Divorce Laws in Louisiana ([year] Guide) | Survive Divorce (2023)

Divorce Laws in Louisiana ([year] Guide) | Survive Divorce (1)

Overview of Divorce Laws in Louisiana

Even if you hire an attorney to represent you in a Louisiana divorce, it’s critical for you to have a basic understanding of divorce laws for when you decide to end your marriage and get a divorce. By getting educated, you can take a proactive role in protecting yourself. As an added benefit, you’ll also keep your legal fees down.

Let’s dive in.

  • Community Property and Asset Division
  • Alimony and Child Support
  • Child Custody and Visitation
  • Divorce Process
  • Other Divorce Issues

Community Property & Asset Division

Divorce Laws in Louisiana ([year] Guide) | Survive Divorce (2)

Marital Property and Division of Assets

Louisiana is a community property state. According to Louisiana divorce laws, all assets and debts deemed to be marital property are divided in half.

Before this happens, the determination must be made as to what constitutes marital property. Most assets accumulated during the marriage are considered marital property. Gifts or an inheritance directed to one spouse only are not considered marital property and do not need to be split when you get a divorce.

Non-marital property is awarded only to the spouse who owns it. Exceptions to this may be made if the non-marital assets are commingled during the marriage.

The conduct by either spouse during the marriage or the length of the marriage itself has no bearing on the division of assets.


Divorce Laws in Louisiana ([year] Guide) | Survive Divorce (3)

Debts in Louisiana are treated just like assets in a divorce. This means they will be divided fairly and equitably, but not necessarily on a 50/50 basis.

Debt acquired by one spouse is their debt exclusively, unless the other spouse added to that particular account (such as using a credit card). When that happens, the other spouse is responsible for that part of the debt as well.

Gifts and Inherited Property

When one spouse receives a gift or inheritance in Louisiana, it is considered separate property and not subject to equitable distribution.

For an asset to continue to be claimed as separate property, a spouse should be prepared to provide evidence that the asset is indeed separate property and has not been commingled with marital assets.

A way to protect a gift or inheritance is to have a spouse sign a pre- or postnuptial agreement whereby he or she agrees that the asset belongs exclusively to the other spouse, no matter how it is used in the marriage.

Pensions, IRAs, 401Ks and Retirement Plans

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In Louisiana, pensions and retirement assets accumulated during marriage are considered marital property and subject to division in a divorce. Any pension or retirement funds accumulated prior to marriage or after the date of legal separation are considered separate property.

(Video) Marital Property Division in Divorce Actions

Determining the exact value of pensions and retirement accounts can be a complex process. You may need to work with an actuary or Certified Divorce Financial Analyst to calculate the value.

After a final decree, legally splitting pensions and other retirement funds is done by having an attorney or a specialized firm create a qualified domestic relations order, more commonly referred to as a QDRO.

The QDRO must be approved by the courts, and then it is submitted to the plan administrator, who must also approve it. This establishes that a spouse can be considered an alternate payee, and the account is divided according to the specific written instructions of the QDRO.

If you’re interested in drafting a QDRO online, we strongly suggest you try using QDRO Counsel! Their platform is the leading brand in providing comprehensible QDRO drafting solutions.

Check Out QDRO Counsel >>

Separate Property

In Louisiana, property that one spouse owned by themselves before a marriage, or property that was given to them by a gift or inheritance during a marriage is considered separate property and not subject to a division of assets. It is incumbent on that spouse to prove that the asset in question is separate property by producing evidence to support their claim.

A claim of separate property can be invalidated for any property that is commingled with the marital property during the marriage.

There are exceptions to these rules, and it is best to consult an attorney for legal advice if you are not sure of the status of your asset or your situation.

Alimony and Child Support

Alimony in Louisiana

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Alimony can be granted on a temporary or a permanent basis in Louisiana when a spouse requires financial support. The amount and duration of the alimony that may be awarded to a spouse are based on the circumstances that are unique to each divorce.

The overarching goal is to help the receiving spouse maintain the same standard of living they had before the divorce took place. In addition, temporary support may be granted before a final settlement has been reached.

Courts do consider who may be at fault for the divorce when considering the awarding of alimony. This means if a spouse was responsible for the failure of the marriage, e.g. the spouse has committed adultery, they may not receive alimony.

Judges take into consideration several factors in determining the amount of alimony that should be paid. This includes the length of time of marriage, each spouse’s health and age, earning capacity, who is responsible for the primary care of any children, health, and the amount of time it may take to get appropriate education, training, or employment, among others.

Alimony ends automatically when the spouse receiving support remarries or if either spouse dies.

Read More:Pendente Lite: A Complete Guide to Temporary Orders

(Video) How to File For Divorce in Louisiana

Child Support in Louisiana

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Both parents must provide for the financial, emotional and medical well-being of any children in Louisiana, whether they are married or not. Louisiana utilizes the “Income Shares Model” for determining child support to accomplish this.

Generally, a non-custodial parent will be required to support the custodial parent. That amount will depend on a number of factors such as the income of both parents, custody arrangements and the number of children.

The exact level of child support is based on Louisiana’s Child Support Guidelines and provides a fee schedule to help frame the process.

It is possible for the courts to deviate from pre-determined amounts, either up or down, depending on a number of factors such as whether there are children in multiple families to support, extraordinary medical expenses or community debt, parental disabilities and other related issues.

Child Custody and Visitation

Child Custody in Louisiana

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Child custody and visitation issues when it comes to a divorce in Louisiana are driven by the fact that courts strongly prefer to grant joint custody to both parents, absent negative circumstances.

The belief is that it is in the best interest of the child to have a frequent and meaningful relationship with both parents, especially with younger children. Louisiana child custody laws can apply joint custody to both physical and legal types of custody.

Parents are strongly encouraged to work out a parenting solution on their own, when possible.

Our favorite resource to assist parents in creating a parenting solution is Our Family Wizard! Our Family Wizard is an app that is specifically designed for ex-spouses to communicate, schedule, delegate, and much more, all in one place.

Each Louisiana custody case is different and may be influenced by a number of factors such as:

  • The sex and age of the children
  • The emotional, social, moral, material, and educational needs of the children.
  • The home environment of each spouse and their ability to provide a suitable level of care on a daily basis.
  • The interpersonal relationship between each child and the interpersonal relationships between the children and the parents.
  • The preference of the child on where they want to live, especially if they are old enough and mature enough to provide input.
  • Any other factor or relevant evidence that may be presented by both parents that has a bearing on the determination of the best interest of the child.

Substance Abuse

Substance abuse can be cited as a ground for a fault-based ground for divorce in Louisiana. A spouse must be able to prove that the substance abuse took place or is currently taking place and provide suitable evidence to the courts.

Although it is more difficult to prove than in a no-fault divorce, some spouses may choose to go this route because it can have a profound impact on child custody issues.

If the substance abuse is pervasive or threatening, Louisiana courts may deny child custody and visitation rights to the offending spouse. This is because courts always hold the best interests of a child as the primary factors in making these kinds of determinations.

Divorce Process

Financial Disclosures

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Disclosing assets is an important part of divorce in Louisiana. An accurate and complete accounting of all assets is required so that an even split of marital assets can be made as part of the settlement process.

(Video) NO FAULT DIVORCE (What is there to know)

Spouses are sometimes reluctant to disclose assets, but through court orders, they can be compelled to do so. Some may also try to hide assets. If caught, a spouse could face civil and even possible criminal penalties. Full disclosure is mandatory in all divorces.

Default Judgment

When a spouse is served with papers in a divorce in Louisiana, by law, they have a certain amount of time to respond to the complaint. The amount of time may vary depending on whether the spouse lives in the state, out of state, or is in the military.

If there is no response filed within the allotted timeframe, then the person who originally filed the papers may be able to petition the court and ask for a default judgment.

This means a spouse will forfeit their right to contest any terms of the divorce, including issues such as child custody, support, alimony and a division of assets and debts.

Depending on a divorce case, it may be possible to seek an extension, such as if there is a health or family emergency, if a respondent was on active military duty or if the required waiting time has not been met yet.

Other Divorce Issues

Domestic Violence

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Domestic violence is treated with the utmost seriousness by law enforcement in Louisiana. While it may be a reason you file for a divorce, the primary concern in a domestic violence situation is for the immediate safety of all victims including a spouse, children or extended family members.

Domestic violence can include any kind of being emotionally, physically, or sexually abused, stalking, or any other kind of harassment, including those made through phone calls, mail, or social media inflicted on one spouse by the other.

This means if the threat is imminent, a victim should call the police.

After vacating a residence, it is possible to ask a court for an order of protection to legally keep a spouse away from you either before a divorce action begins or during a divorce already in progress.

When it is proven, domestic violence can be an important issue when dealing with things like child custody, visitation, etc. Louisiana provides specific relief in custody proceedings for victims of abuse under the Post Separation Family Violence Relief Act (PSFVRA).

If documented, then the abuser may not be allowed any custody privileges, because courts always put the best interests of minor children first when it comes to all issues in a divorce.

Health Insurance

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During the divorce process, courts in Louisiana may require that one spouse or the other continue to provide payments for health coverage for minor children of the marriage and/or the other spouse as part of a final settlement agreement. The cost of the premiums for coverage, any extraordinary medical or other expenses, and the total amount of child care costs can be added to the basic child support obligation.

Most employers dictate that a spouse may no longer remain on the other’s health insurance plan following a divorce, and they must seek out their own healthcare coverage if not covered in a settlement agreement.

(Video) Do I get half of my spouse’s pension in divorce?

An ex-spouse can apply for COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act), which benefits them for up to 36 months. This is a law that protects people from losing health coverage during major life transitions, but it is generally very expensive when piggybacking off of a former spouse’s coverage since the employer no longer covers any portion of the premium.

A more financially reasonable option may be to purchase health insurance on an exchange as part of the Affordable Care Act.

Infidelity and Adultery

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When a spouse has sex voluntarily with someone other than their spouse while they are still married in Louisiana, this constitutes infidelity and can be used as one of the fault-based grounds for getting a divorce. When it can be proved that infidelity took place, a spouse does not have to wait the required amount of time of six months before filing and finalizing a divorce.

Once the court enters a judgment of divorce, the divorce is not final for 30 days. This waiting period is to allow for an appeal. Neither spouse can remarry until the 30-day waiting period is over and the divorce judgment becomes final.

Infidelity or adultery can be an issue in things such as child custody or in a division of assets. Louisiana courts place a primary concern on the well-being of minor children in a marriage and if it can be shown that adultery has created a negative environment, then custody may be affected to some degree.

Also, if it can be shown that the adulterer spent considerable marital assets on an affair, then this may have an impact when on the division of assets.

Military Divorce in Louisiana

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There are specific rules and processes that govern how military-related divorces are handled in Louisiana.

First of all, residency requirements – you or your spouse must either live or be stationed in Louisiana so that proper jurisdiction can apply. The same fault-based grounds for divorce that apply for a civilian divorce also apply for a military one.

When a spouse is in the military, they have certain protections afforded to them by the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act. This allows them to postpone the divorce while they are overseas or otherwise not able to adequately respond to the petition for divorce due to military service commitments.

However, a service member may choose to waive delaying the divorce by signing off on paperwork which will then allow the divorce to proceed uncontested.

A division of retirement benefits is governed by theUniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act. This legislation directs how a former servicemember’s retirement benefits should be divided after divorce. A key element is that the former spouse must have been married to the former servicemember for a minimum of 10 years while the military member has served on active duty.

Child support and spousal support are determined by Louisiana state guidelines, but federal law dictates that these awards may not exceed 60% of a servicemember’s pay and allowances.

Read More:Laws Governing Military Divorces

Looking for more advice about divorce? Here are a few of our favorite resources:

  • 101 Financial Pitfalls of Divorce
  • What is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst? (and why you need one)
  • How to Protect and Rebuild Your Credit in a Divorce
  • How to Value the House and Split Home Equity in a Divorce


What is the wife entitled to in a divorce in Louisiana? ›

Generally speaking – you are entitled to half of everything obtained or acquired during the existence of your marriage (except of course if a prenuptial exists stating otherwise). This means half of the marital property (house, car, truck, boat, savings account, checking account, etc.)

Is everything split 50 50 in a divorce in Louisiana? ›

Under Louisiana law, marital property, or property acquired during the marriage, is distributed equally (50-50) to each party unless the court finds such a division to be inequitable or parties agree to a different formula under which to divide property.

Can you refuse a divorce in Louisiana? ›

What if my spouse does not want a divorce? Your spouse cannot stop you from getting a divorce by refusing to "sign the divorce papers." If you can prove that you have grounds for divorce under Louisiana law, you can get a divorce. It is the Judge and not your spouse, who decides to grant you a divorce.

How long is the divorce process in Louisiana? ›

Under Louisiana law, you can receive a divorce in 180 days if there are no minor children.

Who gets the car in a divorce in Louisiana? ›

If either spouse, or both spouses, use a car regularly, that spouse can ask the Court for an order awarding them exclusive use of the vehicle. This can be requested and awarded even if the car is registered or titled in the other spouse's name.

What is Article 102 divorce in Louisiana? ›

The Article 102 Divorce can be filed before the spouses have lived separate and apart for the required length of time. Filing this divorce affects community property by "terminating" the community at the time the case is filed.

Is spouse entitled to 401k in divorce in Louisiana? ›

Pensions, IRAs, 401Ks and Retirement Plans

In Louisiana, pensions and retirement assets accumulated during marriage are considered marital property and subject to division in a divorce. Any pension or retirement funds accumulated prior to marriage or after the date of legal separation are considered separate property.

Does adultery affect divorce in Louisiana? ›

Can adultery speed up divorce in Louisiana? Louisiana law does provide for an “immediate” fault-based divorce for adultery under Civil Code 103.2. However, “immediate” does not mean the judgment of divorce will be immediate. Plus proving adultery can be cumbersome, costly, and not any more beneficial to you.

What is the average cost of a divorce in Louisiana? ›

Lawyers.com surveyed Louisiana attorneys and provided an estimate of the average cost of divorces in Louisiana. The found that the average Louisiana divorce cost $12,600.

Does it matter who files for divorce first in Louisiana? ›

Many attorneys would tell you that there aren't really any advantages to who files for divorce first; however, I think there are some advantages that should be considered: You have time to emotionally, mentally and financially prepare yourself for the fallout, with less surprises.

What is Article 103 divorce in Louisiana? ›

Except in the case of a covenant marriage, a divorce shall be granted on the petition of a spouse upon proof that: (1) The spouses have been living separate and apart continuously for the requisite period of time, in accordance with Article 103.1, or more on the date the petition is filed.

What is considered abandonment in a marriage in Louisiana? ›

(1) The other spouse has committed adultery. (2) The other spouse has committed a felony and has been sentenced to death or imprisonment at hard labor. (3) The other spouse has abandoned the matrimonial domicile for a period of one year and constantly refuses to return.

How can I speed up my divorce in Louisiana? ›

The fastest way to end a marriage is by seeking an uncontested divorce. However, this works best when both spouses are committed to the idea of getting out as quickly as possible. When there are no children and no property division conflicts, your divorce may proceed easily.

How fast can a divorce be finalized in Louisiana? ›

A divorce judgment does not become "final" until the 30 day period to appeal the judgment has run. You should not remarry until you are sure that your divorce judgment is final. Can I get alimony in Louisiana? "Interim" spousal support.

How long after divorce can you remarry in Louisiana? ›

Does Louisiana have any limitations on remarriage after a divorce? Louisiana has no mandatory waiting period between the finalization of a divorce and either of the ex-spouses getting remarried. Remarriage following a divorce may affect the continued payment of alimony.

How much is spousal support in Louisiana? ›

In most cases, Louisiana law limits the amount of final periodic spousal support to no more than one-third of the paying spouse's net income. However, a judge may award support over that limit when the paying spouse was guilty of domestic abuse. (La. Civ.

Is a car an asset or debt in a divorce? ›

The car is considered a marital asset and is owned by both parties. Similarly, if there is a car loan associated with the car, then, although the car loan may be in one party's name, the loan is considered a marital liability and will need to be considered in the divorce.

Can I remove wife from auto insurance during divorce? ›

Yes, you can remove your spouse from your car insurance. You have to have the permission of your spouse to remove them from your policy if you're both named insureds on the plan. Once both parties agree on ownership of vehicles, drivers should retitle cars and remove each other from plans as needed.

What is section 9 of the divorce Act? ›

** * When either the husband or the wife has, without reasonable excuse, withdrawn from the society of the other, the aggrieved party may apply, by petition to the district court, for restitution of conjugal rights and the court, on being satisfied of the truth of the statements made in such petition and that there is ...

What is a rule nisi in Louisiana? ›

Rule Nisi is a request by one party to rule the other party in contempt for not complying with previous arrangements made in a court of law. This means that when you make a divorce settlement, both you and your spouse are required to follow through on whatever terms were decided.

What is a rule to show cause for divorce in Louisiana? ›

A Rule to Show Cause states the issues that the judge will need to decide at the hearing and requests that a hearing date be scheduled. The hearing will be scheduled on a date and time that is available on the judge's docket.

Do I have to share my pension when I divorce? ›

A pension earned during a marriage is considered to be a joint asset, which means that its value can be divided during divorce. However, this doesn't mean you automatically have to share your pension.

Do you have to split retirement in divorce? ›

If you are going through a divorce or legal separation, you will most likely be required to divide the assets you have in your retirement plans. In some cases, the assets may be awarded to one party.

What is the penalty for adultery in Louisiana? ›

No, adultery isn't a crime under Louisiana law.

What is proof of adultery for divorce? ›

Proving adultery took place in your marriage is difficult but possible. Direct evidence (not hearsay) can come in the form of proof, such as eyewitness testimony or the guilty party admitting to the adultery (can be either the spouse or the paramour). There is also circumstantial evidence that can act as proof.

Who pays adultery divorce? ›

In most cases, the costs will be split between the divorcing couple as follows: where adultery is the fact proven, the respondent will pay for 100% of the costs of the divorce (including the court fee).

How long is alimony paid in Louisiana? ›

The duration of payments is determined by a judge in Louisiana family court. Alimony length is usually based on length of marriage - one commonly used standard for alimony duration is that 1 year of alimony is paid every three years of marriage (however, this is not always the case in every state or with every judge).

Who pays attorney fees in a divorce Louisiana? ›

Simply put, in almost all Louisiana cases, each party pays their own costs and fees. This means – you pay for your attorney and filing fees and other costs, and your spouse pays for their attorney and filing fees and other costs.

Do you need a lawyer to get divorced in Louisiana? ›

The State of Louisiana allows you to file your own divorce without the assistance of an attorney. However, you may want to at a minimum have a consultation with a Louisiana divorce attorney to make sure you have all of your ducks in a row and file the correct paperwork.

How much is a no contest divorce in Louisiana? ›

The cost for a No-Court Article 103(1) Divorce is $2,500 and a No-Court Article 102 Divorce is $3,500. We also offer add-on packages if you and your spouse have agreed to incidental matters such as spousal support, child custody and or child support; and Community Property Partition.

Is spouse entitled to 401K in divorce? ›

California is a Community Property State

This means that assets obtained during the marriage are divided in half upon divorce, including retirement savings and pension plans. In the case of a 401K or another type of plan, a spouse is entitled to 50% of the plan's acquired value during the course of the marriage.

What time of year is best to file for divorce? ›

A few of the top reasons to file for divorce in January include: Being prepared for the next tax year – Most divorces are completed within a year. By filing in January, then, a spouse can increase the odds of qualifying to file as head of household or single for the next tax year.

What is the first step in getting a divorce in Louisiana? ›

What are the basic steps for filing for divorce?
  1. First, you must meet the residency requirements of the state in which you wish to file.
  2. Second, you must have “grounds” (a legally acceptable reason) to end your marriage.
  3. Third, you must file divorce papers and have copies sent to your spouse.

What is Rule 43 in a divorce? ›

WHAT IS A RULE 43 INTERIM MAINTENANCE APPLICATION? Rule 43 of the Uniform Court Rules as well as Rule 58 of the Magistrate Court Rules provides litigants in divorce proceedings with the opportunity to approach the court for an order granting interim relief pending the finalisation of a divorce.

How long does a no contest divorce take in Louisiana? ›

An uncontested divorce can take between two weeks and six months to complete depending on the court in the parish that you are filing. In order to expedite the uncontested divorce so that it takes less than a month, your attorney will get a court runner to physically bring your pleading to the court.

What are the clauses for divorce? ›

1) Continuous absence of seven years. 2) Non-consummation of marriage within one year. 3) Unsound mind provided the other spouse was unaware of the fact at the time of marriage and the divorce must be filed within three years of marriage.

What is emotional abandonment in marriage? ›

In the context of a marriage, the feelings of neglect, being left out, and not being heard are collectively referred to as emotional abandonment. It occurs when one partner is so preoccupied with their own concerns that they are unable to notice the struggles, concerns, or problems their partner is experiencing.

What are grounds for immediate divorce in Louisiana? ›

A fault-based divorce provides for an immediate divorce when one spouse can prove: The other spouse has committed adultery. The other spouse has been convicted of a felony and has been sentenced to death or imprisonment at hard labor.

Can a spouse kick you out of the house in Louisiana? ›

If your spouse does not agree to leave the house, the only other ways to remove them from the house is through legal action, either by calling the police, applying for a protective order, or divorce. You cannot otherwise evict your spouse from their homestead.

What qualifies for alimony in Louisiana? ›

Louisiana Civil Code Art. 113 provides: A. Upon motion of a party, the court may award a party interim spousal support based on the needs of that party, the ability of the other party to pay, any interim or final child support obligation, and the standard of living of the parties during the marriage.

Is spouse entitled to 401K in divorce in Louisiana? ›

Pensions, IRAs, 401Ks and Retirement Plans

In Louisiana, pensions and retirement assets accumulated during marriage are considered marital property and subject to division in a divorce. Any pension or retirement funds accumulated prior to marriage or after the date of legal separation are considered separate property.

What determines spousal support in Louisiana? ›

The court shall consider all relevant factors in determining the amount and duration of final support, including: (1) The income and means of the parties, including the liquidity of such means. (2) The financial obligations of the parties, including any interim allowance or final child support obligation.

What are grounds for spousal support in Louisiana? ›

the need of the spouse seeking support; the ability of the other spouse to pay support; any interim or final child support award; and. the lifestyle of the parties during the marriage.


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