Louisiana Divorce Laws

Are you thinking of filing for divorce in Louisiana? Before you enter into this emotional process, be certain you understand the laws surrounding divorce in your state.

Who Can File for Divorce and On What Grounds

In order to file for divorce in Louisiana, the spouse who files must be a state resident for at least 12 months before filing. The divorce is granted in any parish where either spouse lives.

Louisiana allows both fault and no-fault divorce. In the case of no-fault divorce, the courts will grant divorce when the spouses have continuously lived separate and apart for a minimum of 180 days before filing. Causes for fault divorce include:

  • Adultery
  • Commitment of a felony
  • Abandonment of the matrimonial home for a continuous 12 month period
  • Physical or sexual abuse of a spouse or child
  • The couple has lived apart continuously for two years
  • The spouses have lived apart continuously for one year following a judgment of separation

If you are a member of the military who has been stationed in Louisiana for a period of one year or more, you may qualify to file for divorce in the state. Contact an attorney who is knowledgeable in military family law to ensure that all aspects of this law are met before you file.

Division of Property

Louisiana is a Community Property state, meaning that all property belonging to the couple will be divided equally by the courts. When determining who will receive the couple’s home, the courts typically favor the parent who retains custody of the children. Other factors considered in this decision include:

  • Value of the spouse’s property
  • Economic circumstances and needs of each spouse
  • The children’s needs
  • Contributions made by each spouse to the acquisition of community property
  • Future earning potential

Child Custody

Whenever possible, Louisiana family courts encourage parents to come to a mutual agreement as to who will have custody of the children. When this is not possible, the courts will step in and make the decision based on what is in the children’s best interests. The factors considered include:

  • Love, affection and emotional ties of the child and each parent
  • The ability and tendency of each parent to give affection, love, and spiritual guidance to the child, as well as to continue the rearing of the child, which includes the child’s education
  • The ability and desire of each parent to provide medical care, material needs, food, and clothing to the child
  • The duration that the child has lived in a stable and adequate environment, and the desire to continue that situation
  • The permanence of the proposed custodial homes
  • Moral character of each party as it affects the child
  • Each parent’s mental and physical health
  • The child’s adjustment to school, home, and community
  • The child’s preferences
  • The ability and willingness of the parents to foster a close, continuing relationship with the other parent
  • Geographic factors
  • How much responsibility each parent has previously exercised with regard to the rearing and care of the children


In some instances, the courts will order one spouse to support the other after divorce. The factors that contribute to this decision include:

  • Needs of the parties
  • Income and means of each individual
  • Financial obligations
  • Earning capacities
  • Custody of children and the way that affects earning capacity
  • Time needed for maintenance recipient to acquire appropriate education, training, or employment
  • Health and age of each party
  • Duration of the marriage
  • Tax consequences

In cases involving child support, Louisiana follows the Income Shares Model. This determines the child support amount proportionally to each parent’s income. The state assumes that both parents will shoulder some responsibility in the care of the children.