This is an overview of Louisiana divorce law and available resources. You can locate experienced attorneys and other divorce professionals, find various do it yourself divorce options, access the basic child support obligation schedule and calculator, as well as support groups and domestic violence resources.
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General Family Law and Divorce Information from LawHelp.org
DIVORCE & ANNULMENT RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS: Before filing for divorce or annulment in Louisiana, a person needs to have is resided in a parish within this state for six months. (Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure - CCP 10)
DIVORCE GROUNDS: Excluding covenant marriages, a divorce may be granted on the following grounds if the petitioner can prove:
A divorce may be granted for a covenant marriage if the petitioner can prove:
EXTRA REQUIREMENTS FOR PARENTS OF MINOR CHILDREN: In Louisiana, the court may require parents of minor children to participate in a court-accepted program or seminar for divorcing parents. These classes help educate parents about how to minimize the effects of divorce and separation on their children, focusing on their developmental needs of children and fostering the child's emotional health. (RS 9:306 - Louisiana Revised Statutes)
JUDGMENT OF SEPARATION OF PROPERTY: In Louisiana, only couples in a covenant marriage are eligible for a legal separation, which would address custody, support and property issues. For couples who aren't in a covenant marriage, a spouse may obtain a judgment ordering the separation of property in the following situations:
PROPERTY DISTRIBUTION: Louisiana is considered a community property state, meaning that all property, assets, and debts which were acquired while the couple were married will be divided equally by the court if the couple is unable to reach their own property settlement agreement.
Property and assets acquired prior to the marriage remain that spouse's separate property, except that any increase in value during the marriage will be deemed community property. Inheritances, gifts, and damages from lawsuits are also a spouse's separate property, as well as any assets resulting from a voluntary partition of the community property while married.
It is also important to note that both spouses are jointly liable for any debts acquired during the marriage, unless the debt was not for the common interest of the marriage or for the interest of the other spouse. (Louisiana Civil Code - Articles 2336 through 2363)
ALIMONY / SPOUSAL SUPPORT: Alimony is only awarded to a spouse who is free from fault prior to filing for a divorce, and payments will not exceed 1/3 of the obligated spouse's net income. When determining the amount of support awarded, the court will consider:
Alimony may be modified due to a substantial and material change in circumstances, and will be terminated if the dependent spouse remarries or either spouse dies. Alimony may also be terminated if the court finds the dependent spouse is living together with someone in the same manner as people who are married. (Louisiana Civil Code - Art. 112 through 115)
SPOUSE'S NAME: As part of the divorce petition, a woman may request the restoration of her maiden name, a name used at the time the marriage occurred, or the surname of her minor children. (Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure - Art. 3947)
CHILD CUSTODY: When parents cannot mutually agree on custody arrangements, the court shall determine custody based on the best interests of the minor children. All factors which would be relevant in making this determination will be considered, including:
CHILD SUPPORT: Louisiana utilizes the "Income Shares Model" for determining child support in an effort to simulate what would be spent on children in intact families. In intact families, each parent's contribution to the total earning of the household represents his or her relative share of the expenses for the family. The same principle of income sharing is utilized when determining each parent's share of the child support amount. The court uses the total adjusted gross income of both parties and the number of children involved in the proceeding to establish the amount of support using the child support schedule.
The court may also require one of the parents to provide health insurance for any child of the marriage. The cost of the premiums for such coverage, any extraordinary medical or other expenses, and the total amount of child care costs shall be added to the basic child support obligation.
When the parents have a joint custody order that is not shared custody, the court considers the amount of time the child spends with the non-custodial parent as a basis for adjustment to the child support owed during that period of time. If the parents share custody for approximately equal amounts of time, the monthly amount of support is multiplied by 1 1/2 and then proportionally divided between the parents according to their individual adjusted gross income. This amount is then multiplied by the actual percentage of time the child resides with each parent, deducting each parent's proportional share of job-related child care expenses, costs of medical insurance for the child, and any uncovered medical costs, or other extraordinary expenses. Whichever parent's support obligation is larger will pay the difference to the other parent. (LA Revised Statutes - RS 9:315 through 315.19]
Divorcing parents in Louisiana are required to complete an educational class on effective parenting during and after divorce before their decree will be finalized. The Seventh Judicial Administrative District offers these classes for parents in Douglas, Haralson, Paulding and Polk counties. Call 770-387-4819 or click the link above for more information about the classes, times, and locations.
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