At the Law Offices of Michael J. Vergis, our family law attorneys represent clients in family law matters such as child custody, child support, and divorce and property divisions. A lot rides on family law issues, as legal decisions will significantly affect everyone involved. As such, there is a lot to consider when handling any of these matters.  

Bossier City divorce lawyer Michael Vergis understands the delicate nature of divorce and property divisions. It can require heavy litigation and mediation to protect your assets and ensure you receive a fair distribution of property. If you are in the process of divorce and need legal guidance in your property division case, contact our Bossier City lawyers today to see how we can help you.

Shreveport Bossier City Property Division Attorney

Bossier Divorce Lawyer

In Bossier City and the state of Louisiana as a whole, there are a few different methods for how divorces can be initiated. For one, an individual can file for divorce and serve the papers to their spouse. Louisiana’s version of a no-fault divorce requires the couple to live apart for 180 days (or 360 days if children are in the picture) before the divorce can take place. If the couple has already lived apart for the required amount of time before filing for divorce, one party can serve the papers and the process can begin.

A party can file for an immediate divorce only in the case that their spouse committed adultery, domestic violence, or has been convicted of a crime punishable by a life sentence in prison. However, an immediate divorce in the case that a spouse cheated might not be in the best interest of the other spouse. This is because it can reduce the amount he or she may receive in temporary alimony in Louisiana before the divorce finalizes.

What is Marital Property?

In family law cases involving property division, property will fall into two separate categories: marital property and separate property. It is not uncommon for the lines between these two categories to become blurred, as many people aren’t sure what constitutes marital property from separate. We’ll explain the difference between the two below.

Marital Property

Marital property includes any assets, property, income, and debts that a couple accumulated during their marriage. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Wages
  • Pension and retirement funds
  • Personal property
  • Mortgages
  • Real estate
  • Investment accounts
  • Loans
  • Credit card bills

Separate Property 

Separate property is property that is not up for distribution in the event of a divorce. It refers to any property or debt that one spouse acquires before marriage as well as any gifts or inheritance that was given specifically to them. 

It seems simple enough, so how do lines get so blurred? Well, separate property might take on aspects of marital property if it becomes commingled during the marriage. Essentially, if separate property gets mixed with marital assets, it may no longer be separate property. For example, if one party uses their inheritance (which we now know is separate property) to buy a joint asset, each party now has a stake in that asset. Thus, it becomes separate property.

Shreveport Bossier City Property Division Lawyers

Community Property vs. Equitable Distribution

If you and your former spouse cannot come to an agreement regarding the division of property, the courts will decide for you. They do so by either one of two methods: equitable distribution or community property. The method used is determined by what state you are in. Most states use equitable distribution laws. Only 9 states are considered community property states, including Louisiana. 

In community property states, marital property is essentially the same as community property. Anything that doesn’t meet the requirements for separate property is considered community property. In a divorce, community property is generally split down the middle between the spouses in a 50/50 division.

In equitable distribution states, assets and earnings are not split 50/50, but rather divided in what the court thinks is the most equitable or fair manner. A court might also assign each party with a percentage of the property’s total value. In the event that this happens, each spouse will receive property in a way that the worth of each asset adds up to the total of the awarded percentage.

Can a Prenup Protect my Assets?

There are ways to protect your assets from being divided in the event of a divorce. A prenuptial agreement or even a postnuptial agreement can protect an individual’s cherished assets from being divided as community property. The contract is one that is legally binding and specifies current and future assets that are to remain individually owned, as opposed to marital or community property.

For some, discussing pre-marital and post-marital agreements may be difficult because no one likes to think that one day their marriage might end in divorce. But as you know, sometimes things don’t last forever, and you want to make sure the meaningful assets you’ve accumulated on your own in your lifetime remain, well, your own. A prenup is one way to ensure that.

Bossier City Property Division Lawyer

Who Gets to Keep the House in a Property Division?

One of the things clients seem to be mostly concerned about in the division of property is the shared family home. Who gets to keep it? The short answer – it depends on the circumstances.

If the couple has children, the one parent who provides the primary care for the kids is typically the one who will remain in the home. If there are no children involved and one spouse has sole ownership of the house, they possess the legal right to ask the other to leave.

In the case that there are no children involved and the house is community property (meaning both spouses have split ownership), neither have the right to kick the other out. It can be requested, but your spouse is not required to adhere to your request. If a conclusion cannot be reached on who should keep the house between the two parties, it will be left to the courts to decide.

Bossier City Divorce and Property Divisions Lawyer

Louisiana Attorney Michael J. Vergis is equipped to represent and assist clients on all sides of family law disputes, at all phases of their case, and throughout Bossier City, Shreveport, and beyond. In addition to his good standing with the State Bar Association, His experience and successful negotiations in subjects such as divorce and property division have led to hundreds of satisfied clients. In addition to handling many cases involving family law, including domestic violence, spousal support, child custody, child support, and more, Michael Vergis also handles several other legal issues. Whether you need a Louisiana lawyer for personal injury, criminal defense, or civil rights litigation, he’s your guy.

Meticulous in litigation, Bossier family law attorney Michael Vergis will work towards the best possible outcome for each of his clients. Call our law practice today at 318-698-3724 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.