Louisiana is one of the small number of states in the United States that recognizes community property in a marriage. In a community property state, the property division process after divorce is done equally so each spouse leaves the marriage with an equal value of assets; as opposed to equitable distribution rules applied in other states that divide property equitably, or fairly, but not necessarily equal in value.
Community property division can be confusing. A couple may attempt to divide the property on their own, but a judge must still review the agreement to ensure it meets community property expectations. It is advisable to have a community property law expert assist with the division through mediation.
If you are unable to divide the community property through mediation, a community property and partitions lawyer can help you present your case to the court for the division to be made by a judge according to Louisiana law.
Community Property in Louisiana
The word “property” in Community Property is loosely used to describe real property, assets, and debts acquired during the marriage, with few exceptions, unless otherwise defined as separate property in a pre- or postnuptial agreement.
Community property includes all income, assets, real property, and debts
- attained through the effort, skill, or industry of either spouse during the marriage,
- acquired using community property or a combination of community and separate property, unless the value of the community property is insignificant compared to that of the separate property,
- gifted to the couple,
- obtained by the liquidation of community property, or
- not characterized as separate property by Louisiana law.
All community property must be divided equally between the spouses as part of a divorce agreement. Items that are defined as separate property will not be considered in the division of property. Separate property includes assets, real property, and debts
- attained by either spouse prior to marriage,
- acquired using separate property or a combination of separate and community property if the value of the community property is insignificant compared to that of the separate property,
- received through inheritance or gift to the individual spouse, or
- obtained by a spouse as part of a voluntary partition of property prior to divorce.
There are exceptions to these rules, some examples include,
- separate real property owned by one spouse prior to marriage but was renovated using community property funds during the marriage,
- separate bank account established before marriage, but funds were then deposited by the other spouse during the marriage, or
- credit card established before marriage in one spouse’s name but then used to purchase community property.
If you have difficulty classifying community and separate property it is best to seek the counsel of a community property law expert.
Top Community Property Attorney, Lafayette, Louisiana
If you are in the Lafayette area and facing divorce, contact The Law Office of Tony Morrow to schedule a personalized case evaluation with an experienced community property and partitions lawyer. Do not delay, schedule your consultation today.