When Louisiana couples get divorce, there are a litany of complicated issues to navigate. From handling children, custody, visitation and various forms of support, it has the potential to be a difficult road. Property is also a frequent topic for dispute. This is true for couples who have substantial assets and those of lesser means. In contentious cases, it is imperative to understand the law. Even if people are relatively amicable, it is wise to be protected from the outset as missteps can be costly. A fundamental aspect of a case is accurately categorizing separate property and community property.
Knowing which property will belong to whom in the divorce
Across the nation, states differ with how they award property. Most are equitable distribution states where the court will decide how to split the property in a manner it considers fair. That is not necessarily equal. Others, like Louisiana, are community property states where the marital property will be split evenly between the parties. This is a crucial distinction that has a far-ranging impact on the future. If, for example, there is a business that was built during the marriage, the spouse who focused on it might receive a greater portion of it in an equitable distribution state. That is not so with a community property state.
Property that was accrued while the couple was married regardless of who put in the effort or had the skill to acquire it will be community property. If property was acquired using community assets like joint bank accounts, it is community property. When property is garnered using both community and separate property and the separate property’s value is irrelevant to the community property’s value, it is community property.
For separate property, if a person acquired it before the marriage; if it was acquired separately; if the community property’s value did not factor in even if the acquisition involved separate and community property; if it was inherited by or donated to one spouse; if there were damages awarded; or if it was acquired using property that had been willingly split beforehand, then it will be calculated as separate.
Before making problematic mistakes, having experienced advice is key
It is also critical to remember that how property is titled might not matter when it is divided. Commingled property can muddy the water in assessing whether it is community or separate. Other aspects of a case that could influence property division include prenuptial or postnuptial agreements. Given these potentially difficult issues, those who are moving forward with a divorce should be cognizant of how property will be handled in the case. Consulting with professionals with how to proceed can be helpful with achieving a positive result.