In Need of A Community Property Partition Attorney in Baton Rouge, LA?
At the Russell Law Firm, LLC, our Baton Rouge divorce attorneys know that when it comes to property division, the State of Louisiana does things much differently than most states. Here, any assets and debts acquired during the marriage are generally considered community property, with a few exceptions.
In short, each party is entitled to receive half of the community property, and liable for half of the debt. The goal of this approach is to provide a fair and equitable division of assets and debts for all parties involved.
Our East Baton Rouge Parish community property partitions attorneys know many factors are taken into consideration when making these determinations, including the source of funds, conditions, and timing of purchase. We can help you understand what property is yours, what property is shared, and how your assets and debts will be divided accordingly.
What is the Difference Between Separate and Community Property in Louisiana?
Determining the difference between separate property and community property in Louisiana typically has nothing to do with how it is titled when outlining property rights.
The difference between the two types of property is:
- “Separate” – assets or debts that belong exclusively to one of the spouses and/or which were acquired/ incurred prior to the marriage, are generally classified as “separate” assets and debts.
- “Community” – generally assets and debts acquired/incurred during the marriage, and not classified as separate property at the time they were acquired, are considered “community” assets and debts.
Separate Property may include:
- Property acquired with separate funds.
- Property acquired by a spouse before the marriage.
- Property acquired by a spouse through individual inheritance or donation.
- Property acquired during the marriage and labeled as separate through a prenuptial agreement or separate property agreement.
- Insurance proceeds received for pain and suffering.
- Property acquired solely with separate property.
- Damages caused by one spouse because of fraud/mishandling of individual property.
Community Property may include:
- Property acquired prior to marriage.
- Property acquired by the use of community.
- Damages or losses to community property.
- Economic benefits derived from community property.
- Property donated to the spouses jointly.
In Louisiana, any assets acquired during the marriage are usually classified a community property, unless the property is specifically classified as separate property or other exceptions apply. Even if the asset is held in one spouse’s name, if it were purchased during the marriage and/or using community funds, it is usually classified as community property. Both spouses have one-half (50%) of the ownership interest in the community property; and neither spouse can obtain full possession and ownership of the property until it is partitioned.
How is Community Property Partitioned During a Louisiana Divorce?
Partitioning property in Louisiana requires multiple steps during the divorce proceedings, such as:
- Determining if the asset or debt is community or separate.
- Valuation of the community assets and debts.
- Valuation of any reimbursement claims between the spouses.
- Deciding how to divide or partition the community assets and debts, which may include one spouse purchasing the other spouse’s share or selling the asset and dividing the proceeds after all debts are paid.
Generally, all debts and assets acquired during the marriage are considered equally shared by both parties, even if they were acquired by one spouse acting alone.
If you believe there is uncertainty in property ownership during your divorce, our skilled community property partitions attorneys in Baton Rouge can help you understand how our state’s laws apply to your case, so you can make informed decisions about your financial future.
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Frequently Asked Questions for Community Property Laws in Baton Rouge
No, community property laws in Louisiana generally apply to married couples. Unmarried couples who live together do not have the same rights and obligations regarding community property as married couples. Each individual in an unmarried cohabitation arrangement retains ownership of their separate property unless there are specific legal agreements or arrangements in place.
In Louisiana, there is a legal distinction between separate property and community property during a marriage. Separate property includes assets and debts that were acquired by one spouse before the marriage. Community property, on the other hand, generally includes assets and debts acquired by either spouse during the marriage, except for those specifically classified as separate property.
Inheritance is generally considered separate property in Louisiana, even if received during the marriage. However, it’s important to note that if the inherited assets are commingled with community property or used for the benefit of the marriage, they may lose their separate property status and become subject to division as community property.
Yes, a prenuptial agreement can be used to keep community property separate in Louisiana. Louisiana is a community property state, which means that, by default, assets and debts acquired during the marriage are considered jointly owned by both spouses. However, a prenuptial agreement (also known as a premarital agreement) allows couples to establish their own rules for property division in the event of a divorce.
In the prenuptial agreement, the couple can specify which assets will be considered separate property and which will be considered community property. The agreement can also address how future earnings, debts, and property acquired during the marriage will be treated. It’s important to note that prenuptial agreements must be entered into voluntarily by both parties, and the terms must be fair and not violate public policy.
Infidelity or marital misconduct generally does not have a direct impact on the division of marital assets in Louisiana. However, there may be certain circumstances where the court considers the behavior of a spouse, such as wasting marital assets or dissipation of property due to an extramarital affair, which could potentially affect the distribution of assets.
Generally, debts that were incurred by one spouse before the marriage would remain that spouse’s separate debt in a divorce in Louisiana. However, if the debt was incurred jointly during the marriage or if it became community debt through commingling or other actions, it could be subject to division between the spouses.
While Louisiana follows community property principles, the division of assets and debts in a divorce can still be complex and contentious. Hiring a Baton Rouge community property lawyer can provide you with professional guidance and representation to ensure that your rights and interests are protected throughout the divorce process. An experienced attorney can help navigate the legal complexities, advocate for a fair division of property, and address any unique aspects of your case.
In Louisiana, the length of the marriage does not directly affect the division of community property. Community property is typically subject to equal division between spouses upon divorce, regardless of whether the marriage was of short or long duration. However, the filing of a petition for divorce terminates the “community” regime between the parties; so thereafter, all property acquired and liabilities incurred be classified as “separate.”
In Louisiana, only retirement funds that a spouse contributed to during the marriage are classified as community property and subject to partition upon divorce. Typically, the court will issue a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) or similar order to divide the retirement accounts without incurring penalties or taxes.