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Navigating Louisiana Property Division: How to Get Your Fair Share in a Divorce

So you’ve decided to end your marriage in Louisiana. While emotionally taxing, now comes the hard part – dividing up your assets and property. Louisiana is a community property state, meaning that in theory you’re each entitled to half the assets accumulated during the marriage. But in reality, the asset and property division in a Louisiana divorce is complicated with many factors to consider. The family home, investments, retirement accounts, personal belongings – the list goes on and on.

Strategies for Negotiating a Fair Property Settlement

Under Louisiana’s community property laws, most assets and debts acquired during marriage are considered community property, meaning they are owned equally by both spouses. Property Division Basics  

When it comes time to divide property in a divorce, the court will determine what is separate vs. communal property. Separate property includes anything owned before the marriage or received as a gift/inheritance during the marriage. Community property, on the other hand, includes things like your family home, bank accounts, retirement funds, vehicles, and businesses started during the marriage.   

The general rule of thumb is that community property should be split 50/50 between spouses. However, the court may allocate more or less to each spouse based on factors like each person’s income, earning capacity, contributions, and the needs and wellbeing of any children. If you feel like a 50/50 split would be unfair in your situation, be prepared to make your case and provide documentation to support your claims.  

Other things to consider regarding property division include:  

– How will shared assets like homes, vehicles and investment accounts be divided? Will they need to be sold and the proceeds split?

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– How will retirement accounts and pensions be divided to ensure each spouse has financial security after the divorce?

– Do either spouse’s career or earning potential need to be considered to ensure a fair division of property?  

– How will custody arrangements impact the division of property and allocation of child-related expenses?

– What is the tax impact of dividing certain assets and how can you minimize tax consequences? Consult an accountant.

The property division process in Louisiana can be complicated. Speaking with a divorce attorney in your area is the best way to understand your rights and work towards an equitable settlement. While it may be difficult, try to approach property division in a spirit of fairness and compromise.

Working With Divorce Lawyers to Protect Your Assets and Property Interests

To get your fair share in a Louisiana divorce, you need to go into negotiations with a strategy. Some key things to keep in mind:

Do your research

Learn all you can about the assets and debts in the marriage, including values and documents. Check recent sales of comparable properties to determine fair market values. Be prepared to provide evidence to back up your claims. Knowledge is power at the negotiating table.  

Get professional help

Hire an experienced divorce attorney to advise you on your rights and help determine a reasonable settlement offer. Their expertise can help ensure you don’t leave money on the table or get taken advantage of. They can also handle the legal paperwork, taking some stress off you during an already difficult time.  

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Focus on your needs  

Make a list of your essential living expenses and financial priorities to determine how much you need in the settlement to maintain your lifestyle. Be willing to compromise, but don’t settle for less than you require. Your needs should be the baseline for any offer.

Use leverage wisely

You may have leverage for negotiating a better deal, e.g. if you are the primary caregiver of children, if the marital home was purchased during the marriage, if you earn a higher income. But use leverage judiciously, as aggressive tactics often backfire. The goal should be a fair and equitable division, not punishment.

With the right knowledge and skills, you can work towards an agreement that will allow you both to move on financially secure after the divorce. Approaching negotiations in a spirit of fairness and compromise is the wisest strategy.

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