Louisiana is one of several states to offer so-called “covenant marriages.” A covenant marriage essentially requires a couple to go through more steps (including counseling) before they get married and make specific agreements. Covenant marriages can also make it harder to get a divorce.
But divorce is still possible, even for those in a covenant marriage. They just shouldn’t expect it to be as easy (or as quick) as the typical no-fault divorce. If you’re in a covenant marriage, you also have to have “grounds” for your divorce, such as:
- One or both spouses has committed adultery
- One spouse has committed a felony and is sentenced to hard labor or death
- One spouse has abandoned the marital home for at least a year
- Physical or sexual abuse of one spouse by the other or of a child
- A two-year physical separation between the spouses
It may also be possible to obtain a judgment of “separation from bed and board” from the court based on issues like your spouse’s ill-temperament or ill-treatment of you. This will allow you and your spouse to shorten the time period between when you begin living separately and when you can finally pursue your divorce. It also has the advantage of making it clearer when the marital relationship actually ended — which is important when you go to divide the marital assets and debts.
Covenant marriages are controversial because they essentially ask couples who are about to marry to either declare their undying love or hedge their bets It is inevitable that some who pick a covenant marriage will regret it later. If you need help with this complex divorce process, get experienced legal advice early.