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 February 27, 2015 |

The division of property can be one of the most complicated aspects of the end of a Louisiana marriage. Property ownership may be decided in a prenuptial or post-nuptial contract, an agreement reached by spouses during separation or divorce or by a family law judge.

Many spouses involved in high asset divorces enlist the assistance of accountants as well as attorneys. Before any property negotiations take place, marital assets and debts must be disclosed, counted and valued. Rules for the identification and division of separate and marital property are outlined in the laws of every state.

Marital property in community property states like Louisiana is divided equally. Spousal earnings are included with marital, not separate, property. Marital property also includes assets purchased by one spouse during marriage.

The divorce accounting process may include an investigation into undisclosed or purposely hidden assets. Fraud is one of the few reasons, if not the only reason, a court will reopen a property settlement. It’s imperative to make sure all cards are on the table before spouses try to secure an agreement.

Attorneys and accountants advise clients about the tax implications of marital property division. Tax backlash is a considerable concern for wealthy couples. For a fair division of property, parties must understand the value of assets in the present as well as in the future, along with tax considerations.

Financial advisers help spouses understand whether ownership or transfers will trigger a current or delayed tax burden like a tax gain, gift tax or the loss of a tax deduction or credit. Attorneys explain the legal impact of the decisions spouses make. In addition, the effect of taxes related to child support and alimony must be clear to payers and recipients.

Tax matters are a significant but single factor in Louisiana property settlements. Any agreement should be considered with great care and sound advice before signing.

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