue. 

No-Fault Divorce

The more common of the two, a no-fault divorce does not require proof of wrongdoing, but merely agreement on both parties that the marriage simply failed to work. When there is no conflict or objection, this type of divorce filing can progress quickly, allowing both spouses to save on court costs and lawyer fees. 

Before filing and being granted a no-fault divorce in Louisiana the couple must prove that they have been living “separate and apart” for a continuous period of time, meaning that they have lived in different houses without reconciliation. For couples with no children under the age of 18, divorce can be granted after 180 days of separation, while for those with children under the age of 18, the period of time is increased to 365 days of continuously living apart.

The only way to stop divorce proceedings in a no-fault divorce is to prove that the couple is no longer living separately or they have reconciled. Even if the reconciliation or cohabitation was temporary, the clock resets to 0 days when you decide to move forward with the divorce. During this time of living apart, the filing party must prove that they have resided in Louisiana for at least six months, making it important to file for divorce in the state that you live in.

Involving complicated proceeds that must prove the fault of one spouse in court, fault-based divorces are far less common in Louisiana than no-fault divorces. In Louisiana there are a number of grounds that would merit the filing of a fault divorce.

    • Adultery
    • Arrest/Conviction/Imprisonment
    • Abuse

Although it is more difficult to obtain a fault-based divorce, there is no requirement that the couple has to have been living apart before filing. Although considered grounds for an “immediate” divorce, the process to prove fault in court can be both time consuming and have an impact on spousal support, divorce settlement and custody and visitation rights concerning minor children.

Covenant Marrige

Louisiana is one of a few states which recognizes Covenant Marriage, which prescribes its own process when filing for divorce. When both parties sign a Declaration of Intent as well as an Affidavit and Attestation Form, they affirm by law to work toward reconciliation, making divorce harder to obtain. Covenant marriages require counseling both prior to marriage and filing for divorce, and divorce is only granted after providing proof of one of these conditions:
es defined by a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, this can include properties owned prior to marriage, inheritances, and donations made to one spouse. 

    • Adultery
    • Felony conviction of death or imprisonment
    • Abandonment for more than one year
    • Physical or Sexual abuse of you or one of your children
    • Lived separate and apart without reconciliation for two years, or one year after signing Separation from Bed and Board.

Filing for divorce and negotiating property settlement and child custody benefit from the guidance of a dedicated attorney. The Law Office of Michael A. Rosenblatt is here for you during this time, providing unmatched counsel and support as you enter into divorce proceedings.

The Law Office of Michael A. Rosenblatt works through this process with clients, allowing marriages to move forward comfortably and confidently.