New Orleans divorce lawyers encounter many aspects of Louisiana’s community property laws. This article presents one such example.
Let’s say Troy and Tammy are a married couple in Louisiana and that they have been married for almost twenty years. About ten years ago, Troy and Tammy decided to start an art gallery due to their mutual appreciation and love of art. The gallery mainly sold local painters’ works’ at first, but as the gallery became very successful Troy and Tammy were able to grow the business to the point where they were selling very famous artworks done by very famous painters.
Now let’s say that Troy has a little bit of a gambling problem, and he has had some “bad beats” at a casino on Canal Stree, New Orlenas recently. He starts thinking about the art gallery, and the way in which the paintings are sold. One conclusion that he comes to is that he could pay local and very talented painters to paint paintings which resemble very closely those of more established artists. Then, using the reputation which he and Tammy have developed at their gallery, he could sell these fraudulent paintings as though they were painted by the original artist. This of course would mean that Troy could buy the fraudulent paintings at a reduced rate and sell them for one hundred times their actual value.
Determined to make his plan work, Troy enlists the help of some unscrupulous local painters and puts the plan into action. Over the course of the first year, he manages to clear nearly five million dollars in profit. His machinations are totally unbeknownst to anyone else, including Tammy, but who has already spoken to some divorce lawyers due to other issues in their marriage.
Now let’s say that one of the customers who bought one of the fraudulent paintings is actually friends with the painter who painted the original. That painter goes to that customer’s house one day and notices one or two things which are incorrect with the painting. He proclaims the painting a fraud, and as a result that very angry customer then initiates legal action against Troy and Tammy’s art gallery.
After being sued, Troy breaks down and tells Tammy everything. Tammy has little sympathy for Troy, and at least in part for this transgression, decides to hire a divorce lawyer in New Orleans Louisiana to end the marriage. The question arises: to what extent will Tammy’s stake in the art gallery be jeopardized by Troy’s mendacity?
One arguably relevant Louisiana Civil Code Article is 2354, entitled “Liability for Fraud or Bad Faith.” The article reads that “A spouse is liable for any loss or damage caused by fraud or bad faith in the management of the community property.”
This may mean that pending the divorce and the division of the assets of Tammy and Troy, Troy is going to be “on the hook” for his fraudulent dealings. The art gallery that he shares with Tammy is probably community property, because it was created by the spouses during the marriage. While it is impossible to say for certain how this situation would play out given that it is a very limited example, it is possible that any other community assets which Tammy and Troy share, Troy would likely have to use his portion to satisfy a judgment against the community property art gallery.
This above is informational only, not legal advice. Will Beaumont may be found at Beaumont Divorcein New Orleans, Louisiana.
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