Louisiana Divorce Information and
In addition to a No-Fault ground, there are three accepted grounds for
divorce in Louisiana:
(1) The spouses have been living separate and apart for a period of 6
months or longer; (2) Adultery; (3) Spouse has committed a felony and has
been sentenced to death or imprisonment with hard labor.
A "No-Fault" divorce may be had if one spouse desires a
divorce. There are no requirements to show marital breakdown, fault,
living separate and apart, or any other basis for a divorce. After the
filing of the petition, the divorce will be granted after a period of 180
days has elapsed from the filing date and if the spouses have lived
separate and apart since the filing of the divorce petition.
Venue An action for divorce can be filed in the parish where either
party is domiciled, or in the parish where the spouses last lived
Spousal Support In Louisiana, there are two types of Spousal Support
(sometimes called "Alimony"). (1) Temporary Support: Awarded to
a spouse who does not have sufficient income for his or her maintenance
pending the divorce. The most important factor considered by the court is
the standard of living which existed during the marriage.
(2) Post-Divorce Spousal Support (a.k.a. "Permanent
Alimony"): Post-Divorce Spousal Support is designed to provide the
needy ex-spouse with the basic necessities of life. Post-Divorce Spousal
Support can be awarded to an ex-spouse who is found to be free from fault
in the breakdown of the marriage and does not have sufficient means for
his or her own support.
The fault of the paying party is not relevant to the issue of spousal
support. However, the receiving spouse must show that he or she is not at
fault. There are no hard statutory rules defining "fault" for
purposes of spousal support-- the determination is left to the court,
based on the authority of previous cases and some guidance from the civil
Other spousal support matters The amount of temporary spousal support
is based on the standard of living maintained before the divorce. The
amount of post-divorce spousal support is based on the needy party's
requirements and the payor's ability to pay. Temporary spousal support
ends when the marriage is officially disolved. Post-Divorce spousal
support ends when the receiving party remarries, dies, no longer needs the
money for basic necessities (ie- has enough income to cover these), or
lives with another person openly as if they were married. The parties
could also agree to a "lump sum" payment, which would end when
the lump sum is paid off, whether paid all at once or in installments over
time, depending on the specifics of the agreement.
Child Support Louisiana has guidelines for determining the amount of
support that should be provided for one or more children. The parent who
does not have custody of the child will usually be required to contribute
to the support of any minor children. Parents often agree on the amount of
child support. If the parents cannot agree, the court will use the
guidelines in determining the amount. A table containing the relevant
amounts is included wiht your USLF divorce (with children) package. The
guidelines take into account expenses of the child and the paying parent's
income. Items like private school or day care are decided on a
Child Custody Parents often agree on child custody. If child custody is
an issue, a contested divorce will result (contested divorces are outside
the scope of the USLF divore package). You and your spouse should try to
decide the custody arrangements for the children and what the visitation
schedule should be without the help of the court. If the parents cannot
agree, the court will decide on custody and visitation. The court will
consider the following factors when making decisons about child custody:
1. The relationship between each parent and the children. 2. The care
or concern undertaken by each parent. 3. The current residence of the
children and the overall effect of changing the residence. 4. The amount
of time each parent can spend with the children. 5. The emotional and
financial stability of each parent. 6. How each parent treats the other.
7. The expressed desires of the children (though the child is not allowed
to decide, the court makes the final decision).
Each case is unique, the court will make the ultimate decision in view
of the "best interest of the child".
Division of Property The general rule in Louisiana is that everything
acquired by the spouses during the marriage is owned by them equally.
"Community property" is that which is acquired during the
marriage through the effort, skill or industry of either spouse, property
donated to the spouses jointly and other property not classified as
"separate." "Separate property" is property owned
before marriage, individual gifts during marriage and inherited property.
Separate property is usually not divisable. If the parties cannot agree on
the division of the property, the court wiull divide the property as
equitably as possible. Though the conduct of the parties can effect the
granting of divorce and custody, the conduct of the parties has NO EFFECT
on property division (unless there are unusual circumstances).