Divorce is one of the Hardest Things a Person Can Go Through
Experts say that the grief one suffers in a divorce is the same as when a loved one dies, and I’ve seen that to be true. Even the “easy” divorces are never really easy. It is a time of chaos and uncertainty — of worry for the future.
Basic Divorce Law
Louisiana is a “no fault” divorce state. You do not have to give a reason for a divorce. If you want a divorce, you can get one whether your spouse wants it or not.
Much of what follows about divorce does not apply if you are in a covenant marriage. If you don’t know if you are in a covenant marriage, you are almost certainly not in one, as getting into a covenant marriage involves jumping through a lot of hoops. If you are in one, make sure your lawyer knows immediately.
The most common grounds for divorce is living separate and apart for a period of time. “Separate and apart” means you must live under a separate roof the entire time. If at any time following the filing of divorce, you “reconcile” by living together even briefly, with the intent to live together as husband and wife, the proceeding is extinguished. You’d have to re-file if you still want the divorce.
If there are minor children of the marriage, you have to be separated for a year. If there are none, then the separation has to be for six months.
A “File and Wait” Divorce
A divorce under Louisiana Civil Code Article 102 is often called a “file and wait” divorce. You can file for a divorce even before you are separated.
This is a very common way to proceed. It allows you to work out details such as support and custody while the divorce is pending. Also, the termination of community property will be effective retroactively to the date of filing, which helps protect your property interests.
A “Wait and File” Divorce
A divorce can be obtained relatively quickly if the six month / one year waiting period of separation has already passed. This is filed under Louisiana Civil Code Article 103.
Other Grounds for Divorce
A divorce can be obtained immediately if your spouse commits adultery or is sentenced to death or imprisonment at hard labor for a felony, or has abused you or your child.
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