Can My Spouse Stop Me From Getting a Divorce in Louisiana?

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You do not need to get consent from your spouse to get a divorce in Louisiana. Gone are the days when your partner can just simply stop you from getting a divorce. Sure, they can make the process more difficult, but they cannot ultimately stop you from obtaining a judgment of divorce forever dissolving your connection to them.  

Many spouses will tell their partners they don’t agree to the divorce or they won’t sign the divorce paperwork. You do not need a reason to file for divorce in Louisiana. The state has adopted “No-Fault” divorces which allow you to get a divorce without alleging fault. A 102-Divorce is also known as a “No-Fault” divorce in that you can file the petition without alleging that your partner did anything that would cause the breakup of the marriage.  

The Living Separate and Apart Rule 

If you do not allege fault in a Louisiana divorce, you will have to follow the “Living Separate and Apart” rule adopted by the state. There are legal guidelines that state how long you have to live separate from your spouse before you can finalize your divorce.  

The living separate and apart time periods are as follows: 

  1. Married with children under 18 years of age – 365 days; 
  1. Married with no children under 18 years of age – 180 days. 

Once you satisfy this time period, a judge can sign your Judgment of Divorce. Your spouse cannot stop you from this process as long as you file the correct paperwork. It’s important to speak with a Louisiana divorce attorney to make sure your petition for divorce is filed correctly and your rights are protected.  

Can My Spouse Slow Down the Divorce Process? 

Spouses have been known to attempt to stall the divorce process, so you have to be careful and make sure you do everything correct. If you are filing for an uncontested divorce in Louisiana, your spouse cannot delay the proceedings as long as you filed correctly.

However, there are a few things spouses can do to slow divorce proceedings in Louisiana such as: 

  1. Avoid service; 
  1. Claim you haven’t been separated long enough; 
  1. File their own divorce paperwork, etc. 

These are all stalling tactics purely to keep you in the relationship longer than you want to be. Let’s discuss avoidance of service. In order for you to get divorced in Louisiana, you have to obtain service or have them sign a Waiver of Service. Most spouses will simply sign the Waiver of Service as it saves money on court filing fees, wraps the divorce up quicker and prevents you from having to serve them in public or at work. If they don’t execute the Waiver of Service, then you must have them officially served with the divorce paperwork.  

Some spouses get dirty and try to avoid service as a stalling tactic. Unfortunately, it works, but only briefly. If they continue to avoid service, you can have the court appoint an attorney as a Curator. That attorney’s job is to find your spouse and have him served. If he or she cannot locate your spouse, they submit paperwork to the court stating such and the proceedings will be allowed to continue. You can then obtain your divorce.  

Your spouse can also claim you have not been separated long enough to satisfy the Living Separate and Apart rule. Your petition for divorce names the exact date that you began living separate and apart and it is important that this date is correct because that’s when the clock begin ticking. Spouses have been known to dispute this date as a means to prolong the marriage. They will have to file their own petition and there’s a good chance you will have to have a hearing in front of the judge to determine the date you separated. You may need to bring witnesses and evidence to prove your case. You can still get divorced, but your spouse may effectively prolong the date if he or she wins the hearing.  

Another tactic used is when a spouse files their own divorce. If you filed first, most jurisdictions will use the first petition filed in the case and will move the second petition. This happens often, but is just a waste of time and resources as you can still obtain your divorce.  

Ancillary matters such as child custody, child support, community property and spousal support are separate matters and could take years to litigate. While your spouse may drag their feet on these matters for years, this doesn’t mean you can’t still get divorced in the meantime. Louisiana allows you to get divorced and handle these other matters at a later date. Child custody issues can literally linger until the children are adults and it would be unfair for parents to have to remain married until that matter is completely settled. Community property matters in Louisiana can also take a number of years to complete.  

The 103-Divorce or At-Fault Divorce Provides Quicker Option 

The 103-Divorce is designed to allow you a divorce based on the fault of your spouse. The judicial system recognizes that a person should not have to remain attached to a spouse that abuses them, cheats on them or harms them in any way and will allow them an immediate divorce. You still have to follow a set of rules when filing your divorce, but you do not have to satisfy the living separate and apart rule. You will have to file a 103-Divorce petition alleging fault of your spouse and state what they did and set it for a Rule to Show Cause where you will have a hearing in front of the Judge assigned to your case.  

While a spouse cannot stop you from filing for divorce in Louisiana, there are a few things they can do to prolong the process. It’s best to speak with an experienced Louisiana divorce lawyer in your parish and let them walk you through the process. An attorney will ensure your divorce is filed timely, accurately and as painless as possible. They can also protect you from a spouse that tries to prolong your divorce proceedings. As always, it’s recommended that you contact a number of attorneys to find the best fit for you and the best price. Here’s an article that will give you a few tips when hiring an attorney.  

Disclaimer: This blog post is not meant to be taken as legal advice. You must speak with an attorney as this website does not give legal advice, nor does it intend to replace the advice of an attorney.  

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