Divorce is ranked as one of the toughest things you can ever go through in your life. Those who have been through a divorce before will tell you how difficult it was. Many spouses refuse to give up on the marriage even after the other party has decided they’ve had enough.
Some spouses also believe they can slow down the Louisiana divorce proceedings to buy them time to change your mind. They also believe they can stop you from filing the divorce and remain in the marriage against your will. You have the right to divorce if that is your desire. A spouse cannot keep you in a marriage or deny you the right to end it when you want to.
One thing some spouses do to prolong the inevitable divorce is avoid being served with the divorce petition. This is just another way to control you and try to keep you married to them. They believe that they can stop you from getting a divorce by avoiding being served with the divorce papers. However, they are only prolonging the process and making your life a little more difficult than it needs to be.
If you are trying to get a divorce in Louisiana and your spouse is avoiding service, you can still get a divorce if you follow these instructions. Also, keep in mind this procedure is much easier with the assistance of a Louisiana divorce attorney. An experienced attorney will know the parish procedures and will be able to protect your rights and help you get divorced faster.
This article will show you how to serve divorce papers in Louisiana, find a spouse that is actively avoiding service and what the court system does when a party to a divorce engages in this type of behavior.
When you file for divorce in Louisiana, there are a few things you must do for your divorce to be valid. First, you must file the petition with the proper parish. Next, you must have your Petition for Divorce served on your spouse. The court system will send the petition to the local Sheriff’s Department and they will locate your spouse and serve him or her with your divorce paperwork. The filing fees you pay cover this service. Most parishes charge around $400 to $500 in filing fees and a portion of that fee is for service. Keep in mind that if your spouse agrees to sign and execute the Waiver of Service, you can save filing fees. If the Sheriff’s Department cannot effectively serve your spouse due to them avoiding service, you may have to execute service by private process server. This will be more expensive, but sometimes private process servers are able to serve the paperwork when Sheriff’s Department is not able to.
A private process server could be a private investigator that is highly successful at executing service on individuals who tend to avoid service in Louisiana and may have more luck than the Sheriff’s Department. If the court appointed private process server is not able to serve your divorce papers, then you will have to take another step with the court. This part of the process is much easier with an experienced Louisiana divorce attorney.
Appoint a Curator for Your Louisiana Divorce
If you’ve attempted to serve your spouse and have come up short, you can now request that the Judge deem him or her an absent person and allow you to take the next step. You will need to have the court appoint an attorney to serve as a curator. A curator’s job is to represent an absent person, such as your spouse, and allow you to proceed in the divorce proceedings. The curator fee can range from $400 to $600 depending on which parish you live in. You must provide your attorney with information regarding your spouse’s last known whereabout, phone number and any other way they can contact him or her. If you do not have an attorney representing you, it is up to you to provide the court appointed curator with any information they can use to locate your spouse. The curator normally sends a copy of your divorce petition via certified mail to the last known address of your spouse and will place an ad in the legal whereabouts of the local newspaper.
There’s a good chance the court appointed curator will not locate your spouse, but that’s ok, they can then testify in court that they exhausted all options. This is an expensive, but necessary route when your spouse avoids service.
If you have a spouse that’s avoiding service in Louisiana, you’re not alone. It happens more than you could imagine. Your best bet is to contact a Louisiana divorce attorney before you go too far in the process because you can spend a lot of money if you don’t do it correctly.
Here’s a quick recap of what to do if your spouse is avoiding service in Louisiana:
- Speak with a Louisiana Divorce attorney;
- Give your attorney all contact information for your spouse;
- Have the Sheriff’s Department attempt service; if this doesn’t work,
- Have the court appoint a private process server; if this doesn’t work,
- Have the court deem him or her an absent person;
- Appoint a curator;
- Proceed with divorce.
Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to be used as legal advice. Appointing a curator in Louisiana can be a complicated process and you should contact an attorney immediately. This website does not give legal advice.
If you are considering hiring a Louisiana divorce attorney, but not sure what to look for – this article may be helpful.