A community property settlement is a separate and independent legal proceeding that is litigated completely aside from the actual divorce and or child custody and support proceedings.
Two things must be accomplished:
- Terminate the community property regime of law that previously existed between married persons so that they will stop incurring community debt and assets
- Split up the property they owned together under the community property laws that applied to them while married
The community law “regime” is terminated by death, divorce, or Court approval even while still married. The community must be terminated before assets and debts can be divided as separate property.
After the community regime is terminated, a community property partition petition must be filed to ask the Court to divide the assets and debts of the parties so that a fair outcome is achieved. Each party always seems to have a different definition of “fair” and there are often disputes about values of certain property. Also, bitter disputes may arise if in fact one of the parties has separate property that has been used to help pay for community property such that funds have become commingled. These are complex issues and require a thorough legal analysis based on the facts, records, and the behavior of the parties during the marriage and during the separation period in regard to the handling of assets and debts.
One of the biggest areas of contention in property partition suits is the classification of certain property as community or separate. The biggest contention regarding these two classifications is whether or not one party is entitled to a full reimbursement of their separate property or whether or not they have to give half of their separate property to the other spouse in the property partition.
If the parties will not come to an agreement on how to divide their community property, the Court will make determinations as to how to divide the property. Louisiana law provides Courts with direction and instructions as to how to go about trying to value and settle community property.
Louisiana law provides Judges with wide discretion to make all orders necessary, including, for example, ordering some assets to be sold.
Contact Mr. Zito today at (225) 201-0520 for a free consultation regarding matters of divorce and property settlement while you are considering divorce as a viable next step.