Having multiple properties under one’s name is an incredible feat for any individual. Nonetheless, it can also burden married people going through a divorce. Property division prompts so many questions from divorcing parties. “How will courts divide properties?” and “Will I get my fair share of assets?” are frequent questions thrown around during the process.
For spouses who have been living apart and separately before the petition for divorce, a common and reasonable question they ask is whether the properties they acquired during the separation still form part of the marital assets.
The presumption of community property
Louisiana is a community property state, which means spouses equally share assets and debts they acquire during the marriage. Accordingly, the courts will distribute the equal net value of the community property between spouses during a divorce, unless otherwise judged by the court or agreed upon by the parties.
Following this rule, properties the spouses acquire after the wedding but before the divorce decree are presumably community property. Technically, spouses are still married under the law even if they lived separately before the divorce. Hence, the properties each spouse acquired during this period still belong to the community property.
The power of rebuttal
Parties who believe their properties are separate can rebut the presumption by submitting sufficient evidence to support their claim. Accordingly, showing that a property is solely in one spouse’s name is insufficient. Instead, providing proof that a spouse acquired a property under their name with their separate funds and with the intention of holding the property as separate is a solid example of a rebuttal.
In any case, if the dispute persists, the court may obtain the assistance of an expert to settle the issue of classifying properties as community or separate.
Since property division in a divorce is complex, parties have to go the extra mile to protect their rights and interests. Learning about the state’s property laws and seeking advice from an experienced lawyer are some steps divorcing individuals can take to prepare for their case.