Will my spouse get half our assets in divorce?
On behalf of Law Office of Virginia Erwin Sirera, LLC | Feb 17, 2020 | Divorce |
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.
Divorce disputes could involve seeking a exclusive rights order
Owning a home in Louisiana comes with many responsibilities. Things may become more complex when spouses enter into divorce proceedings while co-owning a home. Disagreements over who lives in the home during the divorce could be highly stressful. Seeking a court order for “exclusive rights” might be necessary.
Depictions in entertainment often show one spouse moving out of the home with no disagreements over who leaves. In real life, both spouses have the right to live in the property while divorce proceedings take place. Until the court makes a final decision, rights to the residence exist. Such a right does not extend only to joint property owners; even if only one spouse owns the home, the other may have rights.
To deal with the situation, spouses could request a court order for exclusive use. Once the court issues the order, one spouse may remain in the property while the other must relocate. Such an order might curtail a potentially volatile situation, so an exclusive rights order could support the safety of one or both spouses.
The notion of safety brings up another point. The court order does require cause for its issuance. Issues of domestic violence or mental cruelty could factor into the court’s decision.
Joint ownership means that both parties have a stake in the property. When the spouse ordered to move leaves, he or she does not relinquish decisions on upkeep, repairs, liabilities and other responsibilities. The joint owner does maintain an interest in the property.
In time, divorce proceedings will come to an end with an agreement reached or a decision rendered. A family law attorney may assist a spouse who is seeking a favorable outcome.
When most people in St. Tammany Parish get married, they hope that it’s forever. When things work out, it’s wonderful. When things go south and there’s a divorce on the horizon, the goal is to get as much help while going through the split as possible. People go into marriages with the best of intentions, but there are many reasons that even the marriages that seem the least likely to fail actually fail.
One of the most emotionally devastating reasons for a divorce is when one spouse cheats on the other. The loss of trust can be impossible to overcome for many people, and their only way out is through a divorce. Infidelity can also become an expensive mistake if there was a clause that financially penalized the guilty party in a prenup. Older people are getting divorced now as well since people are living longer and starting brand new lives and careers later in life.
Financial issues are one of the biggest reasons that people get divorced. If one spouse spends too much money and puts the couple’s financial future at risk, that could be a non-negotiable for some spouses. There may be a situation where the couple isn’t able to earn enough money to comfortably survive, causing major stress in the household. Few marriages can survive serious financial issues.
Intimacy is a very important part of a marriage. It’s the emotional and physical link that ties a couple together. When there’s little or no intimacy, spouses can quickly grow apart from each other. Once the distance is there, it could take serious therapy and determination on the part of both sides of the couple to bring it back together. That can be extremely hard to do when the spark that brought them together seems to be gone for good.
No one wants to get a divorce, but sometimes it’s for the best for the emotional, physical, financial, and mental well-being of both partners. People looking into getting a divorce may benefit from working with divorce attorneys who have experience navigating matrimonial law. They may be able to help with a solution that satisfies everyone.
Errors you should avoid making during a divorce
Louisiana couples often make things worse during a divorce through their actions. These self-inflicted wounds can make finalizing a divorce much more difficult than it needs to be. Here are a few common mistakes you should avoid making during the process.
Do not stop talking
It is natural to want to stop talking to the person you are divorcing. After all, something had to have happened to cause the end of your marriage. However, cutting off communication because of anger increases the chance that your case may end up in litigation. If possible, it is best to talk directly without lawyers in the middle because it is cheaper and less formal.
Do not be unrealistic financially
You must understand that your spouse will want his or her portion of the marital estate. The court insists on an equitable distribution between two spouses, so you will likely not get everything that you want. In the end, you may need to make some tough choices, but expecting too much will get you into trouble.
Do not overlook taxes
You may incur tax obligations when certain property is sold. Alternatively, you may inherit this debt when you take over some of the marital estate. There may be capital gains built in that you need to pay. Make sure that you account for this when valuing the property and negotiating or else, you may get hit with a large tax bill in the future.
One way to stay informed and learn of the possible pitfalls that await you is to retain a family law attorney. A lawyer could give you advice ahead of time about what things may cause you trouble. Moreover, he or she may provide you with counsel that reins you in if you are letting your emotions take over amid negotiations. If you are uninformed or unaware, you run a greater risk of causing yourself problems during the divorce.
What role does spousal support play in Louisiana divorces?
During your marriage, there might have been a disparity between you and your spouse’s incomes. Or, you might have left the workforce to raise your children, and they were your family’s breadwinner. In either case, you may worry about whether you can support yourself as you two separate and divorce. Yet, your circumstances could make you eligible for spousal support in Louisiana.
Types of spousal support in Louisiana
Louisiana recognizes two different types of spousal support. Your spouse may pay you interim support if you need help meeting your expenses during your separation. Once your divorce finalizes, you will receive final periodic support, so long as you were not at fault for your marriage’s breakdown. Final periodic support will last for as long as you need it, or until you remarry or cohabit with a new partner. It will also terminate if you or your spouse dies.
Factors impacting spousal support in Louisiana
One surprising factor that could affect your spousal support award is whether you were at fault for your marriage’s breakdown. If your marriage ended because you committed adultery or you received a felony conviction, your spouse could file a fault-based divorce in Louisiana. In these cases, the court may bar you from receiving spousal support.
If your divorce is not fault-based, the value and duration of your spousal support award will depend on more traditional factors. These may include:
- The length of your marriage
- You and your spouse’s age and health
- You and your spouse’s income, earning capacity and means
- Whether you or your spouse’s share of custody will affect your earning capacity
- Whether you need job training or education to become self-sufficient
- The tax consequences of your spousal support award
If your spouse has a history of domestic abuse, their actions could impact your award as well. In most cases, your award cannot exceed one-third of their net income. If domestic abuse is a factor, you may receive a greater share of it.
When fighting for spousal support, you must acknowledge the factors that will affect its value and duration. Keeping these in mind, a family law attorney can help you work toward an award that reflects your specific needs.