At Manard Law we understand that going through a divorce can be an emotional and uncertain time. That is why we are honored to help our clients who are experiencing this transitional time. While going through the divorce process, certain important issues will need to be addressed before the parties are able to come to a final agreement. These issues can include distribution of community property and debt, child custody and parenting agreements, child support, and spousal support. Manard Law can alleviate some of the uncertainty in this process by providing legal assistance to individuals navigating the complex divorce process.
If you want to end a valid marriage in Louisiana, you have to file the proceeding in the correct venue. You can either file in the parish where you currently live or where your spouse is currently living (this is called legal residence) or where you last lived together with your spouse (this is called matrimonial domicile).
In order for the court to grant the divorce, you must have grounds for divorce. Grounds are a legally acceptable reason for divorce. In Louisiana, you do not need to show fault in order to obtain a divorce. In fact, most divorces in Louisiana are based on no fault grounds. In order to obtain a no-fault divorce, you must live separate and apart for a requisite amount of time. Separate and apart means that the spouses have remained physically separated without the intent to reconcile. If there are minor children born of the marriage, the spouses must remain separate and apart for 365 days. If there are no minor children born of the marriage, the spouses must remain separate and apart for 180 days.
Louisiana law also allows for a fault-based divorce. If grounds for fault exist, you may be able to get divorced. Grounds for fault include a felony conviction, adultery, and domestic abuse under certain circumstances. However, you must be able to prove these grounds in order for a judge to grant the divorce which may be difficult. For example, in Louisiana adultery is considered difficult to prove and the admission of the adulterous spouse will not suffice.
Louisiana is one of three states that allow for a covenant marriage. A covenant marriage is a legally distinct type of marriage includes additional legal steps including additional requirements to end a marriage. If you are concerned that you have a covenant marriage, but don’t know, you most likely are not in a covenant marriage. Most marriages are not covenant marriages. At the time of the marriage the spouses must declare their intent for a covenant marriage, sign a declaration and attend religious counseling. You can still obtain a divorce if you are in a covenant marriage, but the rules are different which is why it is so important to seek legal counsel.
Clients often want to know how long it will take for their divorce to be finalized. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to that question. If your spouse agrees to the divorce and waives his or her rights to service and all legal delays, the divorce may be much faster. Additionally, if the divorce is uncontested, the process is much faster. An uncontested divorce simply means that you and your spouse have mutually agreed to the divorce and all related issues such as division of community property, support, and custody. If you and your spouse are unable to come to such an agreement, the divorce is referred to as a contested divorce, and these can take much longer.