Posted on April 18, 2013 by Jenny Donaghey-Beckham

In Louisiana, there are divorces based on fault, such as when adultery is committed by one spouse, and there are no-fault divorces.

A no-fault divorce is one in which the spouses simply decide they no longer want to be married. Actually, one spouse alone can make this decision. The reason for this decision is irrelevant to the court, at least for the purposes of granting the divorce.

There are two ways to obtain a no-fault divorce: file then separate or separate then file.

If a person chooses to petition the court for divorce then separate from his/her spouse, the spouses must remain apart for 180 days after service of the divorce petition upon the non-filing spouse (or the execution of a written waiver of service), then motion the court to have the divorce finalized. It must be shown that the couple has actually remained apart for the required amount of time. If the couple has a minor child or children of the marriage, the time required to be apart is increased to 365 days.

If the spouses have been living separate and apart for a minimum of 180 days, or 365 days if they have minor children, a divorce will be granted upon petition of a spouse and proof of separation for the required amount of time.

Although a couple may have minor children together, there are situations in which the court will allow the time apart to be shortened to 180 days. For example, where the court finds a spouse has physically or sexually abused the spouse seeking divorce, or a child of one of the spouses, the divorce can be finalized in 180 days instead of 365.

Each situation is unique and consultation with an attorney, licensed in your jurisdiction, is always recommended to ensure you know all options available to you, should you decide to divorce your spouse or should you be served with a petition for divorce.