How do you file for divorce?

How do you file for divorce?

gavel and wedding rings sit atop a legal textbook

Although divorce is common in Louisiana, the process varies depending on the couple’s unique situation. Some divorce filings are quick, easy processes. Others can be drawn out for years, with minor children and marital debt to consider.

No matter how amicably you have split with your partner, tensions run high during divorce proceedings. The easy divorce you expect may end up becoming far more complicated as you both work through your emotional baggage and stress while dividing your assets.

Whether you anticipate an easy divorce or a more challenging filing process, it is always in your best interests to hire an experienced divorce attorney. The divorce lawyers at The Johnson Firm are experts in representing clients, protecting their rights, and fighting for a fair resolution.

Call us today at (337) 433-1414 to book a consultation.

6 Steps to File for Divorce

1. Filing the Divorce Petition

To put a divorce in motion, you will need to officially file for divorce with the courts. This is a legal petition that asks the court to terminate your marriage.

To file the divorce petition, you need to include the following:

  • A statement proving to the court that at least one spouse meets the state’s residency requirement (has lived in Louisiana for at least six months)
  • A legal reason for the divorce
  • Any other statutory information required by the courts

Next, you need legal reasons for divorce and assert that it is a no-fault proceeding based on a length of separation or that the other partner is at fault for the divorce based on one of the allowable fault grounds.

2. Addressing other issues besides divorce

In most cases, filing for divorce requires a lot of waiting. The courts have to process your application and approve it before you can take up the divorce.

However, there are other issues like custody, child support, spousal support, use of home or other assets, and the like that need to be addressed more quickly.  In such a circumstance, you can file a request to have these other issues addressed while waiting for the divorce to be finalized.

The court will hold an expedited hearing, request information from each spouse, and make a temporary ruling until the divorce is finalized. The terms agreed to for the temporary orders may change when the divorce is finalized.

3. Serving Your Spouse

Once you file for divorce (and temporary orders), you will need to serve your spouse with a copy of the paperwork. This will need to be served with proof that you can show the court so they are aware that you met the legal requirements for providing a copy to your spouse. Failure to serve your spouse properly can result in your case being denied.

Most spouses are willing to sign an acknowledgment of service, as they agree with the divorce. Otherwise, the sheriff generally serves the other party.  However, some wish to stay married or want to challenge their partner. This can make it more complicated. In this case, discuss options with your divorce attorney. They have experience filing for divorce and will know of professionals who can deliver the legal documents for a minimal cost.

The Johnson Firm has worked on numerous challenging cases where we have assisted our clients in securing acknowledgment of service.

4. Receiving Paperwork from Spouse

Once your spouse has received the paperwork, they need to file an answer to the divorce petition within a prescribed period of time.

Spouses can respond and dispute the terms of the divorce and the grounds stated. This is often where cases become complicated enough to go to trial.

If they do not respond, the judge may make a default judgment. This means you get the relief sought without opposition from the other side.

5. Negotiate a Settlement with Mediation

If spouses cannot agree on important topics, such as child support or property division, divorce lawyers and the courts may recommend mediation. During meditation, a third party will meet with the couple to facilitate discussions and resolve lingering tensions.

This can be the best way to save time and money on your divorce.

5. Divorce Trial

When negotiations fail, spouses can ask the court for help by going to trial. If your spouse refuses to communicate and compromise, this may be the best course of action to achieve your ideal terms for the divorce.

It takes the power out of your spouse’s hands and puts it in the hands of a judge. As a neutral third party, they can make rulings based on evidence rather than emotion.

6. Final Judgment

The final judgment, also known as the “Judgment of Divorce”, is filed once all of the terms for the divorce have been ordered.

This is the point at which the divorce you filed for is official.

Hire a Skilled Divorce Attorney to Help You File for Divorce Today

How do you file for divorce? Getting a divorce is already a tough decision; let a professional help you with the rest. Navigating the process of filing for a divorce adds stress to an already stressful situation.

Hire an expert divorce attorney from The Johnson Firm to steer you through the process of filing for divorce.

Schedule a Consultation

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We believe every person deserves a fair, honest, and just defense and defend clients charged with the pettiest of offenses to the most serious of crimes.

Our attorneys will thoroughly examine every detail of your case and fight to resolve any discrepancies revealed. We have a passion for the truth and will challenge anyone who attempts to obscure it.