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Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals | Kathy Kliebert, Secretary

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Statewide Initiatives



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Covenant Marriage

The couple who chooses to enter into a covenant marriage agrees to be bound by two significant provisions on obtaining a divorce or separation. These stipulations do not apply to other couples married in Louisiana:

  1. The couple legally agrees to seek marital counseling if problems develop during the marriage; and
  2. The couple can seek a divorce or legal separation for limited reasons only, as explained herein.

Declaration of Intent

In order to enter into a covenant marriage, the couple must sign a Declaration of Intent that provides:

  1. A marriage agreement to live together as husband and wife forever;
  2. The parties have chosen each other carefully and disclosed to each other "everything which could adversely affect" the decision to marry;
  3. The parties have received premarital counseling;
  4. A committment that if the parties experience marital difficulties they agree to make all reasonable efforts to preserve their marriage, including marital counseling; and
  5. The couple also must obtain premarital counseling from a priest, minister, rabbi or similar clergyman of any religious sect, or from a professional marriage counselor.

Affidavit and Attestation

After discussing the meaning of a covenant marriage with the counselor, the couple also must sign the Affidavit and Attestation form. This form is comprised of an attestation by the counselor with a notarized affidavit confirming that the counselor has discussed with them:

  1. The profound implications of covenant marriage;
  2. That the commitment to the marriage is for life;
  3. The obligation of the couple to seek marital counseling if problems arise in their marriage;
  4. That they have received the informational pamphlet published by the Attorney General entitled "Covenant Marriage Act."

The Declaration of Intent (comprised of the Recitation and the Affidavit with Attestation) must be presented to the official who issues the marriage license, along with the couple's application for a marriage license.

For both Covenant Marriage forms, click here.

Legal Separation in a Covenant Marriage

In order to obtain a legal separation (which is not a divorce and therefore does not end the marriage), a party to a covenant marriage must first obtain counseling and then must prove:

  1. Adultery by the other spouse;
  2. Commission of a felony by the other spouse and a sentence of imprisonment at hard labor or death;
  3. Physical or sexual abuse of the spouse or of a child of either spouse;
  4. The spouses have lived separate and apart for two years; or
  5. Habitual intemperance (for example, alcohol or drug abuse), cruel treatment, or severe ill treatment by the other spouse.

Divorce in a Covenant Marriage

A covenant marriage makes divorce difficult. In a marriage that is not a covenant marriage, one may petition for divorce based upon audultery by the other spouse, conviction of a felony by the other spouse and his imprisonment at hard labor or death, or by proof that the spouses have lived separate and apart for six months before or after filing for divorce. In a covenant marriage, one may seek a divorce only after receiving counseling and may get a divorce only for any of the following reasons:

  1. Adultery by the other spouse;
  2. Commission of a felony by the other spouse and sentence of imprisonment at hard labor or death;
  3. Abandonment by the other spouse for one year;
  4. Physical or sexual abuse of the spouse or of a child of either spouse;
  5. The spouses have lived separate and apart for two years; or the spouses are judicially or legally separated and have lived separate and apart since the legal separation for (a) one year and six months if there is a minor child or children of the marriage; (b) one year if the separation was granted for abuse of a child of either spouse; or (c) one year in all other cases.

Presently Married Couples

Couples who are presently married may execute a Declaration of Intent to designate their marriage a covenant marriage. They must sign a Recitation and Affidavit with Attestation similar to those above, after receiving counseling. The counselor must attest to the counseling. The intent to designate a marriage as a covenant marriage must be filed with the official who issued the couple's marriage license and with whom their marriage certificate is filed. If the couple was married outside of Louisiana, a copy of their marriage certificate, with the Declaration of Intent shall be filed with the officer who issues marriage licenses in the parish of the couple's domicile.

For both Covenant Marriage forms, click here.

 


 

Click here for more information about Louisiana Laws on Community Property and Covenant Marriage provided by the Louisiana Department of Justice.