Louisiana Community Property vs. Separate Property from the Perspective of a Divorce Lawyer
Determining community and separate property is common for a divorce lawyer. This article goes through some of the issues that an attorney in Louisiana may face.
When a spouse hires a divorce lawyer, there are obviously many different decisions which must be made. Considerations involving the children, spousal support, domicile, and many other problems have to be addressed. In Louisiana, many of these issues can be resolved in a civil court. This assumes of course that the parties to the marriage cannot work out the problems themselves.
One of the more complex areas of the work of a divorce lawyer is the partition of community property. Louisiana is one state that uses the "community regime" in determining the division of assets between spouses. "Community regime" and "community property" are pretty close to the same thing. Both refer to the idea that things which the spouses create and earn over the course of the marriage belong to each of them equally. Obviously there are many eddies and swirls to the stream that is community property. Issues are not always clear because they depend on the facts of a case, which are not always clear.
It is still possible for a spouse to own something that is not part of the community property. If this is the case, then a divorce lawyer calls this type of property (not too surprisingly) "separate property." Separate property is not awarded evenly between the spouses in the event of an end to the marriage; it remains in sole ownership with the spouse who it belongs too. One quick and easy example of separate property is something that one spouse inherits individually. Let's say one spouse has a wealthy father who dies leaving a will. In the will, that deceased parent leaves their child (who is one of the spouses) money. The will does not leave it to the couple, but rather individually, to the spouse. If one spouse's divorce lawyer learns of the will, that money will likely be considered separate property.
Complications can arise for a divorce lawyer when determining what is separate and what community property can come in many forms. For example, let's say that the spouses decide to purchase an item worth one hundred thousand dollars. When they purchase the item, they decide to use two sources of finances. One source is a joint bank account that the two spouses share. The bank account gets its money from the checks that each spouse earns from their respective employers. The other source of financing comes from the previous example: an inheritance that one of the spouses had received from a deceased relative. In this case both sources of finances are clearly different. One is separate property, and the other is community property. Upon a division of the community, how will the item be apportioned?
It is impossible to say for certain how a Louisiana court will decide a hypothetical scenario, however a court will probably consider the proportion of separate property versus the proportion of community property used to purchase the item. For example, if ninety-nine percent of the purchase was made with separate property, and only one percent with community property, that may be determinative in calling the purchased item separate property of the spouse who used their separate property to purchase it. If the ratio is more even, the call is obviously going to be a closer.
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Determining separate versus community property is most difficult with regard to proving how the property was acquired. The longer the marriage and the more finances were intermingled, the more difficult this may be. In order to begin, contact a New Orleans divorce lawyer, for further assistance. One such professional is available at: Beaumont Divorce, 3801 Canal St #207, New Orleans, LA, 70119 (504) 483-8008.