Acquired assets during the marriage for Louisiana couples are considered community property. If they divorce, these assets are divided into equal shares.
Many couples in Louisiana are able to acquire property and assets over the course of their marriages. They often share these assets. Even though marriages are often entered into with the best intentions, they can sometimes fail. If a couple decides to divorce, they will need to divide their assets. The property division process is often the most contentious part of a divorce.
Louisiana property division generally involves property and assets being divided into two types: separate property or community property. These property types can be handled differently in divorce proceedings so it is important to know which assets belong to each category.
Separate property is generally defined as assets that are owned only by one spouse. This includes any property acquired before marriage, inheritances, or donations made to only one spouse, as well as other assets. Separate property acquired may be included in the property division process.
Most assets acquired by a couple during their marriage are considered to be community property. This could be a marital home or any other real property that was purchased using community assets or a combination of separate and community property. Additionally, assets and property that are given to spouses together and any proceeds that are earned from community property are considered community property.
Assets and Property Division
Louisiana couples, unless they have a written agreement to the contrary, are subject to state law regarding community property upon marriage. According to the Internal Revenue Service, this theory assumes that both spouses are responsible for the accrual and maintenance of their community property. They each have an equal right to the property in the event they divorce.
Louisiana law states that a judge may judicially divide the assets and community property of a couple if they are unable or unwilling to come to an agreement. With very few exceptions, the court will first assess all assets and community property. These assets are then divided in such a way that each spouse gets one-half of their community property. Some cases may require that assets be sold in order to divide the proceeds equally between the spouses. In most cases, each spouse is allowed to keep their separate property during the property division process.
What Will Happen to Your Business
The family business is most likely your largest asset. This will be the main focus of the property division phase in your divorce.
You cannot actually split the business, but you and your spouse can make choices about its future.
There are three options:
1. Sell the business
If your business is a success, you may decide to sell it together and share the profits. From your share, you can start another company. To determine the best selling price, you might need to hire an expert to evaluate the business.
2. Perform a Buyout
Your spouse may be the one who runs the company’s financial operations, while you might be the owner. If you feel a deeper attachment to your business, you may consider buying your spouse out. You could also propose an equitable exchange of assets or structure a payout to your spouse’s interests over a longer time period if you don’t have enough funds for the buyout.
3. Continue as Co-owners
The best option is to remain co-owners if you and your spouse feel that you can continue working together even after the divorce is final. This would save you the cost of a valuation, and each person would be able to keep their respective shares in the company. It may help to have an operating agreement in place that clearly defines your rights and responsibilities.
Looking for Legal Counsel
For couples across Louisiana, the process of divorce and property division can be complicated. The division of assets and property can be a complicated process for divorcing spouses. They may not agree on which assets belong to them alone or which are shared. It may be beneficial for those considering divorce to consult a lawyer. An attorney can help them understand their rights and guide them through the process to ensure that they get the assets they deserve.
Our divorce lawyers in Shreveport at Bowie & Beresko, APLC have extensive experience in complex property divisions. Established in 1989, Bowie & Beresko APLC has turned into a top law firm in the Shreveport, LA area. Contact us today at 318-221-0600 for a free consultation.