Community property v. Separate Property

Community Property v. Separate Property

What is the difference between community and separate property. The community property regime dictates how a spouse manages property through a set of property laws. In other words, the community property laws regulate how a spouse acquires, alienates or controls property that is co-owned by the other spouse. The property which is subject to these community laws includes but is not limited to:

-houses;

-lots;

-cars;

-401ks;

-pensions;

-income;

-stocks; and

-financial accounts, among others.

Community Property

The general rule is that property owned by the spouse is presumed to be community unless it is specifically classified as separate property by law or agreement (declaration of paraphernality). See La. CC Art. 2340. Also, assets acquired during the marriage are generally community. See La. CC Art. 2339. Community property is:

-property acquired during the existence of the legal regime through the effort, skill, or industry of either spouse;

-property acquired with community things or with community and separate things, unless classified as separate property under Article 2341;

-property donated to the spouses jointly;

-natural and civil fruits of community property;

-damages awarded for loss or injury to a thing belonging to the community;

-and all other property not classified by law as separate property.

See La. CC Art. 2338.  Community property.

Separate Property

The spouse has exclusive use of his/hers separate property. Separate property includes:

-property acquired by a spouse prior to the establishment of a community property regime;

-property acquired by a spouse with separate things or with separate and community things when the value of the community things is inconsequential in comparison with the value of the separate things used;

-property acquired by a spouse by inheritance or donation to him individually;

-damages awarded to a spouse in an action for breach of contract against the other spouse or for the loss sustained as a result of fraud or bad faith in the management of community property by the other spouse;

-damages or other indemnity awarded to a spouse in connection with the management of his separate property;

-and things acquired by a spouse as a result of a voluntary partition of the community during the existence of a community property regime.

See La. CC Art. 2341.

Community property can be declared separate if a declaration of paraphernality is executed. Contact the Weiser Law Firm for a free case evaluation today.