their office. Here is a case law example of how Louisiana’s reimbursement laws interact with community and separate funds.
In the Bourgeois case, Lisa Bourgeois and Glenn Bourgeois were married in 1989. The district court found that the family home was Glenn’s separate property, ordered Lisa’s eviction from the property, and allocated certain household property to Lisa. Trial of the community property partition took place in 2008. The contested issues were (1) whether Lisa was owed reimbursement for her separate funds used (a) to pay off the mortgage of the family home, which was Glenn’s separate property, and (b) to complete an addition to the family home and to purchase community furniture (2) whether Glenn was owed reimbursement for community funds used to pay for insurance on Lisa’s separate automobile, one half of the payoff on the loan for the community shrimp boat, and one-half the payoffs and refinance loans on a pick-up truck and a shrimp boat that belonged to the community, made with his separate funds after termination of the marriage. Under Louisiana law, for example, if your wife paid your car note, which presumably is separate property, from her separate funds, a divorce lawyer may inform her that she may be entitled to reimbursement.
In a nutshell, the trial court granted Lisa’s first claim for reimbursement for using separate funds to pay off the mortgage of Glenn’s separate property. However, the trial court denied Lisa’s second claim asserting that Lisa’s funds had been commingled with community funds and Lisa was unable to prove that all of the funds used to complete the improvement were her separate funds, or that the amount of Glenn’s earnings deposited into the account and used for the improvements was inconsequential. This can be a hard standard to prove for a divorce lawyer. The trial court granted Glenn’s first claim of reimbursement for one-half the amount of community funds used to make insurance payments on Lisa’s separate automobile. The trial court denied Glenn’s two additional claims.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal upheld the trial court’s judgment. Specifically, the Court stated that Lisa was not entitled to the interest of the mortgage payments since she benefited by living in Glenn’s separate property. When the community receives a benefit from separate property, the community is only entitled to reimbursement for principal only. So what does a divorce attorney take from this? In Louisiana, when a spouse uses separate property to pay off a community debt, that spouse is entitled to one-half reimbursement. This rule exhibits itself in this case.
When these situations present themselves, insight on the law to our clients serve both of us well. In all situations, a divorce attorney should not hide the ball from you and you should be informed on the status of your case.
The above is simply information on the law, no