Assets acquired by Louisiana couples during their marriage are generally considered community property and are divided into equal shares should they divorce.
Over the course of a marriage, many couples throughout Louisiana acquire assets and property, which they often share. Although entered into with the best of intentions, not all marriages withstand the test of time. Should a couple decide to divorce, they must generally split up their shared assets between them. For many couples, the property division process can be the most contentious aspect of the settlement process.
For the purposes of property division in Louisiana divorces, property and assets are generally classified into one of two categories – separate property and community property. Since these property types are handled differently during the divorce process, it can be important to understand what assets fall into each category.
In general, separate property consists of those assets that belong exclusively to one spouse. This could include the properties a person acquired prior to getting married, inheritances or donations that are made to one spouse alone, among other assets. Additionally, assets that are obtained using separate property may also be considered separate during the property division process.
For the most part, assets that a couple acquires over the course of their marriage are considered community property. This could include a marital residence, or other real estate, that is purchased with community assets, or a mix of community and separate property. Furthermore, property and assets that are given to spouses jointly and any proceeds that are accrued from community property are generally deemed community property.
Unless they have a contract that stipulates otherwise, Louisiana couples are subject to the state’s community property law upon marrying. This theory, according to the Internal Revenue Service, assumes that both spouses contribute to the accrual of their community property. As such, they are each entitled to an equal share of that property in the event of a divorce.
Should a couple be unable to reach an agreement on their own, a judge will judicially divide their community property and assets, according to the Louisiana State Bar Association. With few exceptions, the court will first value all of a couple’s community property and assets. Those assets are then divided so that each spouse receives one-half of all their community property. In some cases, the court may order that certain assets be sold and the proceeds be split equally between the two spouses. Under most circumstances, each spouse will retain his or her separate property during the property division process.
The asset and property division process is often complicated for couples in Metairie, and throughout Louisiana. Divorcing spouses may be confused or disagree about what assets are theirs alone, and which ones are shared. As such, it may benefit those who are considering divorce to work with a legal professional. An attorney may advise them of their rights, guide them through the process and help ensure they receive the assets they are entitled to.