Is Louisiana a Community Property State?

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Louisiana is one of nine community property states in the United States. This means that in any divorce in Louisiana, both spouses are entitled to 50% of the assets acquired during the marriage, including income and real estate. 
Splitting up property during a divorce can add a fresh layer of complications to an already messy process. Who gets the TV, who gets the house, and who gets the car? 
In these disputes, the question of ownership can become heated. In most states, you can claim anything purchased under your name as personal property—but in community property states like Louisiana, all marital property must be split 50/50. 
Here to help you understand the ins and outs of community property law in Louisiana is home and car insurance broker and comparison app Jerry. In this article, we’ll tackle the definition of community property and list some important exceptions to the law.
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What is a community property state?

In a community property state, any property acquired by either spouse during a marriage is automatically jointly owned and must be split 50/50 in a divorce. That includes income, real estate, personal property, savings, and retirement accounts. It also includes any debt incurred by one or both parties during the marriage. 
Louisiana is a community property state, along with: 
  • Arizona
  • California 
  • Idaho
  • Nevada 
  • New Mexico
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
All other states in the US follow a common law property system, which allows divorcing spouses to claim any property or income owned in their name. As long as your ex’s name isn’t on the paperwork, you can take back all your assets in a common law divorce. Community property laws, on the other hand, are designed to simplify divorce proceedings by splitting everything equally. 

Separate property vs. joint property

Community property law applies to most property acquired during the marriage, but there are some exceptions. The following is considered separate property
  • Anything given to you or your spouse as a gift
  • Anything you or your spouse inherited during the marriage
  • Anything you or your spouse acquired through a trust fund or will
  • Anything you or your spouse had before the marriage
  • Anything acquired while you and your spouse were legally separated

What is considered community property in Louisiana? 

Anything that you acquired during your marriage while domiciled in Louisiana is considered community property, regardless of whose name is on the paperwork. 
What does “domiciled” mean? Essentially, this legal term refers to your permanent residence or the place you intend to live full-time. 
Let’s take an example: suppose you and your spouse own a vacation home in the Big Easy, but your regular full-time residence is in a common law state. Any property you own in Louisiana won’t be subject to community property law as long as your domicile is in a common law state. 
Your house is considered community property in Louisiana unless it was purchased by one spouse before the marriage. The same applies to your car—even if your name is the only one on the paperwork, it’s considered joint property if it was bought during the marriage and while you resided in Louisiana.  

What if there’s a prenup? 

A prenuptial agreement can circumvent Louisiana's community property law. Creating a prenup is one way to outline in advance how your financial assets will be divided in the event of a divorce, regardless of the laws in your state. 

How is community property divided in Louisiana?

Although community property is supposed to simplify divorce proceedings, dividing marital property 50/50 can be a complicated process. After all, there’s no way to split a car in half! 
In general, you have two options for dividing community property in Louisiana: 
  • Reach a settlement with the other party in the divorce
  • Allow a judge to divide the property 
The judge will assign property to each spouse based on the nature and origin of the property, the individual spouses’ finances, child custody, and other relevant factors. They will ensure that the total property received by each spouse is equal to the net value of the other party’s property. 

How to save on home and auto insurance in Louisiana

Dividing property in a divorce can be messy, arduous, and expensive. Your home and auto insurance shouldn’t be. With Jerry, saving money on home and car insurance is as simple as answering a few questions that take roughly 45 seconds. 
You’ve heard it before: bundling home and auto insurance can earn you discounts on both. But how can you be sure you’re really getting the lowest price—and what if your home and car insurance policies are with different companies? 
That’s where Jerry comes in. Download the Jerry app, enter your information, and within 45 seconds Jerry will compare rates from 50+ top insurance companies and present you with the most affordable options. Pick the bundle that fits your needs, and you could save hundreds of dollars a year on the insurance you need! 
Jerry handles all the paperwork to switch your policy, and saves users an average of $879 a year on car insurance alone! 
Jerry was wonderful! I used it for my auto and renters policies. I trusted it so much that I signed up my homeowners insurance under Jerry as well. All of the agents are amazingly nice and knowledgeable.” —Mary Y. 
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FAQs

It depends. If you bought the ring for yourself before you were legally married, it could be considered separate property—but it might also qualify as a gift, meaning that community property law doesn’t apply.
No. The reasons for your divorce won’t affect what’s considered community property—it all comes down to when the property was acquired.

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