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What are the grounds for divorce in Louisiana?

Not every marriage in Louisiana is meant to last. When this happens, a couple may want to divorce. Louisiana has three grounds for divorce. Understanding this process is important because it also involve other issues such as alimony, property division and child support.

The first ground is where the couple lives separate and apart. They must be apart for at least 180 days if are no minor children from the marriage. The time increases to 365 days if the couple had children while they were married.

This action may be overturned if the spouses reconcile by living together again and have a shared intent to resume their marriage. Other special rules may govern if there was a finding of physical or sexual abuse or where the spouses are in a covenant marriage.

The spouses must also take formal steps. They had to live separately and apart before filing the divorce petition. After the petition is filed and the spouses remain apart, either party may ask the court to finalize the divorce after the required 180 or 365 days elapsed after the service of the petition or physical separation.

Other rules also apply to a covenant marriage. A couple may enter this marriage after they receive counseling, declare their intent to enter this relationship and execute an intent to contract for this marriage.

To obtain a divorce, these couples must seek counseling. They also must prove that the other spouse committed adultery or a felony or if there was physical or sexual abuse or abandonment. The couple also had to live separate and apart for two years, or for one year after the date of the judgment of separation for room and board.

The second ground is adultery committed by the other spouse. No waiting period applies in this ground for divorce. The spouse who is claiming their partner was unfaithful to them must meet a strict burden of proving that adultery occurred. Other witnesses must corroborate this charge, and a spouse must prove that the other spouse's sexual relations took place with another person.

The last ground is when the other spouse committed a felony and was sentenced to death or imprisonment at hard labor. A spouse only needs to submit proof of a conviction and sentencing.

A party seeking a divorce should seek legal advice on their options, as divorce is a process that has long-term consequences. An attorney can help ensure that their client's rights are protected.

Source: Louisiana State Bar, "Divorce," Accessed Jan. 15, 2018

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