Louisiana Divorce & Separation
Separations and divorces are common in every state, but the laws and rules that govern these processes in each state can vary widely. It’s important to know the details of the laws in your state. What are the requirements for getting a divorce in Louisiana? Is mediation a requirement before you can get a Louisiana divorce? What is Louisiana law on annulments? Find the answers to your Louisiana divorce questions here.
Louisiana Legal Separation:
Legal separations are allowed in Louisiana. Separations do not end the marital relationship like a divorce would, but they can resolve nearly every other issue arising out of a previous marriage. A separation decree will be granted if jurisdictional and residency requirements for a divorce are met, the marriage is irretrievably broken, and all issues regarding child custody and child support have been arranged for.
Grounds for Divorce/Fault – No Fault:
Louisiana has both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce. For no-fault divorces, the parties need simply show an “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage” for grounds. A fault-based divorce, on the other hand, requires more specific grounds to be established, for instance: adultery, one party’s “intolerable behavior,” abandonment for one year, or both parties having lived separate and apart for more than two years.
Residency/Where to File for Divorce:
The plaintiff or the defendant must be a resident of Louisiana for 12 months before filing. If in the military, the party must have been stationed in the state, with his/her military presence maintained for the 180-day period preceding the filing of the petition.
Availability of Simplified or Special Divorce Procedures:
There are no particular simplified divorce procedures available in Louisiana, though minor time-saving and paper-saving measures do exist. For instance, waiver of service is allowed if the defendant and a credible witness both sign off on it. Similarly, uncontested divorces can be heard before a court clerk or by sworn statements (rather than having to appear before a judge).
Louisiana Divorce/Child Support/Child Custody Lawyers:
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Divorce Mediation in Louisiana:
The Louisiana “Mandatory Mediation Prior to Trial” statute requires couples to engage in mandatory mediation (alternative dispute resolution) before litigating their case in court. The circumstances in which mediation is mandatory include 1) whenever all parties agree to it, 2) upon motion by any party, with the requesting party paying the costs of mediation, and 3) upon order by the trial court, with costs allocated amongst the parties.
An annulment is a court declaration that your marriage is legally invalid. In other words, rather than ending a marriage via divorce, an annulment is a declaration that the marriage was never valid to begin with, for reasons including: fraud, duress, one party’s minor status, consanguinity, and in some cases the failure to consummate the marriage (by the time of the action) may be sufficient for a judge to void the marriage.
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