Community Property Versus Separate Property in Louisiana
In Louisiana, property owned by a married person is either separate property or community property. The presumption provided by the law for married persons is that all property acquired during the marriage is deemed community property. The term "property" under the law is very broadly construed and includes everything a person could own including real estate, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, wages, and more. While the presumption is that all property is community, people can vary the agreement under the law by a separate property regime, a prenuptial agreement, or by written agreement when acquired. The manner in which the thing is titled usually does not have an effect on whether the property is community or separate property.
Most assets acquired during the marriage are considered to be community property, including:
· All property acquired during the marriage through the effort, skill, or industry of either spouse,
· Property acquired with community property or with a mix of community and separate property,
· Property given to the spouses jointly, whether by donation or inheritance,
· The fruits (proceeds) from community property, and
· All other property not classified by law as separate property.
Separate property is all property owned prior to the marriage, gifted during the marriage, or bequeathed by testament to that person. Separate property would include property acquired during the marriage that due to a prenuptial agreement, separate property regime, or written agreement that it is separate, and specifically includes:
· Property acquired by a spouse prior the marriage,
· Assets acquired by a spouse with separate property,
· Property acquired by a spouse by inheritance or donation individually, and
· Assets acquired by a spouse under a separate property regime.
Those that attempt to skirt the law during their marriage by titling an asset, like real estate, in their own name, in an attempt to establish it as separate property should be aware that when the law is applied, it usually does not matter how the property is titled. Rather, the law would look to see what the source of the funds used to purchase an asset and the assumption of community would apply. Meaning, in order to rebut the presumption of community, the spouse seeking to have the property declared separate would need to prove the funds used to acquire the asset were its separate property at the time of acquisition.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding community or separate property, please contact Joseph Marriott at firstname.lastname@example.org or (504)834-7171.