Dividing community property will probably be the most technically complex aspect of a divorce. In fact, because there are so many laws to follow, the whole process can get a little out of control. In the end, though, just remember that this is a process and it is done one step at a time. Also, the ideal way of dividing property is to consent with your other spouse of how it should be done. In the end, the property that is community should simply be divided as evenly as possible. If one side is unwilling to do this, then it must be divided according to drawn
In order to divide community property, you will need either to divorce or have ended community property. In order to end community property during a marriage, you can request of a court a judgment of separation of property (check with civil code article 2374 to make sure that you meet what is necessary in order to make sure that this is granted). Oftentimes in a divorce, when there is an agreement concerning children, there will also be an agreed-upon determination between the two parties of how the property will be divided. It can be important to make sure that such a property division is done properly in order that it is not subject to attack at some later point.
Failing an agreement, the two spouses must use La. Revised Statute 9:2801 to divide the property. The procedure that this calls for is for each spouse to file a Sworn Descriptive List itemizing the property that the community has and where this property is located within forty five days from being ordered to do so. In order to do this, you will likely have to have a property assessment done by a licensed appraiser. (It can sometimes be good practice to have the appraisal done by a court appointed appraiser to minimize the any disputes regarding the appraisal amount which could result in both sides having to bring experts to court arguing over the appraised values.) Thereafter, each spouse has sixty days to object to what the other spouse has in their descriptive list. Hopefully, the next step will be to go to trial where the court will make a final ruling on the value of the assets and who gets what property.
Because divorce can be (but does not have to be) exceptionally contentious, this somewhat straightforward process can go awry. Each side could include reimbursement claims that may appear trifling, file contempt regarding the management of community property, request that a special master be appointed to advise the court regarding the division of property along with its tax consequences, and do an number of various procedures to drag out the actual property division for as long as possible. However, by staying focused on the procedure outlined in 9:2801 it may be possible to deflect many of the maneuvers to stay focused on resolving the divorce and the community property.
Will Beaumont is a lawyer in Metairie & New Orleans. This article is strictly informational and not legal advice. For more information on community property regarding a Metairie divorce, call Will Beaumont.
- Dividing Community Property in Louisiana during Divorce Part III: The Law
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- Dividing Community Property in Louisiana during Divorce Part I: An Overview
- Dividing Community Property in Louisiana during Divorce Part V: Debts
- Divorce Attorney: Louisiana Community Property