Louisiana Family Law:
Louisiana Adultery Divorce
Adultery is the only way to get a divorce without having to wait at least six months. Assuming you can prove adultery occurred, you can have a judgment of divorce the first time you go to court. The problem is one of proof. You will need the supporting testimony of one or more witnesses as well as your own.
TIP: Because an adultery divorce is a contested matter and must be set for trial, it can often take longer to get divorced than a no-fault divorce. Do not sue for divorce based on adultery simply because you assume it will be faster.
How do you prove your spouse committed adultery? Private detectives taking pictures through the window of a cheap motel as it is portrayed on the late show may not be necessary. It will be up to the individual judge as to the amount of proof required, although the Louisiana higher courts have stated that you must at least show the time and place the adultery took place as well as the name of the other party, if known.
We have seen many divorces granted after a trial that proceeded like this: the petitioner takes the stand to present his or her testimony. This testimony includes the reason the petitioner suspected adultery had occurred followed by a recounting of how petitioner and two witnesses saw the defendant enter the one bedroom apartment of a person of the opposite sex at 8:00 p.m. on the ninth of January. At 1:00 a.m. the lights went out and at 9:00 a.m. the defendant left the apartment and drove to work. The two witnesses each take the stand and confirm the petitioner’s story.
WARNING: Collusive Adultery. We are frequently asked the question “Why not just have both parties agree that there was adultery if they want a quick divorce?” The answer to that is clear. There has to be independent proof of the adultery. Otherwise, the divorce is considered collusive and will not be granted.
The law requires that you prove your case to the exclusion of every other reasonable explanation of what occurred. The mere fact that a man and a woman spend the night together at the same residence is not by itself necessarily enough proof that adultery took place. In this case, if the suit has not been contested by the defendant, the judge might assume that adultery took place. If the spouse contests the suit, he or she will have to come up with an explanation as to what did happen in that apartment which, under the circumstances, would not be easy.
He received his Juris Doctor degree from the Louisiana State University Law Center in 1975. He is a frequent speaker in the estate planning field for corporate sponsored groups and also teaches estate planning seminars sponsored by the National Business Institute for lawyers’ continuing legal education requirements.
Mr. Covell is a member of the Louisiana and 22nd JDC Bar Associations. He is also chairman of the Estate Planning Committee of the Attorney General’s Elder Law Task Force. He is co-author of the Louisiana Legal Advisor which is a popular book on Louisiana law written for the layman, now in its 5th edition.
Mr. Covell is a Series 65 licensed investment advisor and is managing partner of Covell Financial, LLC, a registered investment advisor firm. Covell Financial is associated with TD Ameritrade as an institutional investor partner.