LEGAL CORNER: Is it true that I can sue to rescind a sale of property in Louisiana if it was sold for less than half the market value?

LEGAL CORNER: Is it true that I can sue to rescind a sale of property in Louisiana if it is was sold for less than half the market value?

Submit your question to Civil matters only, please.

QUESTION: My driver's license was suspended for non-appearance in court in Baton Rouge for child support. When I asked how I was notified of my July court date that I missed I was told a voicemail message was left on a phone number they had for me, which was not the right number for me. She then had me to sign a paper and gave me a copy of it saying that I have an upcoming court date in December to resolve my child support issue and for me to make payment arrangements to get my driver's license back. I have an autistic child at home and I was told that a person with a disabled child in their household cannot be hindered from being able to drive. Is there anything I can do?

ANSWER: You should definitely follow the instructions given to you by the Department of Motor Vehicles and prepare for the upcoming court date in December to resolve your child support issue and make payment arrangements to get your driver's license back. A hardship driver's license is a restricted license issued by the Office of Motor Vehicles to someone whose driving privileges are under suspension. This type of license allows you to drive during the suspension for the purpose of earning a livelihood, for medical hardship, or for the necessities of life. You should check with the DMV for eligibility information.

It is the legislature's intent to facilitate the establishment of paternity and child support orders and encourage payment of child support to decrease overall costs to the state's taxpayers while increasing the amount of financial support collected for the state's children.  To this end, the courts of this state are authorized to suspend certain licenses of individuals who are found to be in contempt of court for failure to comply with a subpoena or warrant in a child support or paternity proceeding or who are not in compliance with a court order of child support. LA R.S. 9:315:30 et seq. Upon being presented with a court order of partial compliance and at the request of an obligor whose motor vehicle operator's license, permit, or privilege has been suspended under this Subpart, the office of motor vehicles may issue the obligor a temporary license valid for a period not to exceed one hundred twenty days. 9:315:34 B.(1)  Upon motion of an obligor who is in subsequent compliance with an order of support and after a contradictory hearing or upon rescission of an order of contempt, the court shall issue an order of compliance indicating that the obligor is eligible to have all licenses reissued.  In cases where the department is providing support enforcement services, the court shall issue an ex parte order of compliance upon filing of written certification by the department that the obligor is in compliance. (2) At the request of an obligor or other individual for whom an undue financial hardship will occur or has occurred as a result of the loss of his driver's license and upon a showing of good faith, the court may issue an order of partial compliance authorizing the issuance of a temporary license in accordance with R.S. 9:315.33(C).

QUESTION: My wife had to quit her job about two years ago and now she hasn't been able to find another. Even though I'm still working, I do not earn enough income to sustain the family. We're facing foreclosure on the family home. Under these circumstances, would it be wrong to borrow some money from our 10-year-old daughter's trust fund? She was hit by a car two years ago and she received a six-figure settlement from the driver's insurance company. The money is being held in trust for her until she turns 21, with my wife and me as trustees. 

ANSWER: Either parent may use the money in the trust for the child's education, support, and maintenance but only with prior court approval or except as otherwise provided by law.

Nevertheless, a parent may expend, without court approval, the fruits of the child's property, interest on the money, for the shared benefit of the family, excluding adult children not living in the household. LA CCA 230 et seq.

QUESTION: I sold property about eight months ago and recently I found out that it was worth three times the amount I received. Is it true that in Louisiana, if a property is sold for less than half of the market value at the time of sale, the seller can sue to rescind the sale for up to one year from the time of sale?

ANSWER: Yes it is true. The law states that the sale of an immovable, like property, may be rescinded for lesion, which is the injury suffered by someone who does not receive a full equivalent for what he gives in a commutative contract, but only if the price received is less than one half of the fair market value of the immovable. Lesion can be claimed only by the seller (and only in sales of corporeal immovables). It cannot be alleged in a sale made by order of the court. The seller may invoke lesion even if he has renounced the right to claim it. LA CCA Art. 2589

Disclaimer: The information furnished in this answer is general and may not apply to some situations. All legal situations are unique. No one should rely to their detriment on these answers. Anyone with a potential legal problem should seek the advice of a licensed attorney before taking any action or inaction. The answers provided are not intended to be specific legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is created between the SWLA Law Center and the viewers of KPLC-TV.

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