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Louisiana Legal Separation
Legal Separation in Louisiana

The concept of a legal separation was removed when Louisiana went to a no-fault divorce model, which permits a divorce 180 days after the filing date when the spouses have lived separate and apart. There is no requirement to show marital breakdown. The concept of legal separation, however, continues to operate in covenant marriages, which still retain the fault requirements and still require a legal separation.

In a separation, a spouse may petition the court for spousal support and/or child support, and restoration of separate property.

Separation Agreement

A separation agreement is a legal binding contract signed by spouses, which is intended to resolve property, debt and child related issues. This can be a very complex and detailed document depending upon the unique situation of the marriage. Many spouses consult an attorney to provide this or they decide to prepare their own.

Complaint

The petition is filed at the District Court of the parish where the petitioner resides.

Grounds

The grounds for a legal separation, which means separation from bed and board, or a mensa et thoro, in Louisiana include:

  • living separate and apart for a period of two years from the filing date
  • adultery
  • the other spouses conviction of a felony with a death sentence or a hard labor conviction
  • physical abuse
  • abandonment for a year or more
Separation a mensa et thoro is essentially a separation that is sanctioned by a court order, meaning that the spouses may legally live apart, but they are still legally married.

Residency

The filing spouse must be a resident of Louisiana for one year before the filing. The petition may be filed in the parish where either the petitioner or the respondent live.

Procedure

The respondent is served either through mail or by the authorities with a summons and the petition.

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