Divorce Attorney – Community Property Division in Louisiana

The two most common effects of divorce to be aware of have to deal with the division of property and child custody.

When a marriage begins to fail, one should think considerably before contacting a divorce attorney. This is because there are many consequences other than simply ending the marriage, including terminating the community property regime. When there are children of the marriage, heated custody battles can often ensue. A divorce attorney might not advise you on whether or not you should file. After all, it is your marriage.

However, there are certain things you should know before you file, and we hope to explain some of these through the following fact patterns in order to help you in the decision making process. Charley is the owner of 5 automotive repair shops. He employs nearly one hundred people. He makes $600,000 a year. Matilda brings her car to one of Charley’s repair shops. They instantly fall in love and start dating. Shortly thereafter, they get married. Charley continues to make $600,000 a year. Additionally, he purchases a sixth automotive repair shop. Their relationship starts to dwindle as Charley focuses more on his business than he focuses on Matilda. As such, Matilda hires a divorce attorney. Matilda seeks to have the community property partitioned. They were married for five years. She seeks half of all of Charley’s automotive shops and half of all his income. Charley objects.

What might a court do in this situation? Let us break it down. First, we notice that Charley owned 5 repair shops prior to the marriage. Because these repair shops were not purchased during the community property regime, the five repair shops will probably be his separate property. Thus, Matilda will likely not get much out of those five repair shops. However, Charley purchased a sixth repair shop during the marriage. Because things acquired during a marriage are presumed community property, the sixth repair shop is presumed to be community property.

Nonetheless, Charley’s divorce attorney can rebut that presumption. If he can prove that he purchased the sixth shop with his separate funds, then a court will declare it his separate property. However, if he used income earned during the marriage to purchase the sixth shop, then it is community property and Matilda is entitled to half. While Matilda is not entitled to half of Charley’s income before the marriage, she is entitled to half of his income earned during the marriage. So if Charley earned $600,000 every year for all five years of the marriage, she is entitled to $300,000 per year.

Now that we’ve talked about terminating the community property regime, you should ask yourself about whether or not you can endure those consequences. When going through a child custody fight, for instance, those consequences are considerably higher. When two parents and the divorce attorney fight for custody of their child, a court will consider what is in the best interest of the child. Most of the time, parents also want what is best for the child. But, they may believe the only way the child’s best interest can be served is if he or she gets custody.

Will Beaumont is a New Orleans lawyer. This has been purely informational, and is not intended to be legal or professional advice.

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