Kristi Gustavson, CEO

In Louisiana, the contract of marriage automatically creates a community of property unless the married parties enter into a prenuptial agreement stating otherwise.  In this regime generally all property acquired by the spouses during the marriage is community property.  (There are a number of exceptions to this general rule which I will not describe for the sake of brevity.)  Although a couple may not be thinking in contractual terms while standing at the altar, they are entering into an unspoken agreement of community in which both spouses work together to support their newly created family.

I find it interesting we refer to marriage and marital property as a community. Traditionally we think of community as a group of people who live in the same area such as a city, town or neighborhood.  Community is also defined, however, as a group of people who have the same or similar interests.  To own something in community means to own it jointly.

Ideally spouses support one another in pursuit of their common goals through a division of duties and collaboration.  I know, I know … cue the jokes about who takes out the trash versus who does housework here.  Jokes aside, without both parts of the whole, the whole could not exist.

While we may not sign a legally binding document, the concept of community exists in many other realms of our lives.  Think about your workplace.  In any work setting there is no doubt employees must collaborate to work towards a common, well-defined goal.  If a company makes and sells widgets, each employee must have clearly defined jobs to ensure the efficient and effective production of the final widget product.  One employee may build the widget, another may procure a contract with a buyer to sell the widget, and another may deliver the widget.  Each role is unique and necessary to the process.

Now think more broadly about your neighborhood, your city, your state.  As a citizen of a neighborhood, a city, and a country, what is my unique part to play?  What are the common goals of my community and how best can I help advance those goals?  Of course, there is no handbook or set of instructions that tell us precisely how to be a good neighbor or a good citizen.  Frankly, I do not think there is one right answer but rather hundreds of ways to be a meaningful participant in one’s community.