If your Google search has brought you to this page you are probably getting ready to file for divorce or are considering your options.
I’ve written a number of legal articles to help explain some of the nuances of filing for divorce in Louisiana and I hope this one will explain the numerous fees you may encounter in a way that is easy to understand.
Filing for Divorce in Louisiana
There are a few things you need to know in regards to “how much does it cost to file a divorce in Louisiana.”
First, it all depends on whether your divorce is a contested matter or uncontested. A contested divorce is one in which there are various issues the parties cannot agree on and wish to have a Judge rule on. This could include child custody, child support, community property and other ancillary matters that need to be settled.
An uncontested divorce in Louisiana is exactly what it sounds like; the parties agree. These are substantially easier, but still have particular requirements that must be met. You want to follow these court rules exactly or you will have to start over.
Uncontested divorces are substantially cheaper as there may not even be a court hearing. Basically, there is no fight. Sure, there may be small matters that you will have to work out with your spouse, but you have agreed to file the divorce and work them out without judicial assistance.
For the purpose of this article in discussing divorce fees in Louisiana, we will assume we are only talking about the actual filing. Attorney fees vary widely on contested divorces because you will likely have to enter into an hourly agreement. With attorney fees averaging $150-$300/hour, your legal fees can add up quickly!
Uncontested divorces are different, whereas, some attorneys will work out a flat fee arrangement with you. We do that here and it saves clients a substantial amount of money. You pay us one fee and we handle the rest. Our rates are highly competitive, call us for pricing.
How much does it cost to file for Divorce in Louisiana?
Once we have gathered all of the required information and compiled it into a Petition for Divorce, we now have to file the documents and have your ex-spouse served. If he/she accepts service, we execute what’s called a Waiver of Service. This saves on service fees and makes the process much quicker. Who wants to get served at work? I wouldn’t and most people agree to accept the service. It puts money back in your pocket if you have children together.
The Clerk of Court fees vary from parish to parish, but expect to pay anywhere from $250-$400 to have your Petition for Divorce filed. This includes service and if you can talk with your ex and get them to agree to accept service, you will get a portion of this back. This filing fee doesn’t go to your attorney, but is solely for the processing of your divorce paperwork.
The Clerk will stamp your petition and send it to the Judge’s chambers and present it for signature. If you are filing a 102 Divorce, there is a waiting period to have your divorce finalized. Let’s discuss that right now.
How long do I have to wait to get a Divorce in Louisiana?
- If you are married with children, the separation requirement in Louisiana is 365 days.
- If you are married without children, you only have to wait 180 days.
These are the “No-Fault” divorces, but you can file and claim adultery or abuse and that will speed up the waiting period.
If you haven’t met the required separation requirement before filing, you just have to file your petition and wait. If you have already been separated and living apart beyond the requirement, you file and the judge will sign your judgment and you will be divorced.
How Long Does a Divorce take once Filed?
Once your divorce is filed, it is out of your hands. Your Petition for Divorce will make its way to the Judge and he/she will review to make sure everything has been filed correctly. Once the Judgment for Divorce is signed, you will receive a copy and your divorce will be finalized. This part could take a week or longer depending on the court docket and how busy the judge is.
How can I get a quick divorce?
Unfortunately, there’s no real quick way to do it. Let’s say you’ve already been separated for the required amount of time to satisfy Louisiana’s separation requirement and your spouse agrees to sign the Waiver of Service, then it will be relatively quick. You just then have to wait for the Judge to sign and for it to pass through all of the systems.
Can my spouse slow down the divorce process?
Not really. If it’s a hotly contested case, then yes, they can file numerous things that keep you in court and fighting. If it’s an uncontested divorce, once you have gathered the information and spoken with your attorney, there’s not much your ex can do to prolong the inevitable. If you want a divorce, you can get a divorce and your ex cannot keep you in a relationship that you do not want to be in.
Can you get a divorce without your spouse’s consent in Louisiana?
Absolutely! Gone are the days when someone could just say they don’t agree to divorce. Sure, there may be issues that take years for the parties to hash out, but they can’t keep you married. Even avoiding service won’t stop the divorce.
I hope this article was helpful in explaining how much a divorce costs in Louisiana and the living separate and apart requirement. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call us at (318) 229-1608 or shoot me an email: Jerome@AndriesLawFirm.com.