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 November 6, 2014 |

Property division at the end of a marriage can be determined by spousal agreement or a family court in accordance with Louisiana community property laws. Property settlements are contracts that must be entered in good faith. Spouses may not hide income, assets and liabilities or engage in other fraudulent activities to gain a financial advantage during divorce.

A Louisiana professor claims his ex-wife knowingly cheated him during the couple’s divorce. The wife filed for divorce in Columbia in 2001, where she was living and where the couple married nearly three decades earlier. A lawsuit filed by the former husband stated he had no opportunity to contest the international divorce, because he was not properly notified about it.

The legal claim stated an attempt by the Columbia Consulate in Louisiana to serve the divorce papers failed, because the husband’s address on the documents was incorrect. The University of New Orleans professor said his wife knew the right address and visited the residence. She could have had the papers served at his workplace, where he had been employed since the mid-1980s.

Instead, the wife moved ahead with the divorce in Columbia in 2006, after getting a court’s permission for service through publication. Service by publication — through newspaper advertisements – occurs when a defendant’s whereabouts is unknown. For courts to permit this method of service, the divorce petitioner must show every effort was made to locate the other spouse.

The professor finally saw a copy of the divorce ruling in 2012, which included a division of property in which he had no say. The ex-husband alleged his spouse purposely concealed the divorce papers for personal gain. The lawsuit requests damages.

Louisiana spouses must submit financial statements during the divorce process that account for all known separate and marital property. Parties who purposely omit property or manipulate ownership after a divorce filing may be guilty of fraud.

Source: The Louisiana Record, “Man sues ex-wife for allegedly fraudulent divorce” Kyle Barnett, Oct. 21, 2014

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