You’ve made the decision and your marriage is over. You may be eager to get the whole process over with as soon as you can so that you can move on with your life. That’s entirely understandable.

But under Louisiana law, you have to wait until your divorce can be finalized. No matter how much you cooperate and do your best to make it as friendly and uncomplicated as you can, there is a clock that has to run down. 

Waiting periods

Louisiana has provisions for a “no-fault” divorce, meaning that you can divorce without stating any cause other than both parties agree to it. While that greatly simplifies the process and allows both parties to focus on the future along with how to split things up, it does come with one string attached.

If you have no children, you must be separated for 180 days before a divorce can be granted. That means you have to live in different places and lead separate lives. This might seem expensive, but you have plans to live apart afterwards anyway it simply means that you must get on with that part of the process first.

If there are children involved, the waiting period before a divorce can be granted is a full year of living separately. This is rigidly enforced, even if the couple agrees on everything and makes the process as simple as possible.

Divorce with cause

There are circumstances where a divorce can be granted immediately, based on Louisiana Civil Code article 103. In cases where one party in the marriage has been jailed, committed adultery, or been abusive to either their spouse or the children the waiting periods do not apply.

This requires you to either prove the charges in court or have your spouse confess to them. It rarely makes things easier, except when they are currently in jail and the situation is obvious.

Considering a split?

Divorce is never an easy process no matter what. The time that it takes is not usually dependent on these waiting periods, but rather on how well the two partners can negotiate the break-up.

In all cases, it’s important to talk to an family law attorney if you are contemplating divorce so that you know what to expect through the difficult journey ahead. It’s rarely simple, no matter how eager you may to have it all behind you and start your life over.