Louisiana Divorce

Residency Requirements

To file for a divorce in Louisiana, either party must be resident of the state for at least 6 months. An action for divorce can be filed in the parish where either party is domiciled.


Grounds for Divorce

A divorce shall be granted upon motion of a spouse when either spouse has filed a petition for divorce and upon proof that the requisite period of time has elapsed from the service of the petition, and that the spouses have lived separate and apart continuously for at least the requisite period of time.

The requisite periods of time shall be as follows:

a) 180 days wthere are no minor children of the marriage; or upon a finding by the court that the other spouse has physically or sexually abused the spouse seeking divorce or a child of one of the spouses; or if a protective order or an injunction has been issued against the other spouse to protect the spouse seeking the divorce or a child of one of the spouses from abuse.
b) 365 days when there are minor children of the marriage at the time the divorce is filed.

A spouse may obtain a judgment of divorce only upon proof of any of the following:

a) The other spouse has committed adultery.
b) The other spouse has committed a felony and has been sentenced to death or imprisonment at hard labor.
c) The other spouse has abandoned the matrimonial domicile for a period of one year and constantly refuses to return.
d) The other spouse has physically or sexually abused the spouse seeking the divorce or a child of one of the spouses.
e) The spouses have been living separate and apart continuously without reconciliation for a period of two years.


Division of Property

Louisiana is a community property state meaning that assets and liabilities acquired during the marriage shall be split equally.

The community property comprises: property acquired during the existence of the legal regime through the effort, skill, or industry of either spouse; property acquired with community things or with community and separate things; property donated to the spouses jointly; natural and civil fruits of community property; damages awarded for loss or injury to a thing belonging to the community; and all other property not classified by law as separate property.

The separate property of a spouse is his exclusively. It comprises: property acquired by a spouse prior to the establishment of a community property regime; property acquired by a spouse with separate things or with separate and community things when the value of the community things is inconsequential in comparison with the value of the separate things used; property acquired by a spouse by inheritance or donation to him individually; damages awarded to a spouse in an action for breach of contract against the other spouse or for the loss sustained as a result of fraud or bad faith in the management of community property by the other spouse; damages or other indemnity awarded to a spouse in connection with the management of his separate property; and things acquired by a spouse as a result of a voluntary partition of the community during the existence of a community property regime.


Spousal Support

When a spouse has not been at fault and is in need of support, based on the needs of that party and the ability of the other party to pay, that spouse may be awarded spousal support. The court shall consider all relevant factors in determining the amount and duration of final support, including:

a) The income and means of the parties, including the liquidity of such means.
b) The financial obligations of the parties.
c) The earning capacity of the parties.
d) The effect of custody of children upon a party’s earning capacity.
e) The time necessary for the claimant to acquire appropriate education, training, or employment.
f) The health and age of the parties.
g) The duration of the marriage.
h) The tax consequences to either or both parties.

The amount of spousal support awarded shall not exceed one-third of the obligor’s net income. The obligation of spousal support is extinguished upon the remarriage of the obligee, the death of either party, or a judicial determination that the obligee has cohabited with another person of either sex in the manner of married persons.


Child Custody

If the parents agree who is to have custody, the court shall award custody in accordance with their agreement unless the best interest of the child requires a different award. The court shall consider all relevant factors in determining the best interest of the child. Such factors may include:

a) The love, affection, and other emotional ties between each party and the child.
b) The capacity and disposition of each party to give the child love, affection, and spiritual guidance and to continue the education and rearing of the child.
c) The capacity and disposition of each party to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, and other material needs.
d) The length of time the child has lived in a stable, adequate environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity of that environment.
e) The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.
f) The moral fitness of each party, insofar as it affects the welfare of the child.
g) The mental and physical health of each party.
h) The home, school, and community history of the child.
i) The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient age to express a preference.
j) The willingness and ability of each party to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other party.
k) The distance between the respective residences of the parties.
l) The responsibility for the care and rearing of the child previously exercised by each party.


Child Support

The court shall determine the basic child support obligation amount by using the combined adjusted gross income of the parties and the number of children involved in the proceeding. The total child support obligation shall be determined by adding together the basic child support obligation amount, the net child care costs, the cost of health insurance premiums, extraordinary medical expenses, and other extraordinary expenses. Each party’s share of the total child support obligation shall then be determined by multiplying his or her percentage share of combined adjusted gross income times the total child support obligation.

In all new child support orders, the court shall order an immediate income assignment unless there is a written agreement between the parties or the court finds good cause not to require an immediate income assignment. An award of child support may be modified if the circumstances of the child or of either parent materially change and shall be terminated upon proof that it has become unnecessary.


Louisiana Resources


Laws & Courts:

Louisiana Law – Use the Louisiana Laws Search feature and enter “Marriage and Divorce.”
Louisiana Judicial Information – hierarchical listing of the judiciary branch on a “clickable” map with links to the various branches and their respective decision databases. Judge biographies and other information are also available.

Additional Resources:

Louisiana State Bar – consumer information pamphlets, TEL-LAW (recorded telephone legal info), and other news and information from the LSBA.
Children’s Rights Council – national nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC that works to assure children meaningful and continuing contact with both their parents and extended family regardless of the parents’ marital status.
The New Orleans Men’s Center – a non-profit group that provides a meeting place for men to explore their relationships with themselves, each other, their families, significant others, and their communities. Meetings are held twice a month, with two retreats annually for men. Group also sponsors other educational and enrichment experiences, some of which are also open to women. E-mail: nomc2@webtv.net.

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The State Resource pages are provided for informational purposes only. Do not take any actions based upon the information contained within the State Resource pages without first consulting an attorney licensed in your state. We at DadsDivorce.com strive to keep our information up-to-date; however state laws are not static and subject to change without notice.