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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.

What is community property?

It may seem obvious that marital property is anything you and your spouse acquired while you were married. However, there are nuances that can become confusing and bring property division negotiations to a halt. For example, what happens to money or assets you inherit while you are married? What about the appreciation of a business your spouse started before you married? Do you have any claim to the house your spouse purchased pre-wedding if your income helped to make renovations or pay the mortgage?

All of these questions and others are those the court will weigh during property division. Louisiana is one of the few community property states, which means the law stipulates that you and your spouse equally own all assets and debts you acquire while you are married, regardless of who made the purchase or who owns the title. The court will then divide those assets as evenly as possible, usually without regard for the financial situation of each spouse.

Settling your affairs

Dividing your assets with your spouse may mean seeking fair appraisals of some items to ensure an even division. It may also involve consideration of tax ramifications and other expenses, such as happens when one spouse gets the house or the couple must divide a retirement account. While Louisiana's asset division laws are more flexible than some other states, you want to be certain you get your fair share so you will have the best chance for a positive beginning to your post-divorce life.

If you and your spouse did not have a prenuptial agreement, you may be facing a stressful and frustrating process. Having a legal professional to protect your rights and best interests may relieve some of that stress.

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