There are two types of divorces in Louisiana:
(1) Divorce purusant to La. Civil Code article 103 (a 103 Divorce) wherein you separate from your spouse for the requisite period of time and then file; or,
(2) Divorce pursuant to La. Civil Code article 102 (a 102 Divorce) wherein you file for the divorce and then separate for the requisite period of time.
If you have minor children, the requisite time period of separation is 365 days If you do not have minor children, it is 180 days.
Both types of divorce (a 102 and a 103) must be properly served on the other spouse. In a 102 divorce, the time period begins as of the date of service. If you do not know the whereabouts of your spouse, you will need to appoint a process server or curator.
So which is right for you?
Typically, if you need help from the court, then you will need to file as soon as possible and will likely file a 102 divorce. Your spouse will be served and the time periods will begin to run. The Court can issue orders that govern support, custody, use of the home, use of vehicles, use of community funds, etc. These orders are incidental to your divorce and will be decided shortly after filing. The Court sets a hearing before the Hearing Officer or District Judge who will make determinations as to what is requested in your pleadings.
You would also want to file divorce as soon as practicable if your spouse is financially irresponsible regardless of whether you have been separated the necessary amount of time or not. Once the divorce is final, the date of termination of the community is always retroactive to the date the petition was filed. This can become especially important where one spouse continues to incur debt or spend assets unwisely.
The process to finalize each divorce is different and each is time sensitive. If you do not take steps to finalize your 102 Divorce within two (2) years of the date of service, the case abandons.
Navigating divorce can be tricky. To learn more information regarding divorce, contact an experienced attorney at De St. Germain Law Office today, at (985) 718-4550, or by email to schedule a free initial consultation.