LEGAL CORNER: If a couple has a prenuptial agreement, are both responsible for the other’s medical bills?

Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 12:51 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Legal Corner answers viewers’ civil legal questions.

QUESTION: A married couple has a properly executed prenuptial agreement. If one of the parties has medical bills or nursing home fees, is the other party responsible for the debt?

ANSWER: A prenuptial agreement is a written marriage contract entered into by a couple before marriage which sets out how they want their property owned and controlled. The agreement determines how the assets and debts of the spouses will be divided if they divorce or if a spouse dies. The prenuptial agreement becomes effective when the couple marries.

Prenuptial agreements are used to determine the property division and spousal support issues. By signing the prenuptial agreement, the spouses essentially waive all rights to file a partitioning or separation of property claim.

These contracts can also choose to protect one person from the other’s medical debt, especially if they know that large medical bills are on the horizon. Prenuptial agreements can insulate one spouse from potential debt and financial risk from the other spouse’s business.

Louisiana statutory law regarding matrimonial agreements:

  • La. C.C. Art. 2328. Contractual regime; matrimonial agreement: A matrimonial agreement is a contract establishing a regime of separation of property or modifying or terminating the legal regime. Spouses are free to establish by matrimonial agreement a regime of separation of property or modify the legal regime as provided by law. The provisions of the legal regime that have not been excluded or modified by agreement retain their force and effect.
  • La. C.C. ART. 2331 Form of matrimonial agreement: A matrimonial agreement may be executed by the spouses before or during marriage. It shall be made by authentic act or by an act under private signature duly acknowledged by the spouses.
  • La. C.C. Art. 2332. Effect toward third persons: A matrimonial agreement, or a judgment establishing a regime of separation of property is effective toward third persons as to immovable property, when filed for registry in the conveyance records of the parish in which the property is situated and as to movables when filed for registry in the parish or parishes in which the spouses are domiciled.

QUESTION: My rent payment was only one day late. Was my landlord required to accept my rent and not evict me? What are the steps for eviction?

ANSWER: The landlord was not required to accept the late rent payment.

Louisiana Civil Code article 4701 discusses the termination of lease, notice to vacate and waiver of notice.

When a lessee’s right of occupancy has ceased because of the termination of the lease by expiration of its term, action by the lessor, nonpayment of rent, or for any other reason, and the lessor wishes to obtain possession of the premises, the lessor or his agent shall cause written notice to vacate the premises to be delivered to the lessee. The notice shall allow the lessee not less than five days from the date of its delivery to vacate the leased premises.

If the lease has no definite term, the notice required by law for its termination shall be considered as a notice to vacate under this Article. If the lease has a definite term, notice to vacate may be given not more than thirty days before the expiration of the term.

A lessee may waive the notice requirements of this Article by written waiver contained in the lease, in which case, upon termination of the lessee’s right of occupancy for any reason, the lessor or his agent may immediately institute eviction proceedings in accordance with Chapter 2 of Title XI of the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure.

How To Evict A Tenant In Louisiana?

  • Step 1: Serve the appropriate notice
  • Step 2: File an eviction lawsuit
  • Step 3: Serve the rule for possession
  • Step 4: Attend the court hearing
  • Step 5: Removal of the tenant takes place

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