Navigating Community Property Division In Louisiana Divorce Cases
If property division was as easy as dividing everything by two, disputes would rarely, if ever, arise. However, the process of property division can be complicated, if not contentious. Personal feelings about a divorce may get in the way of sound decision-making. One spouse may want to use the process to punish the other.
I am lawyer William Godley, a divorce attorney at the Godley Law Firm in Lake Charles, Louisiana. I have been through a divorce myself. I am a child of divorce. As a result, I understand the emotional issues associated with a marriage ending. As an experienced family law lawyer, I also know that my clients need to make rational decisions that aren’t driven by intense emotions. I can help.
Protecting Your Property Rights Through An Objective Approach
The more the assets are broken up individually, the more complex property division becomes. Regardless of the complexity, I will dedicate myself to securing every dollar and asset that you have coming to you. At the Godley Law Firm, I will handle all aspects of property division, bringing in experts and appraisers to value the property accurately.
Detailed investigations and appraisals help us get to facts free of emotional elements. Taking a more objective approach requires you to let go of personal attachment or pettiness over an asset considered community property. No matter how valuable they might be, holding up the divorce process by piecemealing what you or the opposing side wants does little to secure a final property settlement.
What You Need To Know About Community Property Division
Easily one of the hardest parts of any divorce I work on usually involves property. It’s not to say there aren’t emotionally fraught parts all over divorce, but property issues are especially tough. It’s a complex matter, but I can help you get the answers you need regarding your property matters. Here are answers to some of the most common questions I get.
What is community property?
Community property is a theory of property division that some states have taken up as their issue, and Louisiana is one of them. This theory is all about finding an equal division of the marital estate. In other words, it will be a 50-50 split of the assets acquired during the marriage.
This equal division is hard fought because of the complex nature of marital vs. separate property and complex assets. These are issues that require extensive research and representation to resolve and often take a significant amount of time.
What is separate property?
Separate property is the property you have that is separate from the marital estate. What that means is that your separate property is not part of any community property discussions and is something you can, more or less, count on. Examples of separate properties are:
- Vacation homes inherited from family
- Businesses started before the marriage
- Gifts of property made to just you
- Retirement accounts opened before your got married
However, one of the most complicated issues is comingling assets during the marriage. Sometimes contributions to previously opened retirement accounts can open them up to discussion in divorce.
What will happen to my business?
If you opened your business before getting married and kept it as a separate entity from your spouse throughout, then probably nothing. However, if you took additional stock options, expanded or gained personally, then some of that financial growth can be considered marital property.
Businesses are one of the most complex assets that come through in divorce, but that doesn’t mean you’ll lose half the business. Equal property division is both sides acquiring the equal value of the estate. It will be a negotiation. And you can set priorities in that negotiation.