I believe it is safe to say that fault plays a huge role in the demise of many failed marriages. There is usually plenty of blame to go around and spouses that are seeking a divorce sometimes believe that the court should be involved in the blame game. Divorces in Louisiana courts, however, do not always involve fault-based arguments. In an action for divorce, the fault of a party is only legally relevant in a few situations under the Louisiana Civil Code. The following are a few of the provisions that address fault in a divorce action:
1) Article 103(2) — This article allows a spouse to obtain a divorce immediately, without complying with the Article 103.1 separate and apart waiting periods when the other spouse has committed adultery.
2) Article 103(3) — This article provides for an immediate divorce when the other spouse has committed a felony and has been sentenced to death or imprisonment at hard labor.
3) Article 103(1)(c) — This article provides for a 180-day waiting period (where the parties have minor children and would otherwise have a 365-day waiting period) when after a contradictory hearing or consent decree, a protective order or an injunction has been issued, in accordance with law, against the other spouse to protect the spouse seeking the divorce or a child of one of the spouses from abuse.
4) Article 111-112 — Spouses that are seeking final periodic support (often referred to as alimony), must be free from fault. A showing of fault can bar an award of final periodic support.
5) Article 113 et seq. — The particular type of fault at issue may weigh into the court’s determination of the best interest of the children and ultimately custody of the minor children.
6) Article 1556 et seq. — Certain inter-vivos donations may be revoked for ingratitude when the donee attempts to take the life of the donor or when the donee “has been guilty towards him of cruel treatment, crimes, or grievous injuries.”
For many divorces, however, fault is simply irrelevant and the no-fault provisions of the Civil Code are ulitized.
Note: This article does not address covenant marriages. Fault plays a different role in the termination of a covenant marriage which this article does not address.
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