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Louisiana divorce laws: What you need to know before filing

On Behalf of | Nov 3, 2023 | Divorce |

Divorce is a life-altering decision, and navigating the legal aspects can be complex.  In 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the Lousiana divorce rate was 2.2 per 1,000 people.

If you are contemplating divorce in Louisiana, it is essential to grasp the key aspects of the state’s divorce laws before proceeding.

Residency requirements

To file for divorce in Louisiana, you or your spouse must meet specific residency requirements. At least one party must be a resident of Louisiana for at least one year before filing for divorce. In the case of couples with children, the residency requirement may extend to two years of continuous residence in the state.

Grounds for divorce

Louisiana law recognizes both fault-based and no-fault grounds for divorce. The most common no-fault ground is living separately for 180 days before filing. Fault-based grounds include adultery, conviction of a felony, cruelty or abandonment.

Division of property

Louisiana is a community property state, which means that property you acquire during the marriage has equal ownership between you and your spouse. However, certain exceptions and nuances exist for some types of property that may allow you to maintain sole ownership.

Child custody and support

Courts will base child custody and support arrangements on the best interests of the child. Louisiana courts encourage joint custody arrangements whenever feasible, allowing both parents to maintain a role in their children’s lives. State guidelines determine the calculation of child support, considering factors like each parent’s income and the child’s needs.

Spousal support

Louisiana law allows for spousal support or alimony. The court may award spousal support based on factors such as the duration of the marriage, the financial needs of the recipient spouse and the ability of the paying spouse to provide support.

Waiting period

In Louisiana, there is a waiting period before finalizing a divorce. For couples with no minor children, this period is 180 days. If you have minor children, the waiting period extends to 365 days. During this time, couples often work on resolving issues related to property, custody and support.

Mandatory counseling

Louisiana law mandates that couples with minor children must complete a counseling session before finalizing a divorce. The purpose of this requirement is to explore reconciliation or to ensure that parents understand the impact of divorce on their children.

Navigating the intricacies of Louisiana divorce laws can be daunting, but being well-informed can make the process more manageable. Remember that divorce laws can evolve, so staying up-to-date with the most recent legislation is essential to ensure you protect your rights throughout the process.

Schnaars Law Firm, LLC


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