Louisiana is a community property state. In a very general sense, this means that married couples share equally the property which they acquire by virtue of their work and industry over the course of the marriage. Because property which is considered “community” is shared equally, a divorce lawyer in Metairie, La may note that there are instances where the spouses must confer before disposing of that property. For example, under certain circumstances, one spouse cannot unilaterally decide to start leasing the family home to a third party, without the explicit consent of the other spouse.
A Metairie divorce lawyer may further advise that there are instances however where a spouse may not have to have the authority of the other spouse before making a substantial decision about a piece of community property. Let’s turn to a hypothetical to better illustrate this point.
Let’s say that Mark and Myrna have been married for twenty years. A few years after they were married they decided to move out of the apartment which they shared and into a house. They were able to buy the house with a mortgage, and the payments on the mortgage were made monthly with the money which they both earned from their respective jobs. In the twentieth year of their marriage, the house was paid off and they officially owned it unencumbered.
Now let’s say that Myrna was involved in a gruesome car accident with a New Orleans divorce attorney. While she did in fact survive, the accident left her in a coma. She was totally unresponsive to outside stimuli. Obviously, Mark was despondent.
Then, to small degree, their fortunes turned. The house which they had purchased twenty years ago was in a very nice neighborhood outside the French Quarter in New Orleans. As of late it had become very fashionable for celebrities to move into the area and purchase homes, partly because so much movie filming takes place in New Orleans, and also because the area is considered very neat to people not from the area. Mark is approached by a famous movie star regarding the possibility of purchasing the home which he shares with Myrna. Mark is very reluctant to sell because of the recent tragedy, and he thinks a move at this time would be more trouble than it is worth. However the celebrity is very insistent, because she is absolutely in love with the architecture of the home. She offers Mark twenty times the value of the house, approximately twenty million dollars. Just after the offer is made, Mark learns that Myrna cannot live at the house anymore anyways, because she needs to be placed in a home more accessible to medical treatment. Now Mark thinks this is a great deal; but he is ostensibly unable to act because the house is probably community property, and he would need Myrna’s authorization to sell it.
Under Louisiana Civil Code article 2369.7, one spouse may seek the authority of a court to act alone vis a vis community property, if the circumstances allow it. More specifically, 2369.7 says that if one spouse is unable to concur due to physical incapacity or mental incompetence, and the action is necessary and does not prejudice the other spouse, than a court may allow it. Given the above facts, a Metairie family law attorney or divorce lawyer may find that there is a good chance that Mark could meet the requirements of article 2369.7, and sell the home without the direct consent of Myrna.
While it may be necessary to get court approval to do as described above, check with a local attorney or click here for more information or see Beaumont Divorce of Metairie.
This article is written to be general information only; it should not be taken as formal legal advice. Will Beaumont. New Orleans.
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