The state of Louisiana is a jurisdiction which employs what is known as a community property system. The system has significant implication when it comes to property rights during marriage and after dissolution of marriage. Therefore, understanding community property can help you understand property division in Louisiana.
Here is a comprehensive elucidation on what you need to know about community property division in Louisiana.
What Constitutes Community property in Louisiana?
In Louisiana, any assets that you will acquire during the subsistence of marriage is considered community property unless otherwise classified as separate property. Under this system, both spouses are entitled to equal share(50-50) of the interest in all assets acquired during marriage. Suffice to say, the system envisages equitable division of properties for both spouses.
Community property underscores all property acquired during marriage. They include:
- Property not classified as separate property
- Property donated to the spouses jointly
- Economic benefits that have subsequently been derived from community property.
- Any damage or loss incurred to the community property.
The only exception to this would be to have a prenuptial agreement drawn up and executed before the wedding. These are matrimonial agreements entered into before marriage which allows both parties to consent to the modification of certain community rights. Therefore, the property you have may be categorized as separate property during divorce proceedings.
What Constitutes Separate Property in Louisiana?
Simply put, separate property are those assets which belong exclusively to one of the spouses. This means that they can’t be classified as community property since the other party has no right over that property.
Separate property includes:
- Any property which either spouse acquired before marriage.
- Any property which one spouse acquires as a donation or inheritance.
- Property which one spouse deems to have acquired using separate funds.
- Any damage as a result of mishandling of property by one of the spouses.
How is Community Property Divided in Louisiana?
Based on the community property system, division of property takes place after determining whether the property is either community or separate property. Determining separate property is a question of fact. Certain factors such as source of fund or timing of purchase are taken into account during the process. This is meant to ascertain that what you acquire either constitutes community or separate property.
After you prove the existence of community property, the value of the asset or interest is determined. Normally, this is done to allow for equal division of the property between the two parties.
Deciding how to divide the property is very complicated. Some common methods employed to achieve this includes:
- Allowing one spouse to buy out the shares of the other spouse.
- Selling the assets and dividing the profit.
- Assigning property to each spouse which are similar in terms of value.
Matrimonial proceedings can be hectic. However, at DeJean Law firm we will strive to help you navigate through the complex procedures. Contact us today for help with community property issues.