LOUISIANA DIVORCE MADE EASY. DOCUMENTS DONE RIGHT!
LOUISIANA 3STEPDIVORCE TM - KEEPING YOUR UNCONTESTED DIVORCE SIMPLE
This easy to use online divorce is a "do it yourself (without a lawyer)"
solution for any uncontested divorce (with or without children) that
will be filed in the state of Louisiana. An uncontested divorce is one
in which you and your spouse are in agreement and eliminates the stress
and expense of settling your divorce in court.
With 3StepDivorce TM you can complete and print your divorce forms (including a marital settlement agreement) instantly. Then, follow our step-by-step procedures on how to file for divorce in Louisiana online. The online software is designed to give you full control of your divorce and also avoids the use of third party data entry, thus helping protect your personal information and privacy. If you're not ready to file for divorce, learn more about getting your Separation Agreement or learn more about the basics of divorce in Louisiana .
Online Divorce FAQs: Louisiana
Filing for divorce can seem overwhelming. Like starting almost any other legal proceeding, it takes finding the right forms, filling out the forms properly, and understanding the court's requirements for the next steps you'll need to take.
Traditionally, most people hired a lawyer to take care of all the legal matters in their divorce. But more and more couples are turning to a much cheaper option that's still easier than figuring out everything on their own: filing for divorce online.
If you want to know more, read on for answers to some of the most common questions about online divorce in Louisiana.
How Does Online Divorce Work in Louisiana?
Louisiana 3StepDivorce™ takes care of the divorce paperwork for you. Once you sign up for the service, you'll answer some questions about your situation. Based on your responses to the questionnaire, Louisiana 3StepDivorce™ will fill out the forms that you'll need to start the divorce process. You'll be able to print out the forms yourself immediately or, if you prefer, get hard copies by mail.
Can I File for Divorce in Louisiana?
Louisiana has two basic requirements to file for divorce in the state: a residency requirement, and a legally recognized reason for ending your marriage.
What Are the Residency Requirements for Divorce in Louisiana?
To get a divorce in Louisiana, one or both of the spouses must be “domiciled” in the state. To be considered domiciled in the state, the person must have established and maintained a residence in a parish of Louisiana for a period of six months. (La. Code Civ. Proc. art. 10 (2022).)
Does Louisiana Require a Long Separation Before You Can Get Divorced?
Like all states, Louisiana requires you to declare a legal reason (or “ground) for divorce in your initial paperwork. Unlike most other states, however, Louisiana doesn't allow you simply to state that your marriage is permanently broken or that you and your spouse have “irreconcilable differences.”
If you plan to file a no-fault divorce in Louisiana, you must live separately and apart from your spouse for a certain period of time before the court can finalize the divorce:
- 365 consecutive days if you have minor children, or
- 180 consecutive days if you don't have minor children.
You'll choose the type of no-fault divorce based on whether you've already completed the required separation period when you first file your papers:
- Article 102 divorce is for couples who haven't been living separately long enough at the time they start the divorce process—although they'll still have to meet the separation requirement (180 or 365 days from the time the divorce petition was served) by the time they get their final divorce.
- Article 103 divorce is for couples who have met the separation requirements as of the day the divorce petition is filed.
(La. Civ. Code art. 102, 103, 103.1 (2022).)
The only other legal divorce grounds in Louisiana are based on claims that your spouse engaged in misconduct, like adultery or abuse. But when you file for divorce based on one of the state's “fault” grounds, you'll have to prove your claims in court proceedings, and your case won't qualify as an “uncontested divorce” (more on that below). (La. Civ. Code art. 103 (2022).)
Do You Have a Louisiana Covenant Marriage?
Louisiana law recognizes a special type of marriage called “covenant marriage.” If you have a covenant marriage, you can get divorced only when “there has been a complete and total breach of the marital covenant commitment” due to one of several specific reasons. Couples must also attend counseling before a court can grant the divorce.
Covenant marriages are rare, and Louisiana 3StepDivorce™ doesn't currently provide assistance for couples ending a covenant marriage. If you aren't sure whether you have a covenant marriage, you probably don't—because it would have required extra steps before you got married, such as attending marriage counseling and signing a declaration of intent to contract a covenant marriage.
Do I Need a Lawyer to File for Divorce in Louisiana?
Many Louisiana residents are finding that they can file for divorce and get through the process without the expense of hiring a lawyer if they're filing for an “uncontested divorce” in the state. That means that they've agreed with each other about all of the legal issues in their divorce, including:
- how to divide their property and debts
- alimony, and
- child custody, visitation, and child support (if they have minor children).
If you still have disagreements with your spouse about these or any other issues involved in ending your marriage, you'll have to file for a traditional, contested divorce. Because that will involve legal battles and presenting evidence and arguments at court hearings, it would be risky to pursue a contested divorce without a lawyer to navigate the process for you—especially if your spouse has an attorney.
Can I Use Louisiana 3StepDivorce™ in My Situation?
You may use Louisiana 3StepDivorce™ as long as you have an uncontested divorce and meet the state's residency requirement. You'll need to have a written marital settlement agreement, signed by both you and your spouse, that covers all of the issues in your divorce. Louisiana 3StepDivorce™ will create this agreement for you, based on your answers to the questionnaire—which serves as a guide for the provisions and options you should consider.
Louisiana 3StepDivorce™ can also help if you aren't ready to file for divorce, but you want a separation agreement with your spouse. For instance, you might want to work out arrangements for support, custody of your children, who has to move out of the family home, and how to take care of the bills while you're separated but still legally married.
What If My Spouse and I Can't Agree on the Issues in Our Divorce?
Just because you haven't been able to agree with your spouse about everything in your divorce, that doesn't necessarily mean that you have to go through an expensive and time-consuming contested divorce. You could try divorce mediation.
If you're able to resolve your disagreements with the mediator's help, you can then use Louisiana 3StepDivorce™ to prepare the written settlement agreement, along with the other divorce paperwork.
Can I Get an Online Divorce in Louisiana If I Have Children?
Generally, you can use Louisiana 3StepDivorce™ even when you have minor children with your spouse, as long as you agree on all of the issues related to your kids, including legal and physical custody, a parenting (visitation) schedule, child support, health and dental insurance, and tax deductions.
Louisiana 3StepDivorce™ will allow you to address these issues in your settlement agreement. We provide a standard parenting schedule, but you'll have an option of customizing the schedule to meet your individual needs.
However, you won't be able to address custody-related issues with Louisiana 3StepDivorce™ if the affected child or children don't meet the “home state” requirement. Usually, this means that the child lived in Louisiana with a parent for six months before you filed for divorce. (La. Rev. Stat. § 13:1813 (2022).) If you don't meet the six-month requirement, you should speak with an attorney to find out whether you might qualify for one of the complicated exceptions to this rule.
How Will My Online Divorce in Louisiana Deal With Child Support?
In Louisiana, both parents have an obligation to support their children. And like all states, Louisiana has child support guidelines for calculating how much support the parents should pay, based largely on their incomes and custody arrangements.
3StepDivorce™ provides the Louisiana Child Support Guideline Worksheets, so you can easily calculate the state's guideline level of support. You and your spouse may agree to an amount of child support that differs from the guideline amount, but the judge will review your agreement to determine if the amount of support is in your children's best interests.
In your settlement agreement, you and your spouse may include child support provisions that aren't legally required, such as a parent's contributions to private school tuition or the cost of a child's college education. You may also agree on some specific questions like which parent will claim the children as dependents on tax returns.
Will We Be Able to Change the Amount of Child Support After Divorce?
After your divorce in Louisiana is final, you (or your spouse) may request a change in the amount of child support, but you'll need to show that your circumstances have changed significantly. The judge will review your request based on the same legal requirements for an original child support order.
If you want to save the time and expense of a court battle over a request to modify child support, you and your spouse may agree to a modification on your own.
How Will Online Divorce Handle Property and Debts From Our Marriage?
When you fill out your questionnaire for Louisiana 3StepDivorce™, you'll answer a series of questions about your separate and marital property and debts, including how you'll divide your marital property and allocate responsibility for payment of the marital debts.
What About the Family Home?
If you own a home with your spouse, your agreement can spell out what will happen to it when you get divorced. Here again, the questionnaire will include a few questions about the property and how you've chosen to deal with it, such as:
- selling the house and splitting the proceeds
- transferring ownership to one spouse, with the other spouse receiving money or other assets in exchange for that spouse's share, or
- continuing to own the property together while allowing one spouse to stay in the house for a period of time (and, if so, how you'll handle paying the mortgage and other ongoing costs).
What About Retirement Accounts?
In your Louisiana 3StepDivorce™, you may also agree on whether and how you'll divide any retirement accounts that you and your spouse have, including 401(k)s, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), and defined-benefit pensions.
If you started contributing to the retirement plan before you were married, you'll start by figuring out how much of its current value is marital property and how much is your separate property. There are experts and firms that will do this for you (for a fee, of course). The service is usually known as a pension appraisal or valuation. You'll almost always need this kind of expert help when you're dealing with a defined-benefit pension.
Once you know the marital value of your work-related retirement accounts, the easiest way to handle the division of the assets is not to split them but to transfer other assets as an offset. Here's how that works: Say you have a 401(k) through your job, and the marital portion of the account is worth $100,000. If you and your spouse agree to divide that portion down the middle, and you have other marital assets to divide (such as a regular savings account), your spouse could receive an extra $50,000 from those assets while you keep the entire 401(k). That way, you don't have to hire another expert to prepare the kind of special order that's needed to tell the 401(k) administrator how to divide the account.
The rules are different for IRAs. You may simply agree to have your spouse's share transferred to another IRA account in that spouse's name. (You'll have to submit a special form to the bank, along with a copy of your divorce decree.)
Can I Get Alimony With an Online Divorce in Louisiana?
You and your spouse may waive any right to alimony in your Louisiana divorce, or you may agree on the specifics of alimony payments: who will pay, how much, and for how long. Your agreement may also state whether a court could modify alimony at any time in the future, and it could cover related issues like health insurance and life insurance.
How Do I File My Divorce Papers in Louisiana?
When you get your completed forms with Louisiana 3StepDivorce™, your next step will be to file your paperwork at the court in the parish where you or your spouse live. To find your local court, visit the Louisiana State Bar's self-help page and enter your parish in the “Select a Parish” box at the bottom of the page.
How Much Is Louisiana's Filing Fee for Divorce?
Filing fees differ from parish to parish, so check with the clerk of court to find out the exact fees where you will file. The filing fees for divorce in Louisiana tend to range from $400 to $600.
What If I Can't Afford to Pay the Divorce Filing Fee?
If you can't afford to pay the filing fees, you can ask the judge to waive the fees by filing an affidavit with the court to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP). If the judge grants your request, the court allows you to have your fees deferred until the end of the case. Sometimes, the court will order one spouse to pay the other spouse's filing fees if there's a financial imbalance between the two parties.
How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take in Louisiana?
How long your divorce takes will depend on the court's schedule. Some parish courts are much busier than others. You should expect that it will take the court at least a month, and maybe up to six months, to finalize your divorce.
If you file an Article 102 divorce, expect to wait even longer. The court can't finalize your divorce until the required separation period is over: 365 days from the day the petition is served if you have minor children, or 180 days from the day the petition is served if you don't have minor children.
How Can I Get More Help With Louisiana Online Divorce?
Louisiana 3StepDivorce™ provides unlimited, live, person-to-person support for customers. If you have any questions about how uncontested divorce works, call our Louisiana Divorce Online Help Center at (888) 665-6782 (toll free), Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm (Pacific Time).
Please keep in mind that we are not lawyers and so cannot give out legal advice. If you have questions about Louisiana law or need legal advice, we recommend that you contact an experienced family law attorney in your area.