Common Pitfalls in Trying to Get Divorced in Louisiana
While practicing family law here in Louisiana, I have dealt literally with dozens upon dozens upon dozens of family law cases. Over the course of my career, there are a number of different pitfalls, snafus, and other mistakes which people commonly make when they are trying to get divorced from their spouse. I thought that for the purpose of edifying my reader as well as the public at large, I might publish a few of those common missteps which people make. Please note that this list is certainly not all-inclusive, and if you are thinking about getting divorced you should definitely consult with an attorney!
One very general and common mistake which I see couples making is failing to live separate and apart for the requisite time period under Louisiana law. Depending on whether or not there are children from the marriage or not, a spouse who desires to be divorced must live ‘separate and apart’ from the other spouse for a period of either six months or a full year. There are a couple different reasons for this, and I have went into those reasons in other articles. Suffice to say that the politicians here in Louisiana want couples to think long and hard about getting divorced (albeit in different abodes!)
If you do not have children in the marriage, than you only need to live separate and apart for six months. Sometimes this may be easier said than done. Many times the spouses in a marriage may still long for each other physically and mentally, and in a very big way. One must remember that if you give in to these urges and resume living with your spouse, than the period of time which you must wait before getting a divorce will have to start all over again. When a couple has made it apparent that they are trying to live with one another again, courts in Louisiana consider this an act of “reconciliation.”
That said, keep in mind that going out for a drink with your soon to be ex-husband or ex-wife does not necessarily mean that the time limits will have to restart. Similarly, going to visit them at their home, meeting them for dinner, or talking to them on the phone are all examples of things which probably would not trigger the aforesaid “reconciliation” provision. If the court is going to find reconciliation took place, they will have to see something clearly more substantial at work between the two spouses. For example, if one spouse moves back in with the other spouse for an extended period of time. Another example might be if the two spouses stop living separate and apart in order to go on a trip to Paris France for a month and a half. In these examples we see a sustained, explicit, and intentional act and intent which signifies the desire to still be with the other spouse for an extended period of time.