Are you and your spouse considering divorce in Louisiana?
Although the state’s number of divorces has dropped in recent years, Louisiana still holds the fourth-highest divorce rate in the country.
What do you need to know about Louisiana divorce laws? Here are four key points to consider.
1. Length of Separation Required
Unlike some states, Louisiana requires couples to already be living apart for a certain length of time before they can file for divorce.
If the couple has no children from the marriage, the state requires them to live separately for at least 180 days. If there are minor children involved, the required separation period is one year.
After the appropriate length of time has passed, the couple may then pursue a divorce. If the couple entered into a covenant marriage, they’re required to get marital counseling before pursuing a divorce.
2. Grounds for Divorce
Aside from living separately (as outlined above), Louisiana does not require specific grounds for divorce.
If one spouse chooses to pursue fault-based grounds for divorce, the two acceptable grounds are adultery or a felony conviction.
In a covenant marriage, the same grounds for divorce apply. A divorce may also be granted on the grounds of abandonment for at least a year or physical or sexual abuse of the spouse or children.
Is it better to have grounds for a divorce? It depends on your situation. When determining child custody or alimony, a judge will certainly take each spouse’s moral fitness into consideration.
3. Dividing Marital Property
In the absence of a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement, marital assets should be divided evenly between divorcing spouses.
If desired, the couple can work out their own “separation agreement” about how to divide their debts and assets. A court will review the agreement to ensure the divisions are fair and reasonable.
What about any assets acquired before the marriage took place? These are considered separate property and are not eligible for division during the divorce process.
If you have questions about your situation, a family law attorney can explain everything to you in more detail.
4. Determining Child Custody
Unless one parent poses a danger to the child, most courts favor a joint custody arrangement. This ensures that both parents remain an active part of their children’s lives.
When it comes to child support, the state will take many factors into consideration. This includes each parent’s gross income, the number of children requiring support, and any extraordinary needs of the children.
The judge will also review the couple’s debts and assets and awarded alimony when making decisions about child support payments.
Final Thoughts on Louisiana Divorce Laws
The points listed above will give you a head-start to understanding divorce law in Louisiana.
Of course, there’s a lot more to Louisiana divorce laws than a single article can explain. That’s why it’s essential to speak to a knowledgeable attorney who can guide you through the process.
At Bowie & Beresko APLC, we understand that every family–and every divorce–is unique. Contact us today to discuss your situation. We can help you find the best solution for yourself and your family.