Divorce in Louisiana
Because of the prevalence of marital breakdown in today’s society, almost everyone has been or could be affected by spouses physically separating and seeking a divorce. Terminating a marriage may involve custody, spousal/child support and property rights.
Termination of MarriagesMarriages are terminated in Louisiana in four ways: (1) Death of either spouse, (2) Divorce, (3) Declaration of nullity of the marriage, or (4) Presumption of death. It should be noted that Louisiana no longer has an action for legal separation, effective January 1, 1991, except in the case of a covenant marriage.
DivorceThree Grounds for Divorce in Louisiana- (1) Living Separate and Apart: The requisite time periods necessary for living separate and apart before obtaining a judgment of divorce are as follows: 180 days in cases where there are no minor children of the marriage; and 365 days where there are minor children of the marriage. Other special rules may apply. (A) Living separate and apart before filing of the divorce petition. If the parties have already lived separate and apart for the requisite time period, continuously and without reconciliation, either spouse may filed for the divorce. (B) Living separate and apart after filing of a petition. One a Petition for Divorce has been filed and the parties remain separate and apart, either spouse may ask the court to finalize a divorce after the requisite 180 or 365 days have passed following either service of the petition, written waiver of said service, or physical separation (whichever is later)., (C) Covenant marriage., (2) Adultery. Adultery on the part of the other spouse is grounds for an immediate divorce; there is no required waiting period. The burden of proof is on the party alleging the adultery and is very strict. Corroborative testimony is requires and it must be proven that the other spouse engaged in sexual relations with another person. (3) Conviction of a Felony. If the other spouse has committed a felony and has been sentenced to death or imprisonment at hard labor, a petition for divorce can be filed. The facts of conviction and sentencing are the only proof requirements; appeals and actual serving of the sentence are immaterial.
Declaration of NullityA marriage can be judicially declared null and void when the consent of one of the espouse was not freely given at the time of the marriage. The right to ask for this declaration of nullity is lost if the complaining spouse subsequently "confirmed" the marriage. A marriage is absolutely null and considered as having never occurred (and, therefore, cannot be "confirmed") if: The marriage was contracted without a ceremony, stand-ins were used, it was a bigamous marriage; or it is precluded by a familial relationship. Because these types of marriages are absolutely null, there is no need for a judicial declaration.
Presumption of DeathIf a spouse disappears under circumstances that make death seem certain, although the body has not been found, a proceeding can be filed to have the death recognized by law, thereby terminating the marriage.