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Louisiana Divorce Facts
When going through a divorce in in Louisiana, it's helpful to have some key information. Below you will find some of the most important facts everyone getting a divorce in the state of Louisiana should know. The facts listed here are only a selected few of the more comprehensive set of Louisiana Divorce Laws available for your reference. Remember, every state's law is different, and if you're not sure about a law in your state, you should ask a qualified Louisiana Divorce Professional.
Louisiana divorce laws are strict when it comes to the qualifications for no-fault divorces, eligibility for alimony and the timeframes for obtaining a divorce. However, they also permit judges to make exceptions, thereby ensuring that every spouse is treated fairly.
The filing spouse must be a resident of Louisiana for at least a year at the time of filing and must file for divorce in the district court in the parish where he or she resides.
Louisiana laws allow both "fault" and "no-fault" divorces. In a fault divorce, the court identifies one spouse as responsible for the demise of the marriage, but the court makes no such determination in a no-fault divorce. The distinction of the type of divorce is important because, in the state of Louisiana, only a spouse not at fault can receive alimony.
Louisiana allows no-fault divorces in the following circumstances: when there are no minor children involved, when the spouses have lived apart for at least six months and when one spouse proves that the other was sexually or physically abusive.
The district court can enter a judgment of divorce 180 days after the petition was filed in a no-fault divorce. In a fault divorce, the district court cannot enter a final judgment of divorce until one year after the petition was filed. A divorce may also be granted if one spouse is a felon serving a life sentence in prison.
Louisiana is a community property state. Both spouses have an equal interest in all property and an equal obligation to pay all debts of the marital estate. Separate property that which is acquired or a debt incurred prior to the marriage, after the date of separation or which was acquired during the marriage but kept separate - is not included in community property calculations.
Community property is divided equally between the spouses. If an asset cannot be divided, such as a house, the court will award other property or cash to compensate the spouse for his or her portion. The court can divide property unequally if it finds a valid reason. For example, Louisiana divorce laws allow a spouse to be reimbursed for the cost of the other spouse's education expenses during the marriage. In this instance the court could legally award more marital property to one spouse as a means of reimbursement. If the court deviates from an equal division, however, it must explain why it did so in its final judgment of divorce.
Louisiana permits alimony to a party who is not at fault for the breakup of the marriage and who proves a need for financial support, but the court will not award alimony if the other spouse cannot pay. A request for alimony can be made in the petition for divorce or by a separate motion before the court enters the final judgment of divorce. The state allows temporary and permanent alimony.
In awarding temporary alimony, the court can also consider the standard of living during the marriage. The court cannot award alimony that constitutes more than one-third of the paying spouse's income. Modifications to an award of alimony can be made if either spouse's circumstances have substantially changed. This provision does not include the paying spouse's remarriage.
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