DIY Divorce Guide

Uncontested Louisiana Divorce Information

Complete divorce guide with state requirements and laws.
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Louisiana Divorce: Basics and Overview

This is a quick and easy guide to the basics of the uncontested divorce process in Louisiana. Learn more about online divorce in Louisiana and how to file for divorce in Louisiana.

  • Louisiana’s residency requirement for divorce: To get a divorce in Louisiana, one or both spouses must be “domiciled” in the state for at least six months before filing. Being “domiciled” in Louisiana means having established and maintained a residence in a parish of Louisiana. (La. Code Civ. Proc. art. 10 (2022).)
  • No-fault grounds for divorce in Louisiana: Louisiana allows both “no-fault” and “fault-based” divorces. A no-fault divorce is one in which the court doesn’t require either spouse to prove that the other committed the bad act that caused the marriage to end. In a fault-based divorce, one or both of the spouses must show that the other’s actions caused the marriage to fail.

    To get a no-fault divorce in Louisiana, you must live separately and apart from your spouse for a certain period of time before the court can finalize the divorce:

    • 365 consecutive days if you have minor children, or
    • 180 consecutive days if you don’t have minor children.

    You’ll choose the type of no-fault divorce based on whether you’ve already completed the required separation period when you first file your papers:

    • Article 102 divorce is for couples who haven’t been living separately long enough at the time they start the divorce process–although they’ll still have to meet the separation requirement (180 or 365 days from the time the divorce petition was served) by the time they get their final divorce.
    • Article 103 divorce is for couples who have met the separation requirements as of the day the divorce petition is filed.

    (La. Civ. Code art. 102, 103, 103.1 (2022).)

  • Requirements for uncontested divorce: To get an uncontested divorce in Louisiana, you and your spouse must agree on all the issues in your divorce, including how to divide your property, alimony, and–if you have minor children–child custody and child support. You must also satisfy the separation requirements (see above).
  • Timeline for uncontested divorce in Louisiana: Once the required separation period is over, the judge can grant the petition for uncontested divorce. The amount of time it will take for the court to finalize your divorce depends largely on the court’s schedule. In most cases, the divorce will be granted between two weeks and six months from the time the papers are filed (as long as the separation period is complete).
  • Separation requirements for divorce in Louisiana? To get a no-fault divorce in Louisiana, you must live separately and apart from your spouse for a certain period of time before the court can finalize the divorce:

    • 365 consecutive days if you have minor children, or
    • 180 consecutive days if you don’t have minor children.

    (La. Civ. Code art. 102, 103, 103.1 (2022).)

  • Legal terms used in Louisiana divorce cases: A “petition” for divorce is the main document you file to ask the court for a divorce. The “petitioner” or “plaintiff” is the person who files the divorce, and the “respondent” or “defendant” is the non-filing spouse. Some Louisiana courts might call divorce a “dissolution” or “dissolution of marriage.”
  • Where to file for divorce in Louisiana: Divorces must be filed in the parish where either party lives or in the parish where the spouses last lived together. (La. Code Civ. Proc. art. 3941 (2022).) Check the Louisiana State Bar Association’s website to get the contact information for the court in your parish.
  • Main divorce papers to file: For an uncontested divorce, the main forms are the petition for divorce (which petition you use will depend on whether you have children and whether you are filing an Article 102 or 103 divorce), a form verifying the petition, and a proposed judgment of divorce. Most parishes have their own forms that you should use–check with the clerk of the court where you’ll be filing.
  • Requirements for serving a spouse with divorce papers: When you and your spouse agree that you want to divorce, the non-filing spouse can file a waiver of service of process. (La. Code Civ. Proc. art. 3957 (2022).) This means that you won’t have to serve your spouse with the divorce papers. If your spouse won’t sign a waiver, you’ll need to serve the paperwork on your spouse within 90 days of filing the petition. (La. Code Civ. Proc. art. 3955 (2022).) If your spouse lives in Louisiana, you’ll have to ask the court to have a sheriff or law enforcement officer serve the paperwork on your spouse at home or at work. (La. Code Civ. Proc. art 1231 (2022).) If your spouse lives out of state, you’ll need to ask the clerk for a Citation for Long Arm Service when you file. You can then serve your spouse via certified mail, return receipt requested. (La. Rev. Stat. § 3204 (2022).) There are other methods of service available if your spouse is missing.
  • Louisiana Child Support Guidelines: Like all U.S. states, Louisiana has guidelines for calculating the amount of child support that parents should pay. Whether the parents have an agreement on the amount of child support or a judge makes a decision on the issue, the level of support may not differ from what it would be under the guidelines unless the judge has found (and explains why) ordering the guideline amount would be “inequitable to the parties” under the circumstances or wouldn’t be in the child’s best interests. (La. Rev. Stat. § 315.1 (2022).) 3StepDivorce™ provides the Louisiana Child Support Guideline Worksheets, so you can easily calculate the state's guideline level of support.
  • Louisiana rules on child custody: Whether parents have agreed on custody-related issues for their children or a judge has to decide for them, Louisiana child custody laws require that the parenting plan serves the children’s best interests.
  • Louisiana rules on property division: Louisiana is a community property state. In community property states, courts divide a couple’s marital property equally between the spouses. The same applies to debts—the court will split any debts incurred during marriage 50-50 between the spouses. The spouses will keep their separate property—such as items they owned before marriage and inheritances—after the divorce. As with other issues in a divorce, couples may reach their own agreement on how to divide their property and debts, but the court will review the agreement to make sure that it serves the spouses’ best interests and that they understand the laws governing the agreement. (La. Civ. Code art. 2329 (2022).)
  • Parenting class requirements: Either parent can request the court to order that the spouses take a parenting class. The court can also decide on its own to order the parents to take a class. The court can divide up the costs of the program between the parents in any way it deems equitable. (La. Rev. Stat. § 331.2 (2022).)
  • Financial disclosure requirements in Louisiana: Although there is no state law requiring the parties to make financial disclosures, each court has its own rules and forms, and many might require you to disclose your financial situation. Ask the court clerk for clarification about the local requirements.
  • Hearing requirements to finalize divorce in Louisiana: Many uncontested divorces are finalized without a hearing. However, the judge has the discretion to order a hearing if necessary.
  • Default divorce in Louisiana: If the non-filing spouse doesn’t respond to the petition, the filing spouse can request that the judge enter a default judgment. The judge can either sign the default judgment or order that a hearing be held. Alternatively, if the non-filing spouse acknowledges in a written affidavit that they have received the petition and waives any rights to a hearing or trial, the court can enter a default judgment as soon as two days after the non-filing spouse files the affidavit. (La. Code Civ. Proc. art. 1702(F) (2022).)
  • Louisiana laws and rules on divorce: Louisiana Civil Code articles 102 through 160, Louisiana Revised Statutes sections 301 through 387, Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure articles 3941 through 3958. You can find the text of Louisiana laws on the Louisiana State Legislature’s website.
  • Divorce records: The court will provide you with a copy of your divorce decree when the divorce is finalized. If you need to get copies of your divorce records in the future, you will have to contact the clerk of the court in the parish where your divorce was granted.

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