Orleans Parish Civil District Court: Uncontested Divorce Forms and Instructions.
Online Uncontested Divorce Forms: 10-Steps in your case.
This forms package and these forms and other materials do not replace the advice of a lawyer and are not legal advice.
It is always best to talk with a lawyer before taking legal action.
If you need to look for a free legal services program, there is an online Legal Program Directory on www.louisianalawhelp.org.
IMPORTANT - You are not divorced until you complete step eight below and the judge signs your final divorce Judgment.
Do not use the online forms if you have any issue regarding child custody, child support, spousal support, domestic violence, or community property. These forms do not deal with those issues.
The online forms are only for people who can answer "yes" toeveryitem below:
You are seeking a divorce where both parties agree on all legal issues.
You are domiciled in Orleans Parish, or your spouse is domiciled in Orleans Parish or you last lived together (domiciled) in Orleans Parish.
You and your spouse have no minor children together. That means no child less than 18 years old as of the time you file for divorce.
The wife did not give birth during the marriage to any child now under 18 and the wife is not pregnant.
You do not have a covenant marriage.
There is no Orleans Parish domestic violence case or Orleans Parish protective order between the two of you or between either of you and your children.
You and your spouse have lived separate and apart for more than 180 days without any reconciliation.
There is no community property and there are no community debts to deal with.
Neither of you is an active member of the United States Armed Forces.
Your spouse agrees to sign, in front of a Notary Public, a form accepting service of the court papers and waiving issuance of service and citation and all legal delays.
You will file for divorce "Pro Se" or "In Proper Person," meaning on your own without an attorney to represent you.
You will ask the court for an order letting you go forward with your case "In Forma Pauperis," or "IFP." To do this you must prove to the court that you do not have money or resources to pay court fees and costs in advance. You will file the necessary form to ask the court to let you file without paying these court fees and costs in advance.
You must be able to pay for certified copies of certain court papers. This is true even if you ask the court to let you file "In Forma Pauperis." Certified copies cost $3.00 per page, according to August 2009 information from the clerk's office of the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans. This charge can go up. Be prepared to pay roughly $20 to $40 for your certified copies.
Do not use these forms if even one of the items above is not true for you.
Terms - there are a few terms that you need to understand when reading the instructions.
Community Property - Louisiana is a community property state.
If you lived with your spouse in Louisiana, and didn't take legal action to prevent forming a "community," then each spouse generally owns one half each of all of the community property and debts. This is a brief definition and issues of community and separate property are full of exceptions and are very complicated. Please consult a lawyer if there are any questions about this because you could lose valuable rights by divorcing without settling the property issues.
"Original" documents, "certified" copies, "stamped" copies, and regular photocopies.
These instructions refer to "original" documents and different kinds of copies of original documents. The instructions refer to "certified" copies, "stamped" copies, and regular photocopies.
"Original" document: the one with an original signature on the document. Signatures on an original may have to be notarized, depending on what kind of document it is.
"Certified" copy: a photocopy of the original document where the clerk makes a special certification that this paper is a copy of the original. Only the office of the Clerk of Court can make and give out certified copies.
"Stamped" copy: a photocopy that the clerk stamps when you file the original document. The stamp usually shows the date and time. Sometimes these are called "clocked" copies. These copies are for you to keep for your records.
Warning! Stamped copies cannot be used when an original or certified copy is required.
The instructions repeatedly tell you to get two stamped photocopies. If you lose your only stamped copy then you may have to get a copy from the Clerk of Court and that is costly. That is why the instructions tell you to get two. A "regular" copy is a plain photocopy, like one you would make for yourself to keep.
Default - That is a judgment you get where the other party isn't coming to court.
A default is like winning a football game because the other team didn't show up and you win by "default."
Defendant - This is the spouse of the person filing the divorce.
The Defendant is the person the divorce petition is filed against.
Domicile - You live somewhere and you don't have plans to move out of the area.
People who have "temporarily" relocated may be domiciled where they were living before. This could apply to people in the armed forces, people in jail, or college students.
Notary Public - A person authorized to notarize documents.
In the instructions when you are told to sign something in front of a Notary Public it is because your signature must be notarized. The instructions sometimes refer to other signatures that need to be notarized.
Plaintiff or Petitioner - the person filing the divorce papers.
Pro Se - This means that you do not have a lawyer.
Pro se means that you are handling your legal matter yourself.
Reconciliation - this means you got back together.
Reconciliation means the two of you got back together with the purpose of trying to resume the marriage.
Living separate and apart - This means living separate and apart without any reconciliation. You may only use these forms if you and your spouse have lived separate and apart for more than 180 days.
Service and citation - this forms package requires that the defendant spouse waive (give up) the right to service and citation.
Service and citation is the formal act of a person authorized by law to bring the papers to the defendant spouse (if the spouse is in Louisiana) or, if the defendant spouse is out of state, having the papers sent in the way the law requires.
Important note: these forms are only for people who can get the defendant spouse to sign an Acceptance of Service and Waiver of Citation and All Delays. The forms in this package are not for people who need to get the sheriff to serve thedefendant spouse.
Spouse - Your husband or your wife
Step One:Gather your information.
The computer program helps you fill in most of the information you need for your court forms. You must fill in some information on the forms to file your papers and as your case goes forward in the court. Some of the papers must be signed before a Notary Public.
Get and organize your information before getting on the computer:
Your full name.
Your full address and telephone number.
Name of the parish or county and state where you are now domiciled.
Your spouse's full name.
Your spouse's full address and telephone number.
Name of the parish or county and state where your spouse is now domiciled.
Date when you were married.
The name of the parish or county and the state where you were married.
Date separation began.
Name of the parish or county and state where you last lived together as husband and wife.
If you are female and filing for divorce, your maiden name if you want the court to issue an order saying you can go back to using your maiden name.
Complete the online interview (if you have these printed instructions as part of your forms packet, you have already done this).
Answer all of the questions during the computer interview for the forms package.
Print out your work.
Save the forms you draft (use a removable disk, memory device, or removable drive if you are using a public computer).
Read all forms carefully.
Check all names, dates, and other information. Make sure everything is right.
If anything is wrong, start over! Use the program again and print out a new set of forms. Be sure you print out and save the new forms.
Completing the Petition, Verification, and In Forma Pauperis Application.
For this step you need the following forms completed.Review these forms to make sure all the information is complete and correct:
"Pro Se Petition for 103(1) Divorce - No Minor Children"
"In Forma Pauperis" (Notarized).
The "In Forma Pauperis" form is not part of the computerized document program. You must get the "In Forma Pauperis" form either online or at the office of the Clerk of Court ahead of time and fill it out on your own. Do not wait until you go to court to fill out your forms!
There is an In Forma Pauperis form you can print out and fill in that is posted to the site of the Louisiana Supreme Court:
You need an adult witness to complete the final part of the "In Forma Pauperis" papers.
The witness must know you and your money situation.
The witness must be able to swear that he or she knows that you do not have the money to pay court costs in advance.
The witness must be willing to sign the "In Forma Pauperis Papers" before a Notary Public.
The witness must be at least 18 years old.
Complete the "In Forma Pauperis" form.
Make sure all of the information asked for is correct and complete.
Go to a Notary Public. Bring with you to the Notary Public your completed but unsigned "Pro Se Petition for 103(1) Divorce - No Minor Children," the form called "Verification," and the "In Forma Pauperis" form. Bring your adult witness with you. Make sure that you and your witness each has a picture I.D.
Sign the petition. You must sign the Verification and the In Forma Pauperis Application in front of the Notary Public. Make sure the papers have all of the information the papers ask for.
Make sure to fill in the name of the parish where the "Verification" was signed and notarized.
Your witness must sign the In Forma Pauperis form in front of the Notary Public. For more information see the resource about filing In Forma Pauperis on louisianalawhelp.org.
Filing your divorce as a pauper ("In Forma Pauperis") means that if the judge finds that you cannot afford to pay the court costs at the time you file your petition, you will not have to put up a deposit and pay your filing fees and other costs in advance. Warning! If you should lose the case, the judge can still order you to pay all or part of the court costs. It is also possible that the judge may order the other side to pay these costs.
Make at least two copies of all of the papers you are going to file with the court.
Remember to file with the court thesigned original papers,not the copies.
Bringing your first group of papers to court.
For this step you need the following forms completed:
Pro Se Petition for 103(1) Divorce - No Minor Children (signed original and two copies).
Verification - Signed and Notarized (original and two copies).
In Forma Pauperis form - Signed, Witnessed, Notarized (original and one copy).
Bring these papers with you to the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans Courthouse at 421 Loyola Avenue (at Poydras Street). This court is also called "CDC." Go to the Clerk of Court on the fourth (4th) floor.
Tell the clerk that you do not have a lawyer and that you are filing "pro se." Tell the clerk that you want to file your divorce papers as a pauper, or "in forma pauperis." Filing as a pauper, or "In Forma Pauperis," is sometimes called "IFP."
Ask the clerk to file the "Pro Se Petition for 103(1) Divorce - No Minor Children," the form called "Verification," and the "In Forma Pauperis" form.
Write down the case number the clerk puts on the papers and write down the Judge and section or division the case is assigned to. You will need to put the case number and indicate which Section/Judge the case is assigned to on the other papers in your forms package.
Get the court clerk to stamp your copies of the form called "Pro Se Petition for 103(1) Divorce - No Minor Children," the form called "Verification" and the In Forma Pauperis form. Keep these safe for your records.
Ask the clerk to direct you to the judge who is available to review and sign the Order on your In Forma Pauperis application. Bring the Petition, Verification and In Forma Pauperis papers to the judge so he or she can review the papers and decide whether or not to sign the Order to let you file In Forma Pauperis.
After the judge signs the In Forma Pauperis papers, bring all of the original papers back to the office of the Clerk of Court for official filing into the court record. Ask the clerk to give you a certified copy of the entire "Pro Se Petition for 103(1) Divorce - No Minor Children" and a certified copy of the entire "Verification" You will need the certified Petition and Verification to give to your spouse in a later step. You will have to pay for these certified copies, which only the Clerk of Court can give out. Keep your "stamped" copies for yourself.
Your case is not officially filed until the judge signs the Order on the In Forma Pauperis application allowing you to proceed In Forma Pauperis. These forms are only to be used by people who should qualify to file In Forma Pauperis.
If the judge rejects your application to proceed In Forma Pauperis, you will have to pay the filing fees and costs to go forward with your case. You can challenge the judge's refusal to let you file In Forma Pauperis, but this is hard to do without a lawyer, and those issues are not covered by this forms package or program.
Before you ask for the certified copies of the papers to bring to your spouse, make sure the judge has signed the Order on the In Forma Pauperis application to allow you to go forward with your case without paying costs and fees in advance.
Getting your spouse's notarized signature on the Acceptance of Service and Waiver of Citation and All Delays.
For this step you need the following forms:
Certified copy of the "Pro Se Petition for 103(1) Divorce - No Minor Children"
Certified copy of the "Verification"
"Acceptance of Service and Waiver of Citation and All Delays." (Make sure the form has the case number and Division/Judge information at the top written in by you and that you write in the date the case was filed and the case number in the blanks in the text.)
Give or mail your spouse the forms listed above. The blank form called "Acceptance of Service and Waiver of Citation and All Delays" must be filled in and signed by your spouse in front of a Notary Public! Make sure your spouse fills in the blank that says where the paper was signed and notarized. Have your spouse return the signed and notarized "Acceptance of Service and Waiver of Citation and All Delays" to you. If your spouse does not sign in front of a Notary Public and if you do not get this form back, you cannot go forward with the divorce case using these forms and instructions.
Filing the Motion for Preliminary Default, Certificate and Order, and getting your signed Order of Preliminary Default.
Completed forms you need for this step:
Defendant's signed and notarized "Acceptance of Service and Waiver of Citation and All Delays" (original and two copies).
Motion for Preliminary Default (original and two copies, and make sure the case number and Division/Judge information is written in by you).
Certificate, (this document is on the same page as the Order, and make sure you have the original and two copies, with case number and Division/Judge written in by you).
Order (this document is on the same page as the Certificate, and make sure the case number and Division/Judge is written in by you).
After you get the signed and notarized "Acceptance of Service and Waiver of Citation and All Delays" back from your spouse you need to complete the form called "Motion for Preliminary Default."
In the main part of the "Motion for Preliminary Default" form you need to write in the date the divorce was filed and date the defendant's "Acceptance of Service and Waiver of Citation and All Delays" was signed and notarized, and you have to sign the Motion.
Take the four forms listed above to the office of the Clerk of Court at Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans (CDC).
Ask the court clerk to fill in the "Certificate." The judge will fill in and sign the part called "Order." See important information below about getting a judge's signature that same day.
Ask the clerk to file the original documents and to stamp the copies. Keep the copies safe for your records.
Important Note: To make sure the papers get processed, take papers to the judge's chambers that same day so that the judge can sign the Order .
There should be a judge on duty every day - ask the clerk's office where to go. Do not wait until late in the day to file papers, because this can make it harder for you to get a judge's signature that same day. It is required that the judge sign the Order on the same day the clerk signed the Certificate.
Once you have the judge's signature on the "Order," which appears at the end of the "Motion for Preliminary Default," bring all of the papers back to the clerk's office on the fourth floor. Ask the clerk to make sure all of these papers are made part of your case record.
Once you have the signed "Order," ask the clerk to make certified copies of all of these papers - you will need these certified copies for a later step in your case.
The clerk's office may ask you to pay a fee for these certified copies - you may want to call ahead so you have an idea of how much this may cost.
Wait at least two full business days.
You must have your certified copy of the clerk's Certificate and the certified copy of the judge's signed Order on the Motion for Preliminary Default and wait at least two full business days before going back to court to try to get your final Judgment. Weekends and holidays do not count as part of the two days.
Complete and file the court papers you need to request a final Judgment, and ask the judge to sign your Judgment.
Forms you need for this step:
Certified copy of court clerk's "Certificate" and certified copy of the judge's signed "Order" that you got after you filed the Motion for Preliminary Default in Step Six.
"Affidavit of Correctness in Lieu of Testimony" (completed, signed and notarized original and two copies with case number and Section/Judge filled in by you).
"Motion for Confirmation of Divorce Judgment of Default without a Hearing," together with "Plaintiff's Certification" that appears at the end of the motion (completed and signed original and two copies, with case information and Section/Judge filled in by you).
"Clerk's Certification." The "Clerk's Certification" appears at the end of the "Motion for Confirmation of Divorce Judgment of Default without a Hearing." Leave this blank -- you will ask the clerk to complete the "Clerk's Certification," when you bring your papers to court.
"Judgment of 103(1) Divorce - No Minor Children" with completed with case information and date that the preliminary default was entered (you need to bring one extra copy for the court when you file the papers and two copies for yourself).The law requires that when you file these papers you give the court the original of the proposed Judgment and at least one additional copy of the proposed Judgment for the court.
Take these forms to the Clerk of Court.
Ask the clerk to complete the "Clerk's Certification" at the end of the Motion for Confirmation of Divorce Judgment of Default without a Hearing."
File these forms and ask the clerk to file these papers and to give you your stamped copies for your records.
To make sure your papers get processed, walk the papers you have just asked the clerk to file to the judge's chambers so you can get a signed Judgment that same day.
Make sure the Judgment plus one extra copy of the Judgment are included with these papers.
Some judges may ask that you write in your spouse's current address and your current address at the bottom of the Judgment, so make sure you have this address information with you when you go to see the judge. Get the judge to sign the papers that same day by going to the judge's office and waiting for the judge to sign the papers. See Step Nine below for more information about what to do after you get a judge's signature on your Judgment.
Filing the Judgment into the record and getting yourcertified copy of your divorce Judgment.
Forms you will need for this step:
You need the same forms as for Step Eight.
Once a judge has signed your "Judgment of 103(1) Divorce - No Minor Children," bring all of the papers back to the Clerk of Court, including the signed Judgment.
Make sure the Clerk of Court files all of the papers into the court's record, including the signed version of the Judgment the judge just signed.
Before you leave the courthouse, make sure you get from the Clerk of Court your "Certified" copy of the final "Judgment of 103(1) Divorce - No Minor Children."
The clerk should give you at least one certified copy free, but it is possible you may be asked to pay. You may be asked to pay for additional copies.
You are divorced as of the date of the judge's signature at the bottom of the "Judgment of 103(1) Divorce - No Minor Children," but it is required that these papers be on record with the Clerk of Court.
Keep the certified copy of the Judgment in a safe place.
Keep the certified copy of your final divorce Judgment for your records!