Getting a divorce is not an easy decision to make for most people. Fortunately, once you decide to end your marriage, the Louisiana legal system makes the process fairly straightforward, possibly without a lawyer. As long as you meet certain requirements, beginning the divorce process can be as simple as filling out the appropriate Louisiana divorce papers and submitting them to the state district court in your parish. Completing divorce documents online with CompleteCase.com can make the process even easier by selecting the right documents for your needs and helping you complete them correctly.
We’ve gathered the following information to help you understand the divorce process in Louisiana, and how to begin moving forward with your own divorce.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) collects data on divorce rates for states all across the country. However, Louisiana is one of the states that does not submit divorce data to the CDC.
Divorce in Louisiana is generally “no-fault”, meaning you do not have to place the blame for the divorce on one party in order to end the marriage. You only have to meet the requirements for a no-fault divorce. In Louisiana this means living apart for 180 days if you have no children with your spouse, living apart for 365 days if you do have minor children with your spouse, or living apart for two years if you are in what is known as a “covenant marriage”. In addition, the residency requirements in Louisiana for getting a divorce are six months. Either you or your spouse must have lived in the state for that long for you to file for divorce.
The fastest way to get divorced in the Louisiana is to seek an “uncontested divorce”. Uncontested means that you and your spouse are in agreement about all aspects of the divorce, including the need to get divorced, the division of property and how you will take care of your children (if you have any).
If you are worried about the ability of you and your spouse to come to an agreement on these issues, you may seek the help of a professional divorce mediator. If you find yourself in a more complicated situation, you’ll likely want to seek the advice of a divorce attorney.
Although you can review general information about the Louisiana legal system on the Louisiana Judicial Branch website, you won’t find forms for getting a divorce there. The Louisiana Law Help website, a non-profit site, offers some information on divorce in the state, as well as some downloadable divorce forms that you can fill out. It is best to read as much information as you can on divorce in Louisiana before you begin to file your documents. The more you know about divorce and your rights, the better you will be able to look out for your best interests.
The exact divorce papers you’ll need to complete will vary based on your individual circumstances and the parish where you are file. You should contact your local court clerk to verify that you are completing all necessary documents. At the minimum, you will want to complete the “Petition for Divorce” and the “Verification” forms. Avoid singing your forms, especially any sworn statements or affidavits, unless you are in the presence of a notary. You can usually find a notary at the court where you file your documents, but it is worth checking before you bring in your documentation.
If you are feeling confused or overwhelmed by the amount of options and forms available to you, understand that this is normal. For many people, the easiest route is to use an online divorce paper preparation service like CompleteCase.com. Our service will guide you by choosing the right divorce papers for Louisiana and our experts help you complete the forms accurately. Complete and accurate completion will prevent unnecessary delays and added costs to your divorce.
When you have completed all of your Louisiana divorce papers, you will need to file them in the district court for the parish where either you or your spouse reside. Make at least two copies of your divorce documents, one for your records and one to serve to your spouse. You will want to call ahead to verify that you are bringing everything you need to the court, including a form of payment accepted by the court to pay the state filing fee. You can also have the filing fee waived if you complete an “Affidavit to Proceed In Forma Pauperis”, a form the clerk can provide. The clerk will stamp your documents and date them after your fee is considered paid.
You will want to serve your spouse as soon as you have filed with the clerk. Louisiana offers several ways to serve the divorce papers to your spouse. The easiest method is to hand deliver the documents and have your spouse to sign a “Waiver of Service” form, but you need to be on good terms with your spouse to use this option. If you are not on good terms you can serve your spouse by certified mail or with the help of a sheriff's deputy. If you use certified mail, you will need to obtain a return receipt that verifies the documents were delivered. You will file this receipt with the court. If you use the sheriff, you will need to pay a fee. When the divorce papers are served, the sheriff will give you a document verifying the service. You will file this with the court. If your spouse is difficult to locate, you can discuss it with the court to find other options for service, such as service by publication in a newspaper.
How long it takes for your divorce to be finalized depends on the circumstances. If you and your spouse agree on everything, it can take as little as 20 to 40 days after the papers are served. If you are not in agreement, it can take considerably longer.