The community property law in Louisiana addresses the ownership and management of property by married couples. Property includes vehicles, houses, bank accounts, income and other items of value.

If community funds are used to buy the property, it is usually community property even if it is titled in one spouse’s name. The community property laws also apply to debts. It addresses who can incur debts, pay debts and how the debts are divided if the marriage ends.

If a couple marries in another state and they move to Louisiana, they have one year to enter into a matrimonial agreement if they do not want their property to become community property.

Separate property

Separate property belongs to each spouse individually. It includes property acquired by either spouse before the marriage and property received by a spouse by inheritance or donation.

When couples marry, it does not automatically mean that separate property becomes community property. However, it may lose its separate property status if it is co-mingled with community property.

Matrimonial agreements

Before marriage, couples can enter into a matrimonial agreement and can decide how they want their property owned and controlled. This does not require court approval.

After marriage, couples can enter into a matrimonial agreement that modifies or terminates community property, but they have to file a joint petition with the court. Then the court will decide whether the agreement is in the best interest of the parties.

Community property rules can be complex, however an experienced attorney can help spouses with their questions and provide representation in a divorce.