The Difference Between a Divorce and an Annulment in Louisiana
Divorce in Louisiana is a civil process that terminates a valid marriage union. A valid union may be formal or a covenant marriage. Annulment on the other hand is a legal action that dissolves an invalid marital union. The District Courts of the state in each parish handle cases of divorce and annulment in the state in accordance with the guidelines of the State Code on Divorce
What is a Louisiana Divorce Decree?
A divorce decree by Louisiana civil code is a document issued by the judge, signalling the finality of the process. It goes on to state the rights, responsibilities and roles of each party on matters pertaining to the division of assets, spousal support, and custody arrangements (if there are children involved). As the name implies, it is an enforceable court document. If a party fails to comply, the other party can take legal action
The records contained in documents related to family court include both marriage and divorce records. Both types of records contain information that is considered very personal to the parties involved, and it is recommended that those parties maintain these records with care in order to make changes in the future. The personal nature of these records results in both being considerably more difficult to find and obtain when compared to other types of public records. In many cases, these records are not available through either government sources or third party public record websites.
What is an Annulment in Louisiana?
Annulment is a legal procedure ( called a null marriage) that renders an existing union null and void. Articles 86 to 97 of the Louisiana Civil Code from the basis of the laws regarding this process. It applies to cases of of marriage that state laws prohibits, such as:
- Same sex marriages
- Marriage ties between descendants and ancestor
- Marriage with blood relatives to the 4th degree
- Forced marriage (child marriage for instance)
- Proxy marriages
When the court declares the nullity of the marriage, each party is eligible to file a similar process of injunctive relief like that of a divorce process. Annulment of marriages may be absolute, or relative. Absolute nullification refers to those annulled from the date of inception, while relative annulment is at the instance of the judge’s declaration.
The legal nature of annulment records makes it a public record. Hower, accessibility to them depends on a variety of factors. For example, the voided marriage involved a minor, intometer about him or her is withheld from the public unless to the parties involved or authorized government staff. Overall, annulment records are vital records in Louisiana, and the laws that guide public access to vital records accessibility determines who has access to them.
Annulment vs Divorce in Louisiana
Annulments and divorces share the commonality of an ultimate separation, should the process be successful. Also, they are both legal processes in the state of Louisiana. In addition, at least one party must be resident in the state to qualify to file for either of them.
The differences lie in the legal pathways, such as the forms used, the waiting time,etc. Both cases require the petitioner to file with the District Court of the parish where either of them may be domiciled. The forms for each case are different however. Divorce is easier for parties that have been separated for over a year. A separation is not necessary in an annulment process.
Is an Annulment Cheaper Than Divorce In Louisiana?
It depends. By principle, fewer appearances in count mean lower charges, either as court fees or a payment to a hired attorney. If the parties involved reason out matters together before going to Court, all the judge may require is the settlement agreement form for signing. This is provided that the terms of settlement are in accordance with state guidelines. Uncontested divorce for example, is likely to be cheaper in terms of time and resources than a contested divorce or an annulment petition that requires investigation into adjoining matters. In terms of cost, both instances can also file for a fee waiver to proceed their petition.
What is an Uncontested Divorce in Louisiana?
An uncontested divorce in Louisiana happens when both parties consent to a divorce prior to filing with the court. When this happens, the parties proceed to complete the Settlement agreement form and submit to the judge for approval. This way, the parties skip court hearings to the signing of the divorce decree.
Where to Get an Uncontested Divorce Form in Louisiana
The divorce pack in Louisiana comes with the following items:
- A petition for divorce form
- A settlement agreement form.
An Uncontested divorce case will require that both parties fill out the settlement agreement form and submit along with the petition. The petition form also allows parties to indicate if it is a no contest case. The pack is available at the relevant parish to the case.
Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.
Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
How Do I Get a Copy of my Divorce Decree in Louisiana?
Copies of divorce decrees are available at the office of the Clerk of Court in the parish when the parties received the grant for divorce. Not everyone in Louisiana can request for a copy of a divorce decree. Only the following categories of persons qualify:
- The parties listed in the record
- Adult children of the involved parties
- Parents and grandparents of the listed parties
- A legally recognized delegate from the listed parties
To start, contact the Clerk of Court of the relevant parish. Have ready the following information:
- Names of the couple ( including the maiden name of the wife)
- Name of the parish where the parties filed the case
- Date of filing
- Date of finalization of divorce
- The number of the Certificate of divorce
- Proof of eligibility to access record
Costs vary by parish, however, certified copies usually cost more than regular copies
Divorce and marriage records may be available through government sources and organizations, though their availability cannot be guaranteed. This is also true of their availability through third-party websites and companies, as these organizations are not government-sponsored and record availability may vary further. Finally, marriage and divorce records are considered extremely private due to the information they contain, and are often sealed. Bearing these factors in mind, record availability for these types of records cannot be guaranteed.
How Do I Get a Louisiana Divorce Decree Online?
Divorce Decree records are not available online in Louisiana. All requests for one must go to the Clerk of Court, either in person or in writing. Information about the administrative process of getting one is obtainable through email or facsimile inquiry.