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What are the different kinds of divorce in Louisiana?

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck -- it's a duck. This is the so-called duck test. The statement is meant to convey that something is exactly as it appears to be. Applying that concept to divorce, one might say that a divorce, is a divorce, is a divorce. But state laws treat the issue differently. And in Louisiana, the state code can make things a little complicated.

For example, as we noted in a post just one year ago, Louisiana allows for what is called a "covenant marriage." Couples who choose to marry under this option have to sign a special document that makes it harder for them to end their marriage if they eventually do decide to divorce.

But in addition to that, Louisiana allows for two different types of divorces for couples in what would be considered more traditional marriages. They go by the headings of an Article 102 divorce or an Article 103 divorce. The numbers refer to where you can find the information in the state Civil Code.

Both are no-fault divorce procedures, but they require different steps, and those differences need to be considered and understood before a decision is made on which route to follow. Here are some of the differences to note:

  • Article 102: This form of no-fault divorce is the type likely to be used by most couples. It begins with the filing of the petition. A waiting period of either 180 or 365 days must then pass during which time the couple must live apart. If there are no minor children in the picture or there is evidence of abuse of some kind, the time period may be 180 days or less. If there are minor children involved, the wait is one year.
  • Article 103: No-fault divorce under this article can be pursued if the couple has already fulfilled the time apart period -- whether 180 or 365 days. But an Article 103 is also the one that could be used if one spouse is guilty of adultery or some serious felony conviction. In those cases, no waiting period is needed.

Because of these different divorce options, it's always a good idea to consult with an experienced attorney to ensure the protection of your rights.

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