Louisiana Community Property and Divorce Attorney Example: Greg and Gina

Sep 26 06:17 2012 Will Beaumont Print This Article

In Louisiana, property which a person possesses while married can be classified into one of two types: community property or separate property.  This article provides an example of this.

Community property is shared equally between the spouses,Guest Posting whereas separate property is owned only by the spouse who it belongs to. Sometimes over the course of the marriage, these two types of property mix. Luckily, the law in Louisiana is relatively well-settled for a divorce attorney when it comes to how these intermixtures are resolved. Let's turn to a few examples to better illustrate this point.

Let's say that Greg and Gina just got married. While they were still dating (and before they were technically married) Gina bought a condo in New Orleans. Also during this time, Greg was involved in a minor car accident for which he received a settlement from the insurance company. Greg put this money in a savings account without interest.

Now Gina and Greg are married, and things are going great. They live in Gina's condo for a brief time, and then decide to buy a house together. Since no one is living in it anyway, Gina decides it would be a good idea to rent her condo. Greg agrees, but suggests that she could get a much better rental rate if some additions and renovations were done to it. Gina thinks this is true, but she does not have any money to perform the work. Without contacting a divorce attorney, Greg tells her that he will use the money that he got from the insurance settlement. Greg withdraws the money and pays a contractor to improve the condo.

A few years later, Greg and Gina decide to purchase a second condo on a lake. They think this would be an ideal summer getaway. The condo costs two hundred and twenty thousand dollars. Because Greg and Gina are doing really great at their jobs, they are able to pay for the condo up front in cash. The only problem is they are about two thousand dollars short. Again, Greg comes to the rescue with his insurance settlement money. There is just enough still remaining in his savings account, and he covers the difference with this money.

Five years later Greg's divorce attorney is trying to divide his community property with Gina. They cannot seem to agree on how to divide the marital assets, and so lawyers and the family court get involved. Two of the issues between them are the money twice used by Greg to both renovate Gina's condo and also to purchase the second condo.

Under Louisiana Civil Code article 2367.3, if one spouse uses separate property to improve the other spouses separate property, then that first spouse is entitled to reimbursement for the money they used. Here, both Gina's condo and Greg's insurance settlement are arguably separate property. This is so because they are things acquired by the spouses before the marriage. Under 2367.3, Greg may be able to get his money back from Gina for the renovations.

As for the two thousand dollars he used to help close on the second condo, Greg may able to get that back as well according to article 2367. However, the condo is not going to be made his separate property because of his contribution. The condo is most likely community property, because it was purchased with money that Greg and Gina were making while they were married. Even though Greg put two thousand dollars towards the purchase price, there is a fairly good chance that his contribution will be irrelevant given its small percentage relative to the total purchase price.

The above is provided as general information on the law -- this is not legal advice. Please consult with a divorce attorney for any legal questions. William H. Beaumont. New Orleans and Metairie, Louisiana.

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Will Beaumont
Will Beaumont

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