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What does community property mean?

Louisiana is a community property state. This means that in a divorce, assets acquired during the marriage are seen as belonging to both of you equally, according to the Louisiana State Bar Association. Assets that are not acquired during the marriage are usually not considered community property and are called separate property.

The rules regarding what is and what is not community property can be confusing because there are many exceptions and details to understand. For example, if you buy new property using community and separate property, the new acquisition would be considered a community asset as long as the property you owned before the marriage did not play a substantial role in the purchase. Another example is a situation where you have a rental that you owned before the marriage. While the rental itself would not be community in nature, the rent you collect on that property during your marriage is likely to be.

Debts are also considered community property in some cases. If you acquire a debt on a community asset, then you and your spouse can be held liable for that debt. You may even be liable for debt acquired on separate property if you enjoyed benefits from the debt.

You can change the status of property. Community can be designated as separate or the opposite can be done. This usually involves donating the interest in the asset to the marriage or to one spouse or creating an agreement that specifies the status. This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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