This is TEL-LAW Tape #8020
What is community property and what is separate property in the community
If a married couple lives in Louisiana it is presumed that all property is
community property. Property owned by the man or the woman before their marriage,
that gifts made to the husband or to the wife are the separate property of the one who
received it. Separate property does not belong to both of them. Separate property is
owned by one spouse and controlled by that spouse.
Community property included the salaries of both husband and wife, things they
buy with their community property money and the rent and other income earned from
community property. Damages received by a husband and or wife because of the loss of
or damage to something that is community property are also classified as community
property. However, damages paid to a married person because of a personal injury are
usually the separate property of the injured spouse.
Income from separate property is usually community property under the
Louisiana Law. However, if either the husband or the wife does not want to share the
ownership of the income from separate property, that spouse can make a declaration
before a notary public, and keep the income from separate property as his or her own.
After the document is filed in the parish conveyance records, the income from separate
property will also be classified as separate property and the other spouse will not get and
ownership interest. The community property regime can involve complicated legal
issues. If you have any questions, a lawyer should be consulted.
If in a divorce all things are presumed to be community property.
If an asset is really separate property, the husband or the wife who owns it must
prove that it is his or her separate property. It may be hard to prove what things are
separate if the husband and wife have mixed separate property and community property
together. The law calls this mixture of property “commingled” property.
TEL-LAW is brought to you as a public service of the Lafayette Parish Bar
Association and SLERC.