I can’t count how many times clients come in with this question. The answer is, well, it really depends. In Louisiana, unless there are special circumstances, a divorce judgment is granted after the spouses have lived apart for a requisite period of time prescribed by the statute: If the couple has minor children, they must live separate and apart for 365 days prior to the final divorce judgment. If they do not have minor children, they must live separate and apart for 180 days.
This does not mean that you cannot file for the divorce prior to the separation. A party can file for divorce and then wait the time period before asking for a final divorce or a party can live separate and apart for the time period and then file for a final divorce. There are pros and cons to both methods.
The amount of time it takes to process your divorce through the Court system depends on many factors. The level of disagreement, the number of issues to be resolved (child support and custody, spousal support, custody) and the caseload of the Court. These issues can significantly affect the length of time it takes for your divorce to become final and the amount of money you will ultimately spend on your divorce.
Divorcing couples who use mediation as a tool to resolve issues like spousal support, custody and property spend less time in the divorce process and are generally happier with the results. It is a process that helps divorcing couples keep their time, money and sanity and walk away from the marriage with improved communication.