THINKING OF DIVORCE?
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The Notary Public the Judge nor the Clerk of Court’s office can give you legal advice. If you decide to represent yourself, the court will hold you to the same standard as people who are represented by lawyers.
It is up to you to become familiar with the applicable law and courtroom procedures should you decide to file for a divorce without a lawyer; however, we can help with the proper paperwork and notarizations.
Your spouse cannot stop you from getting a divorce by refusing to sign the documents. Under Louisiana law you can get a divorce if you prove you have grounds for a divorce.
The Louisiana Civil Code provides for two types of divorces for spouses in traditional, non-covenant marriages.
Article 102 provides for a no-fault divorce for marriages with or without minor children. No-fault divorces are for spouses who have not yet been living separate and apart for the required waiting period, which is either 180 or 365 days.
If there are no minor children, or if there is physical or sexual abuse, then the waiting period is 180 days or less. If there are minor children of the marriage, then the waiting period is 365 days.
Article 103 provides for a no-fault divorce for marriages with or without minor children. Article 103 no-fault divorces are for spouses who have already been living separate and apart for the required waiting period, which is either 180 or 365 days.
Article 103 also provides for two fault-based divorces for marriages with or without minor children. The two fault-based grounds for divorce under Article 103 are for where the other spouse has committed adultery or sentenced to death or imprisonment at hard labor for committing a felony. There is no waiting period for an Article 103 fault-based divorce.
The petition for divorce has to be filed in with the Clerk of Court's Office. The Clerk of Court does not notarize documents. There is a fee to file a petition for divorce with the Clerk of Court's Office.
NEED ASSISTANCE WITH FILING FEES?
If you cannot afford the filing fee you may file an affidavit with the court to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP). Not only must you swear and prove to the court that you cannot afford to pay the filing fees, but you will also need a witness who knows you to swear to the court that you can’t afford to pay the filing fees.
This affidavit must be notarized. We can help you with this.
The Louisiana Supreme Court provides an IFP affidavit for use in the district courts. If allowed to proceed IFP, you will not have to pay the filing fees in advance. The fees will be assessed by the judge at the end of the case though, and if you lose your case the court may assess the fees to you.
NOTE THAT AN APPROVED IFP APPLICATION DOES NOT MEAN YOU WILL NEVER HAVE TO PAY THE FEES.
An approved IFP application means that your case can move forward before you pay the fees, but that you will still have to pay court fees at a later date.