Unless you contracted a covenant marriage, there are two kinds of divorce in Louisiana, fault and no fault.
In order to obtain a fault divorce, a spouse must have (1) committed adultery; (2) committed a felony and has been sentenced to death or imprisonment at hard labor; (3) physically or sexually abused the spouse seeking the divorce, or a child of one of the spouses; and (4) a protective order or an injunction against abuse has been issued to protect the spouse seeking a divorce.
If none of the above listed circumstances apply in your case, you should file for a no fault divorce.
For a fault divorce, there is no time period that must elapse in order to obtain a Judgment of Divorce.
For a no fault divorce, if you have minor children, you must live separate and apart for 365 days. If you do not have minor children, you must live separate and apart for 180 days.
For a custody dispute between parents, Louisiana determines custody in accordance with the best interest of the child. The best interest of the child is determined by analyzing twelve factors:
(1) The love, affection, and other emotional ties between each party and the child.
(2) The capacity and disposition of each party to give the child love, affection, and spiritual guidance and to continue the education and rearing of the child.
(3) The capacity and disposition of each party to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, and other material needs.
(4) The length of time the child has lived in a stable, adequate environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity of that environment.
(5) The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.
(6) The moral fitness of each party, insofar as it affects the welfare of the child.
(7) The mental and physical health of each party.
(8) The home, school, and community history of the child.
(9) The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient age to express a preference.
(10) The willingness and ability of each party to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other party.
(11) The distance between the respective residences of the parties.
(12) The responsibility for the care and rearing of the child previously exercised by each party.
For a custody dispute between a non-parent and a parent, the non-parent must show that awarding custody to either parent will result in substantial harm to the child.
Child support is set by using a formula created by the Legislature. What is included in determining a person’s income is left to the discretion of the Court. Once child support is set, the Court also has certain situations when it may deviate from the recommended support order. This is also left to the discretion of the Court.
If you do not like the current custody arrangement, you may ask the Court to revise the current situation. The standard you must reach to change a custody arrangement depends on whether you have a Consent Judgment, an agreement on custody, or a Considered Judgment, where the Court rendered the Judgment without having the parties agree on it.
In order to modify a Consent Judgment, the party seeking to change custody must show that there has been a material change in circumstances and that the proposed custody arrangement is in the best interest of the child.
In order to modify a Considered Judgment, the party seeking to change custody must show that the current custody arrangement is so deleterious to the child that a change of custody is warranted or that the benefits of the proposed custody substantially outweigh the drawbacks.
Louisiana has a relocation statute that must be followed when seeking to move outside of Louisiana or move to another place in Louisiana more than 75 miles away.
In order to be granted relocation, the party seeking to relocate must show that the attempted relocation is being made in good faith. The Court considers the following twelve factors in determining whether to grant or deny relocation:
(1) The nature, quality, extent of involvement, and duration of the child’s relationship with the parent proposing to relocate and with the nonrelocating parent, siblings, and other significant persons in the child’s life.
(2) The age, developmental stage, needs of the child, and the likely impact the relocation will have on the child’s physical, educational, and emotional development, taking into consideration any special needs of the child.
(3) The feasibility of preserving a good relationship between the nonrelocating parent and the child through suitable visitation arrangements, considering the logistics and financial circumstances of the parties.
(4) The child’s preference, taking into consideration the age and maturity of the child.
(5) Whether there is an established pattern of conduct of the parent seeking the relocation, either to promote or thwart the relationship of the child and the nonrelocating party.
(6) Whether the relocation of the child will enhance the general quality of life for both the custodial parent seeking the relocation and the child, including but not limited to financial or emotional benefit or educational opportunity.
(7) The reasons of each parent for seeking or opposing the relocation.
(8) The current employment and economic circumstances of each parent and whether or not the proposed relocation is necessary to improve the circumstances of the parent seeking relocation of the child.
(9) The extent to which the objecting parent has fulfilled his or her financial obligations to the parent seeking relocation, including child support, spousal support, and community property obligations.
(10) The feasibility of a relocation by the objecting parent.
(11) Any history of substance abuse or violence by either parent, including a consideration of the severity of such conduct and the failure or success of any attempts at rehabilitation.
(12) Any other factors affecting the best interest of the child.
There are two kinds of spousal support, interim and final. Interim spousal support is awarded while the divorce is pending and can last up to 180 days past the divorce being granted. Final spousal support is awarded after the Judgment of Divorce is granted.
In order to obtain interim spousal support, the party seeking spousal support must show that he or she has a need for support, the other party has the ability to pay, and what the standard of living was during the marriage.
In order to obtain final spousal support, the party seeking support must show that he or she is free from fault in the break up of the marriage. The Court may consider nine factors in awarding final spousal support:
(1) The income and means of the parties, including the liquidity of such means.
(2) The financial obligations of the parties, including any interim allowance or final child support obligation.
(3) The earning capacity of the parties.
(4) The effect of custody of children upon a party’s earning capacity.
(5) The time necessary for the claimant to acquire appropriate education, training, or employment.
(6) The health and age of the parties.
(7) The duration of the marriage.
(8) The tax consequences to either or both parties.
(9) The existence, effect, and duration of any act of domestic abuse committed by the other spouse upon the claimant, regardless of whether the other spouse was prosecuted for the act of domestic violence.
No. Property that either spouse has before the spouses marry remains his or her separate property unless it is donated to the community or is commingled. You should be extremely cautious before mixing separate and community property.