When a couple decides to call it quits, they are taking steps that will change the course of the rest of their lives, also influencing their children’s future as well. Understanding the process of separation and divorce may not ease the pain everyone may be feeling, but it can provide a framework that will help them plan for what comes next.
Every state has different requirements for divorce as mandated by state law. If you reside in Louisiana, you may want to find out more about how these laws govern a judge’s ruling. Since financial concerns such as property division, child custody and support are a major part of a contested divorce proceeding, it is important to plan ahead in order to make informed decisions.
Are there fault and no-fault grounds for divorce?
The options for divorce in Louisiana can be either on fault or no-fault grounds. The fault-based grounds for divorce are if a spouse has committed adultery, been convicted of a felony, or been abusive against the other spouse or children.
Most divorces fall under no-fault grounds, which in Louisiana are called either a 102 or 103. Under a 102, one spouse may file a petition for divorce and request a judgement after the spouses have lived separately for 180 days after the petition. With minor children, this time frame is 365 days. Under a 103, the parties must be separated prior to the filing of a petition for 180 days, or 365 days if there are minor children.
A spouse requesting dissolution on fault-based grounds may have an advantage when issues of child custody or alimony come up, and this will most likely be a contested divorce. A divorce on no-fault grounds will in general be a non-contested divorce.
How does the court divide marital property?
Louisiana is one of a handful of states that follows community property laws, in which a judge will in general divide up all property that either party acquired during the marriage equally down the middle. This does not include separate property that either spouse owned prior to the marriage.
When it comes to marital property, it does not matter whose name is on the title, nor does it matter if one spouse owns a business or has more assets than the other, unless the couple signed a pre- or postnuptial agreement detailing what property is not part of the divorce settlement. Louisiana courts, however, will likely accept a settlement agreement that the couple comes up with on their own.