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  • Writer's pictureClaire Edwards

Divorce- to file now or to file later?

Some people worry about the right time to file for divorce. Sometimes there is, in fact, a best time for a particular person to file for divorce. Sometimes the person can file whenever they feel ready. Here are some tips and terms your lawyer may use when talking about when to file divorce.

First your attorney may cover common reasons people file for divorce. Divorce Attorneys have seen many reasons for couples wanting to get a divorce. Such as, frequently people encounter lack of commitment, or too much arguing. Sometimes couples face infidelity. Other couples get married very young and/or with very unrealistic expectations. I often see lack of equality in the relationship play a role, and, unfortunately, I often see abuse as a reason for spouses to get divorced.

Then your lawyer may go over why you should file a divorce TODAY. This is very case by case basis. For example, if you're the spouse who needs spousal support from the other person, you'd want to file a La. C.C. Art. 102 divorce. This forces you and your spouse to live separate and apart without reconciliation before you can confirm the divorce. This also gives you the opportunity to file for interim spousal support while you're waiting on your divorce to go through.

Maybe you don’t need to file today so your lawyer will cover when is it a good idea to WAIT to file. This is also a case by case basis. For example, if you and your spouse have simply drifted to separate ways, that's ok. If you're already living in separate households, having separate bank accounts, and you both make about the same amount of money, this is certainly a good option. You don't have to file then wait. You can simply file a La. C.C. Art. 103(1) divorce after you've been living separate and apart without reconciliation (no sex!) for 6 months or more if you don't have kids.

When speaking with your attorney you can cover the difference in divorces with and without children. This does have some effect on the time span. For example, if you have kids when filing for divorce the statute La. C.C. Art. 103.1 provides that you must live separate and apart (different households, different addresses) without reconciliation (no sex!) for one (1) year to be able to get divorce as described above. If you do not have children, the waiting period is six (6) months.

Now what is the time span that you are looking at? Well, when people start the divorce process, they often want it to be very quick. It's got a few logistical (non-legal) steps in place: (1) meet with a lawyer, (2) let the lawyer type up the paperwork, (3) sign your portion of the paperwork, (4) you or the lawyer file the paperwork (divorce petition) with the clerk of court, (5) pay the filing fees $500ish to start off, (6) let the other spouse get served or sign a waiver of service...well I guess there were some legal things that take extra time! Regardless, a divorce is not immediate. Expect 1-2 months at the soonest from after you hit the 6 months to 1 year separate and apart date to have your final divorce decree.

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