Community Obligations Explained by a Louisiana Divorce Attorney

May 21 07:37 2012 Will Beaumont Print This Article

One of the most frequent things that come up to a divorce attorney is community obligations.  This article attempts to explain some of the law behind this.

In Louisiana,Guest Posting if a couple is getting or has already ended their marriage, a divorce attorney may need to partition their assets and property. Hopefully this is a procedure which they can agree to themselves. If they cannot agree, the spouses may seek the assistance of a Louisiana court.

In a very general sense, there are four types of community property which a spouse may be entitled to, or may be responsible for, after (and sometimes while) the divorce attorney ends the marriage: community property, separate property, community obligations, and separate obligations. Not surprisingly, "separate property" and "separate obligations" belong solely to the spouse who owns or incurs them, while "community property" and "community obligations" are shared equally by both spouses.

Because we are talking about a situation where two people may have intertwined interests in the same things, it is important that both spouses conduct themselves in an ethical and forthright manner. One example of this idea can be found in Louisiana Civil Code article 2357, entitled "Satisfaction of obligation after termination of regime."

This article, among other things, deals with a spouse's duty to satisfy community obligations. An obligation is a legal concept here in Louisiana with a few different meanings. For the purposes of this article let's keep it simple and imagine that an obligation can be a debt which one or both of the spouses owes. As previously noted, if it is a community obligation, then both spouses owe on the debt. Oftentimes spouses will use their community property to offset their community obligations. But let's say for the sake of example that one of the spouses, after receiving their share of the community property, runs out and spends that money or property before putting it towards the community obligations first.

Article 2357 says that "If a spouse disposes of property of the former community for a purpose other than the satisfaction of community obligations, he is liable for all obligations incurred by the other spouse up to the value of that community property."

Let's say Dan and Dana have each hired a divorce attorney. They have a community property regime worth one hundred thousand dollars. They also have a community obligation which is valued at two hundred thousand dollars. Then let's say that Dan gambles away his half of the one hundred thousand dollars of community property, instead of putting that property against the debt he shares with his wife.

This law obviously strives to protect a spouse from the wanton and reckless spending of the other spouse in a case where they both owe a third party money. The fact that Dan gambled away his half of the property he shared with his wife does not change the fact that he and Dana still owe on an obligation. Dana's divorce attorney would likely find that it would be unfair to leave Dana with the community obligation, and let Dan off without him transferring equal property to Dana.

This article is written to be general information only; it should not be taken as formal legal advice. Will Beaumont. New Orleans.

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Will Beaumont
Will Beaumont

For more information from a New Orleans divorce attorney contact one of the many professionals in the area.   They should be able to help with a variety of family law topics.

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