Louisiana divorce details
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Uncontested vs Contested Divorce
Uncontested divorce is the most preferred method of terminating a legal marriage. The main idea of such a divorce is that there are no faults. The Superior Court approves this type of divorce relatively quickly as it tends to be more simple. In comparison, a contested one demands the help of lawyers, longer waiting times, and stressful court hearings. Furthermore, it typically costs much more than an uncontested divorce due as the fee to hire attorneys can get quite expensive.
Uncontested Divorce in Louisiana
There are several grounds for an uncontested divorce:
- Conviction of one of the spouses
- Physical or sexual abuse of one of the spouse and/or children
- Legal separation for two years or more
- Incurable illness of one of the spouses
These grounds do not have to be proved in court as the process is a No-Fault one. Furthermore, there are several issues that spouses must agree on:
- Child custody and visitation
- Rate of both spouses
- Property division
- Alimony (spousal support)
The main idea of an uncontested divorce is to complete the process of marriage dissolution as fast as possible.
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Louisiana Residency Requirements to file for the divorce
There are several residency requirements that must be met to file for divorce in Louisiana:
- The Petitioner of the divorce should be a resident of Louisiana for no less than 12 months. The Defendant should also be a resident of the State of Louisiana, but the terms are not as strict
- The Final Judgment will be given only if both spouses have signed the documents for the divorce and waited for 180 days after signing the Petition (Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure - Article: 42)
How to file for an Uncontested Divorce
There are several steps to file for an uncontested divorce in Louisiana:
- Make sure about the type of your divorce case
- Prepare the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
- Prepare all other necessary documents
- Serve your spouse with all the paperwork
- Wait a certain time
- Get your uncontested divorce
The steps seem pretty straightforward, but it is important to make sure complete all of them correctly. The most important step of the entire process is the preparation of documents, which we will cover in more depth later.
Do-It-Yourself Divorce in Louisiana
In Louisiana, you have the right to complete all the steps of the divorcess process including document preparation and representation in court without the help of an attorney. It has both its advantages and disadvantages. Since you are responsible for your own case, you typically have a better idea of how to deal with it. Furthermore, such a process can be a lot cheaper since you are not required to pay to hire an attorney. However, such a process can be difficult to deal with since you are solely responsible for everything. If you complete a certain step of the divorce process incorrectly, you risk having your case postponed, and in some cases, rejected by the court. Overall, the DIY divorce process can be a pretty risky procedure, but can be a real bargain if you are fully aware of what needs to be done.
How much does an Uncontested Divorce cost in Louisiana
In general, the average cost of a divorce proceeding in Louisiana is $12,700. This includes all the filing fees, additional expenses, and the cost to hire an attorney. The final price can fluctuate depending on various factors such as how the documents are prepared and whether you decide to hire a lawyer or not. Resolving complex issues such as division of property, child support, and alimony may also contribute to an increase in the final cost.
How Long Does It Take to Get Divorced in Louisiana
For an uncontested one, you just need to wait for 30 days after filing Petition to receive your divorce decree. A contested case takes longer. On average, the process can take anywhere from 6 months up to 1 year. It really depends on the complexity of the case.
How to serve your spouse in Louisiana
In Louisiana, there are several ways to serve your spouse with the divorce paperwork. You may hire the Sheriff to serve your spouse, but this will cost you an additional fee. The advantage of this method is that the Sheriff takes responsibility of the entire serving process and also provide you with confirmation once it is complete. You can also deliver the documents either through the post or by certified mail. All these are recognized and efficient methods to spouse your spouse.
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Documents You Need to Get a Divorce in Louisiana
Below is a list of the basic documents you will need to file for divorce in Louisiana. However, not all of them might be required as it depends on your individual 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
Online Divorce in Louisiana
Online divorce has been gaining in popularity over the years in Louisiana because of how efficient and cheap the process is. It has several steps:
- Find an online divorce website
- Order the documents and pay the stipulated fee
- Receive the documents and check their accuracy
- Download the documents and file them with the court
- Receive approval from the Superior Court
The process is quite simple, but it is still important to make sure to pick a reliable website and complete all the steps correctly.
Rules for child support in Louisiana
In Louisiana, the state requires both parents to support their children financially until the come of age. The two parents are put into two categories:
- Custodial parent
- Non-custodial parent
The custodial parent is the one responsible for the child’s financial state and wellness. The non-custodial parent does not bear this responsibility due to some reasons.
Before the Superior Court examines a child support case, the spouses should take into account such factors as:
- Total income of both spouses
- Number of children in the family
- Health state of both parents and children
- Common marital debts
- Permanent occupation of both spouses
- Future financial outlook of both spouses
The Court takes into consideration all these factors when making a decision regarding child custody and financial support.
Rules for spousal support in Louisiana
Spousal support, or alimony, is also an essential part of the divorce process. The State of Louisiana grants alimony in the case when one of the spouses requires financial support after the divorce process. The main idea is to assist the more dependent spouse maintain the same living standards that they had during the marriage.There are several factors that are taken into consideration when determining spousal support:
- Income of both spouses
- The marriage term
- Where and with whom the child will be living with
- The tax rate
- Health state of both spouses
The court mandates a mediation process if the spouses are unable to come to an agreement regarding spousal support in order to help them negotiate.
Division of property in Louisiana
In order to divide property fairly, you must distinguish between marital and individual property.
Marital property refers to any property or gifts that were obtained during the marriage. Individual property includes any property that the spouses individually owned prior to the marriage. Since only marital property is divided and individual property is not subject to division, the spouses will have to provide documented proof of it. If there are any issues distinguishing between the two, couples could consult the help of independent experts.
Divorce Mediation in Louisiana
Although the process of mediation is not mandatory, it is required in cases where the divorce is contested. The main purpose of mediation is to help resolve conflicts between the spouses in hopes of converting the case into an uncontested one. The process of mediation is quite simple:
- The spouses attend a scheduled meeting with the mediator in order to negotiate the terms of divorce.
- The mediator appoints another meeting that is convenient for both spouses.
- If the spouses agree on all the issues, the mediator creates a document-settlement with the terms of each spouse
After regulating all the misconceptions, the mediator signs the legal Notice that an agreement has finally been reached between the two spouses.
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How to divorce a missing spouse in Louisiana
In order to divorce a missing spouse, you must first try your best to locate them. If you are unsuccessful and are able to prove to the court of your attempts, the court will allow you to announce your intent to divorce in the local newspaper in hopes of it reaching your missing spouse. If your spouse is still failed to be located, you will be granted the divorce without their participation.
Default Divorce in Louisiana
The State of Louisiana requires spouses who are willing to get a divorce to live separately for at least 180 days. A default divorce occurs when one of the spouses fails or refuses to answer the Petition. According to the legislation, a marriage is terminated when the court grants the Final Judgement and Decree (Certificate of Marriage Dissolution). If there is a second or third attempt to reach an understanding, the Superior Court will grant the dissolution even without the agreement of the other spouse.
Default vs No-Fault Divorce
The process of getting a divorce can change depending on whether you request the help of an attorney or not. For a default divorce hearing, you cannot get it until at least 31 days after the Final Petition is signed by the Defendant. A No-Fault divorce does not require the help of an attorney, so the proceedings are much faster and easier.
How can I get a Default Divorce Hearing in Louisiana
If you are eager to get a default divorce, you have to complete the “Application and Affidavit of Default”. You must either hand-deliver or email a copy of this to your spouse the day you file it with the Court Clerk. You must then wait 10 days for the court to schedule your default divorce hearing.
Annulment of the marriage in Louisiana
Annulment is the process that recognizes a marriage as null, or as it never existed. There are several grounds for annulment in Louisiana:
- One of the spouses was too young or too old at the time or marriage registration
- One of the spouses became a drug-addict or alcoholic after marriage
- One of the spouses is mentally or physically ill
- The marriage was a result of a fraud
Legal Separation in Louisiana
Legal separation can be possible for a period of 180 days before terminating a legal marriage. The process differs from an actual divorce because the spouses are still considered to be legally married; they only live separately. To file for legal separation, you must be a resident of Louisiana for at least one year. The court will not recognize the Petition for legal separation unless the couple meet the residency requirements of the State.
Same-Sex Divorce in Louisiana
Same-sex couples can file for divorce if they meet the standard residency requirements of the state. The process itself is slightly different from the normal divorce procedure: same-sex spouses must also terminate their domestic cohabitation, as they are considered to be legally married. Nowadays, same-sex couples have exactly the same rights as heterosexual couples when it comes to divorce.
Military Divorce in Louisiana
The process of divorce with a military spouse is pretty much the same as a regular civil divorce. The one slight difference is the method of serving your military spouse. You can deliver the divorce paperwork through the Army Post Office or the Fleet Post Office if your spouse is stationed overseas. If you have any issues sending the documents by post, you can contact the military office to help you deliver them to your spouse.
How to divorce a spouse in a jail in Louisiana
You should speak with the Court Clerk for more detail regarding your case. You can deliver all the required paperwork for divorce to your spouse by hand or the post. The rest of the process is the same as a standard divorce proceeding.
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Divorce filing fee
Court filing fees are in addition to the cost of using DivorceFiller.com. This cost may vary by county. Please check with your local courthouse to determine the exact amount.
Can a filing fee be waived?
The filing fee may be waived for indigent spouses. You must fill out the Sheet on Waiver of the Superior Court Fees, sign the Request to Waive Court Fees (Form FW-001) under penalty, make 3 copies of all the documents, and file them with the court. The court will then review and approve your request.
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