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Understand the divorce process

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Understanding Divorce in Louisiana: A Simple Guide

The divorce process in Louisiana can vary depending on whether it’s a contested or uncontested divorce.

  • Uncontested Divorce: This is where both parties agree on all major issues like property division, child custody, and support. It’s the quickest and least expensive option.  Using this option, the parties will enter Consent Judgments for the Court’s approval.

  • Contested Divorce: If spouses cannot agree on issues related to the divorce, the divorce is considered contested. This process involves court hearings and trials to resolve disputes and can be lengthy and costly.

Steps to File for Divorce in Louisiana

  1. Filing a Petition: The process begins with one spouse (the petitioner) filing a petition for divorce in the parish where either spouse resides. There are two types of divorce petitions in Louisiana, an Article 102 divorce petition is filed before the parties have been physically separated for the required amount of time  (6 months without minor children or 1 year with minor children).  An Article 103 divorce petition is filed if the parties have already been physically separated for the correct period of time, or there are “fault” issues that allow for an immediate divorce.  

  2. Serving the Petition: The petition must be legally served to the other spouse (the defendant), who then has a specific period to respond.  The defendant may also agree to “waive” service of the petition.  If the defendant does not file an Answer to an Article 103 petition within the required time, the petitioner may obtain a default judgment of divorce.  

  3. Negotiating Settlements or Trial: Spouses will attempt to reach agreements on various matters of custody, support, and community property out of court. If they can’t, these issues will be decided by the presiding Judge.  The Court may decide all of the issues at one trial or may break the issues into different parts.   For example, the parties may agree on the community property issues and only require a hearing on spousal support (or vice versa).

  4. Judgment of Divorce: The Court will issue a judgment of divorce after a trial or through a default judgment of divorce.  The judgment of divorce may be entered by the Court before or after the other issues have been resolved.  

Child Custody and Support in Louisiana

In Louisiana, child custody decisions are based on the “best interest of the child.” Courts consider various factors (La CC Art. 134), including the child’s age, the relationship with each parent, and the parents’ ability to provide a stable environment. Child support is calculated using a formula considering both parents’ income and the number of children.  See La RS 9:315.

Conclusion

Divorce in Louisiana can be complex, but understanding the basics can make the process more manageable. Remember, every divorce is unique, and seeking legal advice is always recommended. This guide is just the start to help you navigate through your divorce journey in Louisiana.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    Different people face different challenges, depending upon their individual circumstances. Common concerns when considering divorce include:

    • Money: “I am ready for divorce, but how can I afford a lawyer?”
    • Grief: “How can I move on when I’m not ready to let go?”
    • Expectations: “Why can’t I get everything I want out of this divorce?”
    • The future: “Where will I go from here?”

    You can always start the divorce process without your spouse. However, there are certain aspects of divorce in which a spouse needs to be involved, such as hiring a mediator, parenting coordinator, co-parenting coach.

    Online access and virtual consultations allow you to learn about the divorce process on your own time. Not everyone is ready to meet with a lawyer. Not everyone has the same schedule or availability. DivorcePlus puts you in control.

    If you are curious about the process and want trustworthy information, we make that available to you for free. And if you are ready for the next step, our professional service providers are here and ready when you are.

    We recommend that you start keeping a diary as soon as possible. A clear record and timeline of events can be very useful down the line. The more information, the better.

    If you are happy with your divorce lawyer, stay with them. Our free resources address common divorce concerns so you won’t have to pay for as much time with your lawyer. We also provide a wide range of professional services if you’re looking for a little extra guidance.

    Listen.

    During the divorce process, some people ask questions and then ignore answers they don’t like. Keep in mind, even when you don’t like an answer, there are always ways to work through the process.

    Trust your lawyer to help get you where you want to be. The best pathway forward is to listen and learn how to work with the law.

    Unlike other legal websites that charge monthly subscription fees for access to general information on all areas of law, DivorcePlus specializes in providing  free online legal and divorce educational resources without any cost to you. You only pay for professional divorce services when you need them.

    An online divorce is exactly what it sounds like. During the covid-19 pandemic, most States and Courts implemented laws and procedures that permit individuals to file and obtain their divorce online! But that doesn’t help if you still have to meet with a legal professional in person. The DivorcePlus professional marketplace gives you the ability to locate an attorney in your State and find out if an online divorce is right for you.

    Note: This information contained here is not legal advice and should not be relied upon a legal source; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.  It’s important to keep in mind that legal statutes can be subject to amendments and interpretations. For the most current and detailed legal information, it’s advisable to consult the actual statutes or a legal professional.