Divorce Attorney - The Basics of Divorce and Community Property Law in Louisiana
There are a number of basics that a divorce attorney should be able to know if they desire to actively practice in Louisiana.
Filing can occur in one of two ways - first, a spouse can live separate and apart for 180 days. Subsequently, he or she can file. Second, a spouse can file, and then live separate and apart for 180 days.
A divorce attorney is often asked, “What is the difference?” Well, here is where the community property regime comes in. If you file immediately, the community property regime can end retroactively to the date of filing, as long as the rule is granted within two years. If one lives separate and apart for 180 days first, then the community property regime ends upon the judgment being granted.
So if Joseph is concerned about Matilda racking up credit card debt during the 180-day period, then he should consult with a divorce attorney about filing immediately. Even though he still will probably have to live separate and apart for 180 days, the community property termination date is retroactive to the date of filing. Such protection is not afforded if you chose to wait 180 days. (If there is a child of the marriage, then the spouses must generally live separate and apart for 365 days.)
In Louisiana, a fault-based judgment ending the marriage is granted immediately. There are several things that can constitute fault. If a person is convicted of a felony punishable by hard labor or life, then his or her spouse can seek this legal remedy. A spouse can also get this if the other spouse is committing adultery.
Now let’s go back to community property. In Louisiana, community property issues can be the subjects of highly contentious debates for a divorce attorney. If Joseph works and makes 500,000 during the marriage, then Matilda may be entitled to half. Sometimes spouses attempt to commingle their assets in an effort to disguise community property as their separate property. If a court cannot determine whether funds are community or separate property, they will simply presume it to be community. That is why it is important to keep proper documentation that shows what community is and what is separate property.
For example, Joseph purchases a house during the marriage with community funds. When he sells it, he deposits the proceeds in his separate bank account. When commanded to produce the books, it may seem that he attempted to divert community funds into his separate account. Even though it may be in his separate account, a divorce attorney will likely request that the proceeds be considered community and that Matilda get ½ of the proceeds. This is why it is important to keep a record of such transactions.
Please not that the above is provided as information; if you need legal advice when dealing with a community property fight in Louisiana, talk to Will Beaumont, who is lawyer in New Orleans. We will pinpoint your issues and come up with a unique plan tailored to your specific circumstances.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A Metairie divorce attorney will be the person you go to when you have to deal with the unfortunate situation of a family break up. For more information visit one of the following offices: Beaumont Divorce of Metairie, 3814 Veterans Memorial Blvd #302, Metairie, LA 70002, (504) 834-1117 or Beaumont Divorce, 3801 Canal Street #207, New Orleans, LA 70119, (504) 483-8008.