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Lafayette Parish Clerk of Court - Louis J. Perret
Lafayette Parish Clerk of Court - Louis J. Perret

The Marriage Department is responsible for issuing Marriage Licenses. Pursuant to applicable Louisiana statutes, applicants for Marriage Licenses must provide:

  • $34.50 (CASH) is the total package price for a marriage license. This includes: the marriage license ($27.50), photocopying the birth documents ($1.00), and the certified legal copy of the marriage license ($6.00).
  • A certified copy of their birth certificate or birth card. Foreign documents require a certified English translation. Louisiana birth certificates or birth cards are available in our office. See link to the right for more information.
  • In addition, a photocopy of the birth certificate/card must be retained by the Clerk of Court. You may provide us with a copy. If one is not provided by the couple, the Marriage Clerk will copy each record at a $1.00 fee.
  • Social Security numbers must be provided by law. If no social security number has been issued to an applicant, they must appear in person and sign an affidavit to that effect.
  • Only one party is required to come in to purchase the marriage license, provided they present all documentation for both parties.
  • If either party was previously married, you must show proof of how the marriage ended. This will be either a divorce judgment or death certificate. These documents must be certified.
  • To purchase a marriage license without parental or court intervention you must be of majority age, which is 18 years old. If either party to the marriage is 16 or 17 years of age, the signatures of both parents are required along with their identification. If either party is under the age of 16, a court order signed by a Judge is required, along with the signatures of both parents and their identification.
  • A license generally must be purchased at least 72 hours in advance of the ceremony.
  • An unused marriage license expires 30 days from the date of issue.
  • Blood tests are no longer required to purchase a marriage license.
  • A Louisiana marriage license is valid only for ceremonies performed in the state of Louisiana.

Covenant Marriage Act
Contracting a Covenant Marriage

The couple who chooses to enter into a Covenant Marriage agrees to be bound by two serious limitations on obtaining a divorce or separation. These limitations do not apply to other couples married in Louisiana:

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

DECLARATION OF INTENT

In order to enter into a Covenant Marriage, the couple must sign a recitation that provides:

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

After discussing the meaning of a Covenant Marriage with the counselor, the couple must also sign, together with an attestation by the counselor, a notarized affidavit to the effect that the counselor has discussed with them:

  • The seriousness of a Covenant Marriage;
  • That the commitment to the marriage is for life;
  • The obligation of the couple to seek marital counseling if problems arise in their marriage; and
  • That they have received the informational pamphlet published by the Attorney General entitled "Covenant Marriage Act."

The two documents which comprise the Declaration of Intent - the recitation and the affidavit with attestation - must be presented to the official who issues the marriage license with the couple's application for a marriage license.


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 spouse to a Covenant Marriage must first obtain counseling and then must prove:

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

DIVORCE IN A COVENANT MARRIAGE

A marriage that is not a Covenant Marriage may be ended by divorce more easily than that of a Covenant Marriage . In a marriage that is not a Covenant Marriage, a spouse may get a divorce for adultery 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 a spouse may get a divorce only after receiving counseling and may only get a divorce for the following reason:

  • Adultery by the other spouse;
  • Commission of a felony by the other spouse and sentence of imprisonment at hard labor or death;
  • Abandonment by the other spouse for one year;
  • Physical or sexual abuse of the spouse or of a child of either spouse;
  • 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;
    (c) one year in all other cases.

A NOTE TO PRESENTLY MARRIED COUPLES

Couples who are already married may execute a declaration of intent to designate their marriage a Covenant Marriage. They must sign a recitation and affidavit similar to those described in the aforementioned pamphlet, after receiving counseling. The counselor must attest to the counseling. This intent to designate their marriage a Covenant Marriage must be filed with the official who issued their marriage license and with whom the marriage certificate of the couple is filed. If the couple was married outside of Louisiana, a copy of their marriage certificate, with the declaration of intent,