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Baton Rouge Family Law Log

How to divide marital assets in Louisiana

Chances are that if you are heading for divorce, you and your spouse are having difficulty coming to agreements about important questions. While many divorcing couples are able to sit down at a table together and resolve the major issues for an amicable break, you and your spouse may not be so lucky.

When it comes to deciding how you will divide your marital property, if you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement, the courts will decide based on Louisiana laws. Understanding those laws may allow you to proceed with property division with a view to protecting your rights.

Changes afoot for divorce negotiations

People in Louisiana who get divorced commonly must go through the process of splitting their marital estate. This can be a challenging process as it involves some negotiations between parties who do not agree on many things. Along the way, each party may experience some losses and may also need to concede some things to get to a final settlement. Starting in 2019, the road to this final settlement may well look different than it does today.

One factor that should be evaluated before making an agreement in a divorce relates to taxes. Many decisions made during the breakup of a marital estate will have tax implications for one or both parties. The payment of spousal support is one of these decisions. Historically, federal income taxes on spousal support payments have been the responsibility of the person who received the money as income. The paying partner would, in turn, deduct the amount paid from their tax return.

Dealing with emotions and divorce

As Louisiana residents go through the process of a divorce, they're bound to run into all sorts of trials and tasks. In return, dealing with these issues can create emotional turmoil in anyone, which can impact how the divorce is handled.

Mental Health America takes a look at ways a person can cope with divorce. They offer different tools that can be used to make riding out the emotional hurricane a little bit easier. These tools can include not facing the battle alone by having friends, family, or even professionals like therapists there to listen. Self-care is also extremely important, and not just of the mental or emotional variety. It's more important than ever for divorcing couples to take care of themselves physically, despite how taxing it may feel.

What makes a premarital agreement invalid?

Prenuptial agreements can be great tools to advise marriage decisions as well as to establish the rights of two parties of a Louisiana divorce. A valid prenup can help you or your spouse secure personal assets, protect a family business and even establish parental rights, amongst many other benefits. However, for a prenup to be valid, the interested parties must go about its creation in the right way. If they do not, the state of Louisiana may deem it invalid.

While every prenuptial agreement is unique, there are certain elements that may make yours invalid. Additionally, the circumstances leading up to the creation of your prenuptial agreement may also render your particular contract unsound.

Remember the valuation date in your divorce case

Many in Baton Rouge may view a divorce as being a singular event, when in reality, it is a process. Those who have come seeking the help of our team here at Gregory S. Johnson, Attorney at Law to work through this process often ask us what are the most important dates they need to plan. Most are surprised when we tell them they need to be aware of their valuation dates. If you wonder what a valuation date has to do with a divorce, you are not alone. Yet given the stake that both you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse have in your marital assets, you should definitely know why when they are valued is important. 

Say that after you and your spouse separate, your spouse stays in your marital home. Knowing that the likelihood exists that the two of you may have to sell the home and split the proceeds, they may then proceed to neglect the property so that once a sale does happen, your stake in it is diminished. Their stake would be, as well, but when the motive for doing so is to punish you, your ex-spouse may be willing to absorb the loss. 

Is your spouse hiding assets from you?

You are ready to call it quits and walk away from your marriage. You know that Louisiana is a community law state, which means you should get roughly 50 percent of your marital assets. Here is the thing; you think your spouse is hiding assets from you in an effort to keep more for him or herself. What can you do?

While hiding assets from the divorce process is illegal, that does not stop people from trying to do it. If you think your spouse is hiding assets, you can take steps to try to track them down.

Grandparents' visitation rights after divorce

Grandparents often have just as strong of a connection with children than the parents themselves. Louisiana law recognizes the strength of this bond, as well as its importance in the proper upbringing of a child. However, courts do not typically grant the right to visit with a grandchild automatically during a divorce.

When marriages end amicably, there is not often an issue with visitation. Contentious divorces are another question entirely. If, for example, a grandparent suspected that the former son- or daughter-in-law could gain the majority of custody rights and subsequently deny access to the child, further action might be advisable.

How will my divorce affect my business?

Sometimes Baton Rouge couples decide if they can enjoy a personal relationship with each other, sharing a business together might work out just as well. However, if the marriage hits the rocks and the couple decides to call it quits, the divorce process is also going to directly impact their business. Since both spouses own a part of the business, the company falls under Louisiana's community property laws and may be split up as well.

As points out, a Louisiana business owned by two spouses is considered jointly owned as a marital asset. Also, a spouse that is not a direct owner of the business could lay claim to some of the company's value if he or she has invested some money in the enterprise. Since a Louisiana business is subject to the state's community property law, there are several outcomes that, depending on how the divorce proceedings progress, could result. 

How can I recover financially after divorce?

Along with the numerous emotional and legal aspects of divorce, you'll also experience a significant change in your finances. This can be tough to deal with, especially if you're accustomed to a certain lifestyle. To ensure you recover financially after your divorce, Entrepreneur offers the following helpful tips.

Take a deep look at your finances

Mortages and divorces

When making the decision to end a marriage, spouses know that they will have to next choose how to split up their marital estate. For homeowners, this includes their family house which is also often their single biggest asset. However, some people forget that in addition to deciding what to do with the house means they must also decide what to do with their mortgage. 

As explained by Time Money, if one person wants to stay in the home but the couple chooses to keep their existing joint mortgage, the person who moves out is still considered financially responsible for the home loan. This can be true even if that person signed a quit claim deed handing over full ownership of the home to the person who stayed in it. This means the person who moves out could experience negative credit reports and score drops if the other spouse is late or misses any payments. The lender may also pursue payments from both persons.