A. When the spouses are unable to agree on a partition of community property or on the settlement of the claims between the spouses arising either from the matrimonial regime, or from the co-ownership of former community property following termination of the matrimonial regime, either spouse, as an incident of the action that would result in a termination of the matrimonial regime or upon termination of the matrimonial regime or thereafter, may institute a proceeding, which shall be conducted in accordance with the following rules:
(1)(a) Within forty-five days of service of a motion by either party, each party shall file a sworn detailed descriptive list of all community property, the fair market value and location of each asset, and all community liabilities. For good cause shown, the court may extend the time period for filing a detailed descriptive list. If a party fails to file a sworn detailed descriptive list timely, the other party may file a rule to show cause why its sworn detailed descriptive list should not be deemed to constitute a judicial determination of the community assets and liabilities. At the hearing of the rule to show cause, the court may either grant the request or, for good cause shown, extend the time period for filing a sworn detailed descriptive list. If the court grants the request, no traversal shall be allowed.
(b) Each party shall affirm under oath that the detailed descriptive list filed by that party contains all of the community assets and liabilities then known to that party. Amendments to the descriptive lists shall be permitted. No inventory shall be required.
(2) Within sixty days of the date of service of the last filed detailed descriptive list, each party shall either traverse or concur in the inclusion or exclusion of each asset and liability and the valuations contained in the detailed descriptive list of the other party. For good cause shown, the court may extend the time period for a party to traverse or concur in the detailed descriptive list of the other party. The trial of the traverses may be by summary procedure. At the trial of the traverses, the court shall determine the community assets and liabilities; the valuation of assets shall be determined at the trial on the merits. The court, in its discretion, may by ordinary procedure try and determine at one hearing all issues, including those raised in the traverses.
(3) The court may appoint such experts pursuant to Articles 192 and 373 of the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure as it deems proper to assist the court in the settlement of the community and partition of community property, including the classification of assets as community or separate, the appraisal of community assets, the settlement of the claims of the parties, and the allocation of assets and liabilities to the parties.
(4) The court shall then partition the community in accordance with the following rules:
(a) The court shall value the assets as of the time of trial on the merits, determine the liabilities, and adjudicate the claims of the parties.
(b) The court shall divide the community assets and liabilities so that each spouse receives property of an equal net value.
(c) The court shall allocate or assign to the respective spouses all of the community assets and liabilities. In allocating assets and liabilities, the court may divide a particular asset or liability equally or unequally or may allocate it in its entirety to one of the spouses. The court shall consider the nature and source of the asset or liability, the economic condition of each spouse, and any other circumstances that the court deems relevant. As between the spouses, the allocation of a liability to a spouse obligates that spouse to extinguish that liability. The allocation in no way affects the rights of creditors.
(d) In the event that the allocation of assets and liabilities results in an unequal net distribution, the court shall order the payment of an equalizing sum of money, either cash or deferred, secured or unsecured, upon such terms and conditions as the court shall direct. The court may order the execution of notes, mortgages, or other documents as it deems necessary, or may impose a mortgage or lien on either community or separate property, movable or immovable, as security.
(e) In the event that the allocation of an asset, in whole or in part, would be inequitable to a party, the court may order the parties to draw lots for the asset or may order the private sale of the asset on such terms and conditions as the court deems proper, including the minimum price, the terms of sale, the execution of realtor listing agreements, and the period of time during which the asset shall be offered for private sale.
(f) Only in the event that an asset cannot be allocated to a party, assigned by the drawing of lots, or sold at private sale, shall the court order a partition thereof by licitation. The court may fix the minimum bids and other terms and conditions upon which the property is offered at public sale. In the event of a partition by licitation, the court shall expressly state the reasons why the asset cannot be allocated, assigned by the drawing of lots, or sold at private sale.
C. In the absence of an agreement between the parties for an extension of time or the granting by the court of an extension for good cause, if a party fails to comply with any time limit provided in this Section, upon motion of the other party or upon its own motion, the court may award reasonable attorney fees and court costs to the other party for the filing of or the response to the motion. If the court rules, pursuant to Subparagraph (A)(1)(a) of this Section, that the other party’s sworn detailed descriptive list be deemed to constitute the assets and liabilities of the community, then the court shall not award attorney fees and court costs to the other party.
Added by Acts 1982, No. 439, §1; Acts 1986, No. 225, §1; Acts 1992, No. 825, §1; Acts 1993, No. 28, §1; Acts 1995, No. 433, §2; Acts 1995, No. 1008, §1; Acts 1997, No. 35, §2; Acts 2001, No. 493, §1; Acts 2005, No. 415, §1.
NOTE: SEE ACTS 1986, NO. 225, §5.