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Louisiana Divorce Definitions

This collection of definitions will help clarify some unique characteristics to the Louisiana Divorce laws, process and paperwork which is filed with the court.

Filing Party Title:
Petitioner

The spouse who will initiate the Divorce by filing the required paperwork with the court.

Non-Filing Party Title:
Respondent

The spouse who does not initiate the Divorce with the court.

Court Name:
__________ Judicial District Court Parish of ___________ , Louisiana

The proper name of the court in which a Divorce is filed in the state of Louisiana. Each jurisdictional court typically has a domestic relations or a family law department or division.

Child Support Enforcement Website:
http://www.dss.state.la.us/

The state run office devoted to enforcing existing child support orders and collecting any past due child support.

Document Introduction:
In Re the Marriage of:

The lead-in verbiage used in the legal caption or header of the documents filed with the court. The introduction typically prefaces both spouse’s names.

Initial Divorce Document:
Petition for Divorce

The title and name of the legal document that will initiate the Louisiana Divorce process. The filing spouse is also required to provide the non-filing spouse a copy of this document.

Final Divorce Document:
Judgment of Divorce

The title and name of the legal document that will finalize the Louisiana Divorce process. This document will be signed by the judge, master, or referee of the court to declare your marriage officially terminated.

Clerk’s Office Name:
District Clerk’s Office

The office of the clerk that will facilitate the Divorce process. This is the title you would address letters to or ask for when contacting the courthouse.

Legal Separation:

The grounds for legal separation (separation from bed and board) in Louisiana are the same as those for divorce from a covenant marriage (with the addition of habitual drunkeness). However, a spouse may petition the court for spousal and/or child support and restitution of separate property during a marriage. This is intended to provide for those spouses who desire to live apart, but not divorce. [Louisiana Statutes Annotated; Article 9, Chapters 291 and 307].

Property Distribution:
Community Property

The applicable Louisiana law that will dictate how property and debt is to be divided upon Divorce.