If you are considering a divorce in Louisiana, then you need to know about the different kinds of divorce. Like many states, Louisiana has different types of divorce, but it is not the traditional “fault/no-fault” split. Louisiana also has both traditional and covenant marriages. The type you have affects your ability to easily get a divorce. There are two kinds of divorce for non-covenant marriage, which are themselves separate from the process for divorce in covenant marriages.

Let’s start with what you should know about the kinds of divorce for non-covenant marriages, known as Article 102 and Article 103 divorces.

Article 102 Divorces

Article 102 is fairly specific. It allows for a no-fault divorce for couples who have not been living separately for the normal, required waiting period. (In Louisiana, this is 180 days if there is physical or sexual abuse or if you don’t have children, or 365 days if you do have children.)

This is sometimes referred to as a no-fault divorce, but this is not entirely accurate, as some Article 103 divorces are also no-fault. Article 102 simply means that you file for divorce and then separate, rather than having a trial separation period. It allows for community property to be dissolved and split retroactively to the initial filing once the divorce is finalized.

Custody and property division will be decided at a hearing within several weeks of filing. However, you will still have to wait out the waiting period. The majority of divorces in Louisiana are Article 102 divorces because ultimately you can, if needed, take the entire waiting period to settle complicated issues of support and custody. It’s also much easier to be able to settle these issues with minimal involvement of the courts and, thus, lower cost. You do still have to live apart for the waiting period, however.

Article 103 Divorces

There are two kinds of divorce under Article 103. The first is a no-fault divorce that is filed after the required waiting period. This is an option for couples who are undergoing a trial separation period. It is less common than Article 102. Generally, the final judgment happens quickly, within a month after filing. Article 103 is an option if you are less sure about the divorce, as you don’t have to request a judgment before separation and then prove reconciliation if you change your mind.

Article 103 also provides for two fault-based divorces. The grounds are:

  1. Adultery, which requires actual proof of an affair. This is easier to gather than in the past thanks to people being careless on social media. But, you still need things like photos, social media posts, text messages, etc.
  2. Your spouse being sentenced to death or hard labor for committing a felony.

In either of these cases, there is no waiting period and the “victim” spouse can file for divorce immediately. Fault divorces are much rarer than no-fault, especially in the case of adultery. If you can’t prove that your spouse is having an affair, you will still have to seek a no-fault divorce or legal separation.

Divorce in a Covenant Marriage

Covenant marriages are a bit different. If you are in a covenant marriage, you believe marriage should be lifelong and have undergone counseling. Only two other states have the covenant marriage system, which is intended to ensure that couples get counseling before a divorce.

The rules also make it much harder to get a divorce. You have to get counseling first, and you can only get a divorce if:

  • Adultery has been committed.
  • A spouse is sentenced to death or hard labor for committing a felony.
  • Spousal abandonment of at least one year.
  • Separation for two years, or one year in the case of legal separation unless the couple has children, in which case it is 18 months (unless child abuse is involved).

Most people are not in a covenant marriage. If you are, it is still possible to get a divorce, but it is intentionally harder.

To find out more about the kinds of divorce options in Louisiana, contact Ellender Law Firm today.