Louisiana uses the community property standard to divide marital assets in a divorce. Under state law, all assets and debts either partner acquires during the marriage belong equally to both spouses.
Learn about how property division laws may impact your divorce in Louisiana.
Determining equitable distribution
When a couple agrees on how to divide marital property, they can create an agreement for the judge to finalize as part of the divorce proceedings. Otherwise, the court will determine equitable distribution based on the value of marital property. The judge will also consider:
- The contributions each spouse made to marital assets
- Each spouse’s future earning potential
- The needs and most favorable interests of any children from the marriage
- Each spouse’s current financial status and expenses
The judge does not look at the length of the marriage when determining a fair division of community property.
Dividing the marital home
In general, the spouse who has custody of minor children will retain the family home. However, he or she must divide the equity of the home based on its fair market value by paying the other spouse half. The person who keeps the home may need to refinance the property in his or her own name. When neither person wants to retain the shared home, they can decide to sell it and evenly split the proceeds of the sale. In some cases, the judge may delay the payment of equity until the children have reached the age of majority.
Establishing separate property
Separate property in Louisiana includes only:
- Individual gifts to one spouse
- Property only one spouse inherits
- Property one spouse owned prior to marriage
In addition, you can establish separate property with a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. With this type of arrangement, all earnings and debts of each spouse remain separate property throughout the marriage.
When a couple has a large or complex estate, the court can consult professional valuation experts. This step ensures that both spouses receive their fair share of marital assets.