Louisiana law provides for two methods of obtaining divorce. They are generally referred to by the code articles that establish these two types, Article 102 and Article 103. The difference basically is that under an Article 102 divorce, the party seeking the divorce files for the divorce and then must wait the required amount of time before obtaining the divorce, based upon whether the parties have children of the marriage. Under Article 103, the parties must have been living separate and apart for the required amount of time before the divorce is filed. All types of divorce require that the other party be served with the petition or sign a waiver of service. A waiver of service is a document stating that the party has received a copy of the divorce petition or other pleading.
Under an Article 102 divorce, the petition is filed and served upon the other party. The time limits are 180 days if the parties do not have minor children and 365 days if they do have minor children. The days are counted from the date the petition is served upon the other party or the date the waiver of service is signed. Generally if there are children, a hearing is scheduled when the petition is filed. This hearing will be to determine child custody, child support, spousal support if sought and use of the family home or family vehicles if that is an issue. Community property is not decided at this hearing. After the time period has passed a rule for final divorce is filed and served upon the other party. A hearing is set to which neither party need attend and the judgement of divorce is presented to the judge for signature. If the parties have not previously agreed upon community property, then a division of community property can now be requested.