Many Louisianans are familiar with the concept of no-fault divorce, in which a party filing for divorce need only cite irreconcilable differences as the grounds for dissolution. However, there is another type of divorce that is a little less common: the dissolution of a so-called “covenant marriage.” Those who have entered into a covenant marriage and are now contemplating divorce will want to carefully consider their legal rights.
A covenant marriage is similar to other marriages, but with two stipulations. First, a couple entering into a covenant marriage agrees to complete marriage counseling in the event that their relationship runs into trouble. Second, the grounds upon which divorce will be granted are restricted. Those wishing to enter into a covenant marriage must sign a declaration of intent, asserting that they have completed marital counseling, are devoted to each other for life, and have disclosed everything about themselves to their significant other.
When a covenant marriage doesn’t work out, divorce can still be sought. However, the appropriate reasons for seeking divorce are limited and specific. Divorce from a covenant marriage can only be sought for adultery, commission of a felony by one of the parties, physical or sexual abuse, living apart for at least two years, or continual drug or alcohol abuse or poor treatment by one spouse towards the other.
Though covenant divorce is uncommon, for those trying to get out of it, its commonality is irrelevant. These individuals simply want to end their marriage in a legally sufficient way that leaves them with a fair resolution. Those who want to learn more about how to do this should consider speaking with a legal professional.
Source: Louisiana Department of Health, “Covenant Marriage,” accessed on Aug. 5, 2016