Getting a Divorce in Louisiana

Q: When do I need a divorce?
A: You need a divorce to end a valid marriage.

Q: When can I file for a divorce in Louisiana?
A: Generally, a “no fault” divorce in Louisiana can be filed if you or your spouse has lived in Louisiana for at least 6 months. You may be able to file sooner if have “domicile” in Louisiana.

In Louisiana, divorce is usually based on living separate and apart for:
     • 180 days if there are no minor (under the age of 18) children.
     • 365 days if there are minor (under the age of 18) children.
     • 2 years if you have a “covenant marriage” and you meet other requirements.

Domestic violence, a felony conviction, or adultery may allow you to file earlier in some cases.

Q: Where can I file for divorce in Louisiana?
A: You must file in the state district court for your parish:
     • where you or your spouse is living (legal residence or “domicile”), or
     • where you last lived together with your spouse (called the “last matrimonial domicile”)

Q: Do I have to prove “fault” to get a divorce?
A: No. You don’t need “fault” to file for divorce in Louisiana. Most people get a “no fault” divorce based on living separate and apart for 180 days, 365 days, or 2 years. The separation time required for your divorce depends on several facts:

     • whether you have minor children
     • whether you can prove domestic violence
     • whether you have a “covenant marriage”

But if you want to, you can ask a court to give you a divorce based on the “fault” of your spouse. The grounds for a divorce on “fault” are a felony conviction or adultery. Adultery is difficult to prove. So, most people don’t file for divorce based on adultery.

Q: Do I have to get a separation order before I get a divorce?
A: No. But if you have a “covenant marriage”, you may want to file for a legal separation before getting a divorce. Most people don’t have a covenant marriage.

Q: How long does it take to get a divorce in Louisiana?
A: It depends on such things as:

     • how long does it take to serve your spouse with the divorce, or
     • if your spouse will waiver his/her right to service, all legal delays, and notice of trial.
        (Ask your spouse.)