Louisiana Divorce Laws – What Are the Basic Steps?

Louisiana Divorce Laws - What Are the Basic Steps

New Orleans is one of the oldest cities in America, and Bourbon Street is considered to be one of the most fun party areas in the country.

If your marriage feels like no fun, you may need to examine the divorce laws in Louisiana.

Louisiana divorce laws – adultery

Divorce law in Louisiana does allow a spouse to terminate a marriage on the basis of adultery, or other “fault” grounds like abuse or felonious behavior.   

That said, most divorces in Louisiana or any other state are granted on a “no-fault” basis.  That just means that nobody did anything wrong in the eyes of the law. The couple simply wants to break up and go their separate ways.

The decision of how to file for divorce in Louisiana is a little more complicated than other states.

In Louisiana, the process for a no fault divorce requires living separately for a year for couples with children, or six months for couples without children.  This can be a huge burden. A couple living separately but still legally bound can have trouble moving or making major purchases.

For that reason, fault divorce is a little more common under divorce laws in Louisiana compared to other states because fault can be used to speed up the process.

A spouse found at fault is also unable to collect alimony.

Filing for divorce in Louisiana

Filing for divorce in Louisiana

The divorce process in Louisiana starts for most couples with a separation.

This does not require any specific legal steps.  No paperwork necessarily needs to be filed. Instead, one spouse simply needs to move out of the house.  A couple may want to put a separation agreement in place, and can begin to work towards settling their finances and issues related to children.  They then generally have to wait for the necessary time to run.

In other words, if you are wondering how to get a divorce in Louisiana you should probably just move out and then finish the legal process later.

Louisiana divorce forms

Many of the courts in Louisiana maintain databases of forms that the public can use to complete a divorce without a lawyer.

Louisiana alimony laws

Alimony in Louisiana comes in two firms: final and interim.

A judge has a lot of leeway in determining how much alimony should be awarded.  For final alimony, which includes periodic payments that will be ongoing until a spouse dies or gets remarried, a judge has to look at issues like the income of each spouse and the duration of the marriage.

A judge can also require interim support to be paid for 180 days after the divorce, which is basically to help one spouse get back on their feet.

How is child support calculated in Louisiana?

Louisiana has guidelines that consider issues like each parent’s income and then calculate a support amount that is usually followed by the courts.

How much does a divorce cost in Louisiana

A simple divorce can be completed for a few hundred dollars, but costs can escalate quickly when lawyers get involved.

A study from the New Orleans Bar Association found attorneys charging anywhere from $125 to $400 per hour and because it is impossible to estimate how long a divorce will take, most lawyers will refuse to give estimates up front.

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