What You Need to Know About Filing for Divorce in Louisiana
Navigating a divorce can be a stressful and difficult ordeal. Here’s everything you need to know about how to file for divorce in Louisiana.
In order to file for divorce in Louisiana, a spouse must fill out necessary court forms, have them reviewed by a lawyer and serve the forms. After completing these steps, the petitioner will have filed for divorce and must await a response from their partner.
Steps to the Louisiana Divorce Process
1. Petition for Divorce
After making sure they meet Louisiana’s divorce residency requirement, the petitioning spouse must fill out necessary court forms. The forms mostly serve to provide the court with basic information about the spouses and the nature of the relationship, including identifying all of the petitioning spouse’s assets, regardless of whether they are shared or the petitioner’s alone.
2. Service of Process
After filing the forms, the petitioner must provide notice to their spouse of the divorce by serving, or delivering, copies of the forms to their spouse.
Louisiana permits the following types of service:
- Service by the Sheriff’s office
- Service by a qualified person
- Waiver of Service
- The other spouse voluntarily enters a case without requiring the petitioner to serve the paperwork
- Appointment of a curator
- By certified mail
Service by the Sheriff’s office or by a curator may require additional fees.
3. Waiting for a Response
The petitioner’s spouse has to file a timely response, typically within 15 days of service of process. After filing the divorce forms and papers, the divorce will be granted after a waiting period of 1 year or 6 months depending on whether the spouses have a child together under 18 years old.
Louisiana Divorce Residency Requirements
Generally, a spouse may file a “no-fault” divorce in Louisiana if they or their spouse has lived in the state for at least 6 months.
The court may grant a no-fault divorce if the spouses have lived apart continuously for at least:
1 year if the spouses have a child together under 18 years old
6 months if the spouses do not have a child together under 18 years old
Grounds for Divorce in Louisiana
Louisiana law does not specify grounds, or legally-acceptable reasons, for divorce, though the court may grant a fault-based divorce if the petitioner’s spouse has:
- Committed adultery
- Committed a felony with a death sentence or imprisonment with hard labor
- Physically or sexually abused the petitioner or their child/step-child during the marriage
- It does not matter if the spouse was criminally charged with the abuse
- Committed abuse resulting in the issuing of a criminal or civil protective order or injunction to protect the petitioner or their child/step-child
Louisiana Divorce Forms
For uncontested divorce, the petitioner must file the following forms:
- Petition for Divorce
- Waiver of Service
- Notice of Hearing
- Divorce Judgment
Petitioners should visit their local District Court’s website to obtain the petition intended for use in their parish.
How Much Does a Divorce Cost in Louisiana?
Divorce fees depend on several factors, including the parish in which the spouses reside, therapy sessions for contested divorce and whether the spouses decide to hire an attorney.
Filing fees could range anywhere between $150 to $350.
Other legal costs can include:
- Attorney fees
- Legal fees
- Service of process fees
- Therapy sessions
- Mediation fees
- Refinancing mortgage
- Selling the home
FAQs About How to File for Divorce in Louisiana?
What constitutes a “qualified person” for service of process?
A qualified person must be over 18 years old, not be a party in the litigation and reside in the state.