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As with any other American State, Louisiana is also known for its divorce rate. The tendency of getting a dissolution of marriage is coming up more and more, therefore we have to let you know the latest special aspects of the divorce in the State of Louisiana.

Actually, the No-Fault Divorce is the most popular type of the marriage dissolution in Louisiana. It implies that all the items of the divorce proceedings are solved by the spouses mutually. This divorce does not need any blames. Such a divorce is rather cheaper and faster than a Fault Divorce. We will focus on these two types of the divorce a bit later. In Louisiana, there is also an essential mediation process for those couples who still can’t come to the agreement. The court will not grant you the Final Decree without such proceedings as a spouse serving with all the documents, filing all the forms and for especially your case, waiting for a stipulated period of time, etc. All these and other factors we will cover in this article. Firstly, we would like to speak about the Uncontested and the Contested Divorces.

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Louisiana divorce details

Uncontested vs Contested Divorce

Uncontested Divorce or a marriage dissolution is the most preferable way to finish your legal relations. The main idea of the Uncontested Divorce is to terminate the marriage with no faults. The Superior Court will approve such a divorce faster and in a shorter period of time, due to its simplicity. As opposed to the Uncontested Divorce, a Contested one demands the help of the lawyer, a longer waiting period, a trial and other issues taking both time and capital. The fee for both types of the divorces is different. Concerning all the additional expenses, the Contested Divorce will be twice or even cheaper than the Uncontested. Now we will see other peculiarities of the Uncontested Divorce in Louisiana.

Uncontested Divorce in Louisiana

There are several grounds for the Uncontested Divorce, they are:

  • The adultery
  • The conviction of one of the spouses
  • The abandonment
  • The physical or sexual abuse of  one of the spouse and/or children
  • The legal separation for two years or more
  • The incurable illness of one of the spouses, etc.

These grounds are not proved in the court, because the process is a No-Fault one, but still, the grounds for the divorce can turn immediately the Uncontested Divorce, into a Contested one. During the Uncontested Divorce the spouses agree on the following issues as:

  • The child custody and visitation
  • The rate of both spouses
  • The property division
  • The alimony ( spousal support)

The main idea is to complete the divorce as fast as possible, so there is no time for being unsatisfied with this or that item.

Louisiana Residency Requirements to file for the divorce

Louisiana has its own laws and state regulations that should be met anyway. There are several residency requirements in Louisiana, here they are:

  • The Petitioner of the divorce should live in Louisiana not less than 12 months. The Defendant also should be a resident of the State of Louisiana, but the terms for the living is not too strict   
  • The Final Judgment will be only if both spouses have signed the documents for the divorce and waited 180 days after the signing of the Petition (Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure - Article: 42)

The couple must meet all the residency requirements, otherwise, the divorce process will be questionable.

How to file for an Uncontested Divorce

There are several steps to file for the Uncontested Divorce in Louisiana. Let’s look at them:

  • You make yourself sure about the type of your divorce case
  • You prepare the Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage
  • You prepare all other documents
  • You serve your spouse with all the papers
  • You wait a certain time
  • You get your Uncontested Divorce

Everything looks simple, but during the divorce process, there can be lots of additional troubles that may convert your divorce into the serious proceeding. The most significant step of the whole filing with the court is the preparation of the documents. We will cover this topic in details.

Do-It-Yourself Divorce in Louisiana

In Louisiana, you have a right to represent yourself in a divorce proceeding without the help of the attorney or other legal bodies. It can appear to be both easy and complex deal. The pros of such a process are obvious: you do not need to spend $500-600 on one hour of the attorney assistance and you can know better, how to deal with your case. The cons are troublesome as well: you can skip one of the most important issues of the divorce procedure, for instance, not to take all the documents. In such a case, your deal will be postponed by the court, and another court hearing can take place in some time. The DIY Divorce is a highly risky procedure, but it gives your a real bargain, according to the fees of all the legal assistance. Anyway, whether to apply it or not, is definitely your decision.

How much does an Uncontested Divorce cost in Louisiana

In general, the cost of the divorce proceeding in Louisiana will cost you $12 700. It is the new fee, updated in 2018. The price includes all the filing fees, additional expenses, even the attorney cost. The price can fluctuate due to the various factors as the preparation of the documents, the Sheriff and lawyer cost, etc. Separation of the assets, child support, and alimony will also be costly. Therefore, you should keep the extra money anyway.  

How Long Does It Take to Get Divorced in Louisiana

If the divorce is an Uncontested one, you will wait 30 days after filing the Petition, and after that, you will get a Divorce Decree. If your case is a Contested one, you will wait far longer. Approximately, the whole process will take 6-7 months or even 1 year. It depends on the complexity of the process.

 

Papers and Documents You Need to Get a Divorce in Louisiana

There is a huge number of different papers for the divorce in Louisiana, but it doesn’t mean, that you need all of them. Be attentive with the documents and choose only those, which are necessary especially for your case.

  • Petition For Divorce Article 102 Form
  • Petition for Divorce Article 103 Form
  • Petitioner’s Affidavit Article 102 Form
  • Petitioner’s Affidavit Article 103 Form
  • Rule to Show Cause Article 102 Form
  • Rule to Show Cause Article 103 Form

 

  • Form 1 – Default Confirmation (La.C.C.Art.103(1))
  • Form 2 – Uncontested Divorce Form (La.C.C.P.Art.969)
  • Form A – Income – Expense Affidavit
  • Form B – Spousal Support/Child Support
  • Form C-1 – Child Support Worksheet
  • Form C-2 – Child Support Worksheet (Equal Sharing)
  • Form D-1 – Case Management Schedule
  • Form D-2 – Case Management Schedule (Community Property)
  • Form E – Application for Ex-Parte Temporary Custody Order
  • Form F – Certification of Applicant’s Attorney
  • Form G-1 – Divorce Form (La.C.C.P.Art.102) (If there are no minor children)
  • Form G-2 – Divorce Form (La.C.C.P.Art.102) (If there are minor children)
  • Form H – Detailed Descriptive List
  • Form I – Pretrial Order
  • Form J – Order
  • Form K – Bid List for Community Property (Moveable)
  • Form L – Findings on Issues of Law and Classification
  • Form M – Judgment of Partition of Community
  • Form N – Notice of the Signing of a Judgment
  • Form O – Written Stipulations

The court requires all these documents, but you won't need all of them. Be sure what exactly the court must have from your side and prepare all the papers online.

How to serve your spouse in Louisiana

In Louisiana, the Superior Court permits to deliver the documents to your spouse by yourself. You may hire the Sheriff as well to serve your spouse with the documentation, but it will cost you an additional fee. The advantage of the Sheriffs is that they can take care of the delivery process until the very end and ask your spouse to sign a Notice of getting the documents. You can also deliver the papers by post or the Certified email. All the means are good and need the efficiency of both spouses.

 

Online Divorce in Louisiana

The Online Divorce is getting more and more popular in Louisiana. It happens because all the divorcing couples want to save their money and do everything rapidly. The online process has its special structure:

  1. You find an online divorce website
  2. You order your documents and pay the stipulated fee
  3. You receive your documents and check the accuracy of them
  4. You Download the documents and file with the court
  5. The Superior Court approves your papers

The whole structure is pretty easy, but it can lead to trouble if you do something wrong or order the documents on the unreliable site. Do business only with the professionals.

Rules for child support in Louisiana

In Louisiana, the state requires both parents to support the children financially till their coming-of-age period. There two types of the parents:

  • A custodial parent
  • A non-custodial parent

The custodial parent means that he/she is responsible for the child’s financial state and wellness. The non-custodial parent does not bear this responsibility due to several reasons.

Before the Superior Court examines a child support case, the spouses should take into account such factors as:

  • The total income of both spouses
  • The number of children in the family
  • The health state of both parents and children
  • The common marital debts
  • The permanent occupation of both spouses
  • The future financial possibilities of both spouses

The Court researches the child custody deal and stipulates the sum of money for the child custody according to the given facts. The judge puts a verdict about the child/children custody, both parents have the equal right to see and take care of their children when and where they want to.

 

Rules for spousal support in Louisiana

The spousal support or the alimony is also an essential part of the divorce process. The State of  Louisiana grants the alimony in case one of the spouses requires a financial support after the divorce process. Alimony is also put down to assist one of the spouses to keep the same living standards as he/she had in the legal marriage. Here are the main items of such a process :

  • The income of both spouses  
  • The marriage term
  • The place of child/children living, who they live with
  • The tax rate
  • The health state of both spouses

The court schedules the spousal hearings (mediation processes), unless they come to the agreement, and the spouses should finally make a common decision about their shares of the spousal support.

Division of property in Louisiana

To divide the marital property equally enough, you need to pay attention to the main issues as:

  • The marital property
  • The individual property

The marital property is under the equal division, but the individual one is the property, you have no rights to share with your spouse. It can be a gift, an inherited property, a property that was bought at your cost, etc. In order to have a division that will satisfy both spouses, you need to prove, that you have all the documents for the individual property. As a rule, the spouses should value the real property cost to exclude any fraud. Usually, the artworks, jewelry, and other expensive things are given to the independent experts by the court. The property division is a long and nerves-consuming proceeding, but anyway, the court will share the property as equally as needed.

Divorce Mediation in Louisiana

The Mediation process is not an obligatory one. It is required by the local court if the case is a Contested one. The main idea of the mediation is to solve a conflict between the spouses and to convert the Contested divorce into the Uncontested one. The procedure of the mediation is really simple:

  • Ex-spouses go to the starting meeting with the mediator to speak about all the issues as for the child custody
  • The mediator points particular time for the meeting schedule convenient for both spouses
  • If you and your spouse agree on all issues, the mediator writes a document-settlement on the terms of each spouse

The Mediator after regulating all the misconceptions signs the legal Notice that the agreement was finally reached due to the process itself.

How to divorce a missing spouse in Louisiana

To divorce a missing spouse, firstly, you need to search for him/her by yourself and then, if nothing happens, you should finally claim to the court that you need help in the searching process. You can announce in the local newspapers, journals, motivators, and leaflets, that your spouse is missed, and you need to find him for the future divorce proceedings. Try to ask his/her neighbors, relatives and friends about your spouse’s location or the current address. Finally, if all the attempts are helpless, you may have a divorce without your missed spouse.

The Default Divorce in Louisiana

The State of Louisiana requires the spouses, willing to get a divorce, to live separately for at least 180 days. The Default Divorce happens if one of the spouses does not want to answer the Petition for the dissolution of marriage. As a rule, before the Default Divorce took place, the spouses tried to reach an agreement, but one of them failed. According to the legislation of Louisiana, a marriage is completed if the court grants the Final Judgment and Decree (Certificate of a Marriage Dissolution). If the there is a second or third attempt to get an understanding, the Superior Court will grant the dissolution of marriage even without the agreement of another spouse.

Default vs No-Fault Divorce

The procedure of getting the divorce can change if you get the attorney’s help or not. In Louisiana,  you cannot have a Default Divorce hearing for at least 31 days after the Final Petition was signed by the Defendant. The No-Fault Divorce, s we have discussed, does not need to have an attorney help or else. It seems to be a much easier proceeding.

How can I get a Default Divorce Hearing in Louisiana

If you are eager to get a Default Divorce hearing, you have to complete the "Application and Affidavit of Default". You have to send by e-mail or hand-deliver one copy to your spouse the day that you filled the "Application and Affidavit of Default" with the Clerk of the Court.  After that, you have to wait 10 days, and the court will schedule the Default Divorce hearing. To file for the Default Divorce, you should remember, that your case is an individual, and requires the greatest attention from both spouses.

Annulment of the marriage in Louisiana

According to the State of Louisiana, the main idea of the annulment is that your current legal marriage is not only finished but also it didn’t exist at all. The grounds for such a process can be as follows:

  • If  one of the spouses is too old or too young for the legal marriage
  • If one of the spouses suddenly became a drug user or an alcoholic, etc
  • If  one of the spouses is mentally or physically ill
  • If the marriage was a result of a fraud

The Superior Court searches for all the evidence of these grounds, and if it really took place, the court annuls the current marriage.

Legal Separation in Louisiana

The Legal Separation in Louisiana can be possible for 180 days before the legal marriage. The process differs from all others because the spouses do not terminate their marriage legally. They live separately, but that’s it. To fill for the legal separation, you need to be a resident of Louisiana for at least one year. The court will not recognize the Petition for the Legal Separation unless the couple does not meet the residency requirements of the State of Louisiana.

The Same-Sex Divorce in Louisiana

The Same-Sex Divorce is the divorce procedure, that permits people with the same gender to divorce. Couples with the same gender may have the same-sex divorce if the residency requirements are met. In Louisiana, the process of the same-sex divorce is a little bit different from the usual divorce process. The spouses should also terminate their domestic cohabitation, as it is considered to be the same as the legal marriage in the State of Louisiana. Nowadays, the same-sex couples have absolutely the same right, therefore, you can file for the same-sex divorce in Louisiana.

Military Divorce in Louisiana

The procedure, in general, is as for the usual residents of the State of California. You should read the information above. The only one problem is to serve your military spouse with the Petition for the divorce procedure. You can send it by Army Post Office or Fleet Post Office address even overseas. If it is a trouble to send the documents by post, you can phone the military office, duty station or the station commander to help you with the delivery of the documents.

How to divorce a spouse in a jail in Louisiana?

Firstly, you need to speak with a Court Clerk about your case. You can send all the essential documents for the divorce to your spouse via post or conduct a hand-delivery. The process takes the same time as a standard divorce proceeding. You have to agree with your spouse all the issues and stipulate all the misunderstanding in order to find especially your case.

Divorce filing fee

In general, you have to pay for the divorce process approximately $16 000 including the attorney fee, additional expenses, as we told above. The cost can vary due to the complicity of the case. With the preparation of the documents online, you will pay twice less.

You can pay for the divorce either by credit card or cash for the particular account, for 7 days after delivering a Petition to the court. In different courts, the price and waiting time can vary. You should check all the information before beginning the process.

Can a filing fee be waived?

In Louisiana, the fee for the divorce may be waived.

You have to get a Sheet on Waiver of the Superior Court Fees, fill out all the forms, online or by yourself, sign the Request to Waive Court Fees (Form FW-001) under penalty, obtain the Forms required at the Louisiana Court, make 3 copies of all the documents about the Waiver, and the final step will be to file for the Court all the needed documents with the Waiver as well.

NB! You don’t have to send the documents to the ?ourt by email. It is a strict rule for all the counties.

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