One of the most complex aspects of divorce revolves around the division of property.
In Louisiana, marital property is typically subject to a set of rules that differ from those in many other states. Understanding these rules is important for a fair and smooth divorce process.
1. Community property vs. separate property
Louisiana follows the community property system, which means that most property acquired during the marriage is community property and subject to equal division between spouses. This includes assets such as homes, vehicles, income and debts acquired during the marriage. However, it is important to distinguish between community property and separate property. Separate property generally includes assets acquired before the marriage, gifts and inheritances received by one spouse, and personal injury awards. Unlike community property, separate property is not subject to division during divorce.
2. Valuing and property
Determining the value of assets can be a contentious issue during divorce proceedings. Spouses often have different opinions on the worth of items like real estate, businesses or collectibles. While the law requires an equal division of community property, it does not necessarily mean splitting each item in half. Instead, equal division occurs with the total value of community property.
3. Debts and obligations
Debt is also part of the property equation. Marital debts, including mortgages, credit card balances and loans acquired during the marriage, are generally community property. Like assets, debts are typically divided equally between spouses.
While Louisiana has seen a 23% decrease in divorces in recent years, it still offers the best solution for many couples. Working together to reach agreements on property division can help both parties move forward with their lives in a more amicable and financially stable manner.