Now that you and your spouse have decided to divorce, one of the challenges you will face is dividing your assets. Louisiana is one of just nine community property states. In community property states, marital property is divided equally, 50-50, between both spouses.
What is marital property?
Marital property includes assets acquired during your marriage. So, if you bought a home during your marriage, that is a marital asset. Even if your spouse isn’t on the title of the home, if you bought it while married, it is considered a marital asset. Where asset division becomes complex, though, is if you owned your home before your marriage, but then later your spouse contributed toward paying the mortgage or taxes on it. Then how much your home has grown in value during the marriage is marital property, subject to 50-50 asset division.
Other marital property includes the following:
- Retirement accounts funds accumulated during your marriage
- Other investments made during the marriage
- Vacation property acquired during the marriage
- Business assets acquired during a marriage (including family business assets if they weren’t protected by a prenuptial agreement)
- Furniture acquired during the marriage
- Jewelry, art or collectibles acquired during the marriage
What about debt?
Most couples also have debt they acquired while married. In community property states, spouses will split any debt acquired during a marriage 50-50. Even if your spouse took out a student loan in her name during your marriage, in Louisiana, you and your spouse will divide the debt equally.
Working through property division
Obviously, couples don’t split homes in half or furniture in half when they divorce. They calculate their marital assets and debts and find ways to equal that money between them. If your spouse really wants to keep the marital home so your children won’t face another transition during your divorce, you may decide to give her that asset, keeping more of your retirement earnings.
Your divorce attorney can help you work through dividing your marital property in divorce. It’s always better for couples to reach an agreement on asset division outside of court, giving them more control of what assets they will keep after the divorce is final.