“What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is my own.” So wrote the Irish writer James Joyce in his classic novel, Ulysses. However, that’s not how things work in Louisiana. If you are getting divorced here, it’s a case of what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is yours.
When it comes to splitting property acquired during your marriage, Louisiana divorce courts use what is known as community law. They define this marital property as much more than buildings. It includes assets, investments, cars, dishwashers and many other things. Debts acquired during your marriage are also considered community property. The property you brought into the marriage or inherited usually is exempt.
Depending on your point of view, this equal division may seem fantastic, or downright terrible. If you’re a struggling artist and your wife was a high-flying CEO, you may think its a great idea. She may not agree.
Prenuptial agreements are valid in Louisiana, and things contained in them would usually overrule the community property concept.
While the law bases upon a 50:50 split, it does not insist you stick to this. If you and your partner can agree on how to divide your property, then a court will usually accept it as long as it is fair. If you cannot agree and need a judge to decide things for you, there are ways you can petition for a different division of specific property. You will need evidence and a strong legal argument to convince a judge why.