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Know the Laws: Louisiana

UPDATED April 24, 2017

Below is basic information about divorce in Louisiana.

back to topWhat are the residency requirements for divorce in Louisiana?

You can file for divorce in Louisiana if, at the time of filing, one or both of the spouses are “domiciled” in Louisiana.*  The law assumes that a person is “domiciled” in Louisiana if s/he  has established and maintained a residence there for at least six months.**  The divorce must be filed in a parish where either party is domiciled, or in the parish where you were domiciled together in the marital home.***

* LA Code Civ Pro 10(A)(7)
** LA Code Civ Pro 10(B)
*** LA Code Civ Pro 3941(A)

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back to topWhat are the grounds for divorce in Louisiana?

Grounds are legally acceptable reasons for divorce.  There are no-fault and fault-based grounds for divorce in Louisiana. 

A judge can grant a no-fault divorce if you and your spouse have lived separate and apart continuously for at least:

  • 180 days if you and your spouse do not have a child together under 18 years old; or
  • 365 days if you and your spouse do have a child together under 18 years old;*

A judge can grant a fault-based divorce if:

  • your spouse has committed adultery;
  • your spouse has committed a felony and has been sentenced to death or imprisonment with hard labor;
  • your spouse physically or sexually abused you or your child/step-child during the marriage; (it does not matter if the spouse was prosecuted for the abuse); or
  • a protective order or injunction was issued during your marriage against your spouse to protect you or your child/step-child from abuse.**

Note: If you have a covenant marriage, different laws apply. Please talk to a lawyer about filing for a divorce from a covenant marriage.

* LA Code Civ Pro 103(1); 103.1
** LA Code Civ Pro 103

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back to topCan I get alimony?

Alimony is financial support paid by or to your spouse and can be awarded during the divorce (“interim support”) and/or when a divorce is granted.  To get interim periodic support or final periodic support, you must be in need of support and not “at fault” for the divorce.  To get final periodic support, the judge must believe that you are in need of support and the judge will consider your spouse’s ability to pay support.*  The judge will also consider:

  1. the income and finances of each spouse;
  2. the financial obligations of each spouse, including any interim support that is ordered or a final child support obligation;
  3. how much each spouse is capable of earning, including the effect that having custody of children has upon a spouse’s earning capacity;
  4. the time necessary for you to get appropriate education, training, or employment;
  5. the health and age of the parties;
  6. the length of the marriage;
  7. the tax consequences to each spouse; and
  8. if your spouse committed domestic abuse against you, the effect of such abuse, and the length of time that the abuse went on (it doesn’t matter if your spouse was prosecuted for the domestic violence).**

The amount of alimony you will receive cannot be greater than 1/3 of your spouse’s net income unless the judge finds that your spouse committed domestic abuse against you and you were not at fault for the divorce.  In that case, it can be greater than 1/3 of your spouse’s net income.***

Your spousal support will end if either spouse dies, if you remarry, or if you live (“cohabitate”) with someone else in a way similar to a married couple.****

* LA Code Civ Pro 111; 112(A)
** LA Code Civ Pro 112(C)
*** LA Code Civ Pro 112(D)
**** LA Code Civ Pro 115

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back to topWhere can I find additional information about divorce?

Louisiana State Bar Association has a divorce brochure, which includes information on spousal support.

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services provides a video and textual discussion of divorce with topics such as residency requirements, alimony, and grounds for divorce.

LawHelp.org provides links to uncontested divorce forms for the 21st District Court, 22nd District Court, and Orleans Parish Civil District Court of Louisiana that may be useful if you meet certain qualifications.

WomensLaw.org is unrelated to the above organizations and cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information on their sites.  We provide these links for your information only.

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