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How do Louisiana courts divide debt in a divorce?

Courts in Louisiana follow the community property approach to dividing spouses’ assets.  For the most part, everything that couples own jointly and together is subject to division.

Courts treat debts the same way that they treat assets in dividing community property. Here are some important things that individuals seeking a divorce in Louisiana should know about debt and property division.

Debts prior to a marriage are not divisible

Indebtedness incurred before marrying customarily stay with individuals and is separate from community property. In normal circumstances, debts that people had before they married and all of the interest that they accrue over the course of a marriage are not assignable to spouses in divorce proceedings.

Individual debts may not necessarily be separate

If one person takes out a personal loan or builds up credit card debt in his or her name, it may be reasonable to assume that the repayment obligation remains separate from community property. However, the obligation to repay personal debts may fall on a spouse.

The fact that people were unaware that their husband or wife was accumulating debt will not automatically relieve them of their share of the obligation. However, if someone went into debt for a purpose that benefited only him or her individually, a court may determine that the liability is separate and not subject to division.

During divorce proceedings, financial transparency about debt is important. Presenting an honest picture of finances helps ensure that the division of both assets and debts is fair and accurate.

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