If you are preparing to file for divorce in Louisiana, it is important to have at least a basic understanding of the laws and regulations that govern the process in the state. Your attorney will be able to further guide you through your divorce, but the more you learn and understand yourself, the more comfortable you can be throughout what can be a turbulent process, logistically and emotionally.
Here are a few examples of divorce laws and process information specific to Louisiana that you should know.
To file for divorce in Louisiana, you must have resided in the state for at least one year. If you are living outside the state, you can still file for divorce in Louisiana if you still have residency there. You must file the petition in the parish where either spouse resides or where you last lived together as a couple.
Louisiana requires divorcing spouses to have lived separately for 180 days if there are no children, and for a full year if they have children, before the state will grant a divorce.
There are several grounds for divorce in Louisiana. The first is separation, as described above. The second are fault-based grounds, such as adultery or a felony conviction. If in a covenant marriage, grounds are only adultery, felony, abandonment for at least a year, physical or sexual abuse of children or the spouse, separation without reconciliation for at least two years, or separation for a year (one and a half years if there are children) from the date of a legal separation.
Impact of Grounds for Divorce
One does not need to have grounds for divorce to file divorce (“irreconcilable differences” is fine), but having grounds for divorce may influence custody decisions. Judges want to see if a parent is capable of protecting the child’s welfare.
The length of time you can expect your divorce to take depends on the method of divorce you pursue, whether you are seeking a fault-based divorce and the issues you need to address in your divorce. The process could take anywhere from six months to two years or more.
Divorcing couples can create their own marital separation agreement to be reviewed by the court, which includes how debts and assets will be allocated. Marital property must be divided evenly, unless a pre- or post-nuptial agreement features a different type of division.
Louisiana’s child support decisions are based on parents’ gross income, community property and debts, alimony awarded to either parent, the number of children who need support, the presence of any other minor children outside the marriage and the specific needs of each child.
Louisiana, like all states, has custody rules that focus on acting in the best interest of the child. This means it is likely there will be a joint custody arrangement, unless a parent poses a clear danger to the children.
For more information about getting a divorce in Louisiana, contact the Law Office of Michael A. Rosenblatt, LLC.