Lafayette Property Division Lawyer

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Lafayette Community Property Division Attorney

Louisiana is one of the few states that recognizes the community property division rule rather than equitable distribution. With community property division, marital property is divided equally between spouses, while equitable distribution allows for property to be divided equitably, not equally. Community property division can be complex, and enlisting the help of a Lafayette community property division lawyer is crucial.

At Laura L. Davenport, LLC, we understand that property division can create controversy in a tense situation, especially if there are high-value assets involved. Laura L. Davenport is an experienced community property division lawyer who is dedicated to ensuring her clients’ financial interests are well protected while working to reach a fair settlement.

Louisiana Community Property Law

Property division calls for an even distribution of all community property. This includes any real estate, cars, assets, debt, and money that was acquired throughout the marriage. The marital property must be divided evenly, regardless of whose name is on the property title or who earned more during the marriage.

Assets that can be considered community property include:

  • A home and real estate property
  • Vehicles
  • Retirement benefits
  • Debt and loans
  • Money in a shared bank account
  • Assets such as jewelry, furniture, art

Community Property and Separate Property

The difference between community and separate property is determined by when the property was acquired. Separate property is any property purchased or acquired by either spouse before they were married. This property is not required to be split between both parties. Each spouse is within their right to keep their respective property. Separate property does not become community property when spouses marry.

The following are considered separate property in Louisiana:

  • Inheritance that one spouse received
  • Gifts given to one spouse
  • Property acquired with separate and community property where the contribution of community property was minimal
  • Compensation given to one spouse from a personal injury settlement
  • Damages awarded to one spouse due to the other spouse’s breach of contract or for losses one spouse sustained because of fraud or mismanagement of community property by the other spouse
  • Property one spouse acquired after both spouses signed a “voluntary partition of the community” to make some or all community property separate

How Is Community Property Divided?

Spouses have the option to come to an agreement on how they would like to divide their community property and debt. If a settlement agreement cannot be reached, the decision will be left up to a judge in family court.

Although community property division means a 50/50 split, spouses may not receive exactly 50 percent of each asset. For example, a house cannot be equally divided between spouses, but the court will attempt to provide an equal distribution overall. The objective is to give each spouse an equal value of all assets.

A judge takes certain factors into consideration when deciding which spouse receives which property. These factors include:

  • Both spouse’s financial situations
  • The source and nature of each asset
  • Spousal support
  • The child custody arrangement

Based on this information, the judge will distribute property. In cases where an exact 50/50 split is not possible for all assets, one spouse may be awarded a larger share of the assets and ordered to pay their spouse the difference. This is an equalization payment meant to keep community property division as fair as possible.

If one spouse paid for another’s training or education, a judge may choose to reimburse them for the money they spent.

It is beneficial for spouses to come to a settlement agreement regarding property division. By leaving the decision up to the judge, you give up control over the property you can receive and risk not receiving the assets you desire. A family lawyer can help make the discussion easier and more constructive by serving as a mediator to ensure the division of property is fair to you.

Which Spouse Will Receive the Home?

During a divorce, the spouse with temporary custody of the children may request to temporarily remain in the home. A judge may consider the best interests of the children and the finances of each spouse before making a decision. If the request is granted, it will not be permanent.

If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement on who will retain the house permanently, a judge may intervene. They will consider several factors based on the unique circumstances of your case. If they award the house to one spouse, they will attempt to even the distribution of assets by awarding more property to the other party. However, many couples lack finances that equal the value of the home. In these cases, the spouses may be ordered to sell the home and split the proceeds equally between them.

How Are Debts Divided During Divorce?

Within a marriage, debts may be considered community or separate. If a debt is acquired for the common interest of both parties or the other party, it’s considered a community debt. Other debts that one party incurred will be considered separate, but they can be paid by using their separate and the community property.

Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can affect how property is divided in a divorce. In these legally binding agreements, spouses can choose how they wish to divide property before a divorce ever arises. Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can change the nature of community and separate property based on what the spouses want. The parties can agree to keep all assets separate, make all assets community property, or make specific assets community or separate property.

These agreements can make the divorce process less stressful and provide spouses with peace of mind during marriage and divorce. An experienced divorce attorney can review the terms of the agreement to ensure it is valid and protects your interests.

Schedule a Consultation with Laura L. Davenport, LLC

If you are in the midst of a divorce in Lafayette, LA, reach out to our law office to set up a consultation with Laura L. Davenport. We can discuss the details of your divorce, create a strategy that will protect your assets, and strive for the settlement that you desire. Property division is a challenging aspect of divorce that should be handled with the care of a professional.

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