Love, Loyalty and the Louisiana Civil Code: Rules, Standards and Hybrid Discretion in a Mixed Jurisdiction

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References
  • 17)

    Sullivansupra note 1 at 58.

  • 19)

    Sullivansupra note 1 at 58 n. 232; Kennedy supra note 1 at 1687–88.

  • 20)

    La. Civ. Code art. 28 (2011).

  • 21)

    La. Civ. Code art. 29 (2011).

  • 24)

    Sullivansupra note 1 at 58 nn. 231–32.

  • 26)

    Sullivansupra note 1 at 59.

  • 27)

    Morrowsupra note 25 at 16.

  • 28)

    Sullivansupra note 1 at 63 n. 259; see also Rose supra note 1 at 591 (citing Frank Easterbrook The Supreme Court 1983 Term—Foreword: The Court and the Economic System 98 Harv. L. Rev. 4 10–11 19–21 (1984)).

  • 30)

    Atiyahsupra note 1 at 1249–50; Rose supra note 1 at 592 (explaining that ex ante oriented rules encourage people “to plan and to act carefully knowing that no judicial cavalry will ride to their rescue later”).

  • 31)

    Sullivansupra note 1 at 58–59.

  • 33)

    Atiyahsupra note 1 at 1250–51.

  • 34)

    Rosesupra note 1 at 579–80 590–95.

  • 35)

    La. Civ. Code art. 366 (2011) (emphasis added) revised by Act No. 786 2008 La. Acts 2977 2978–79.

  • 36)

    La. Civ. Code art. 366 (2011).

  • 38)

    La. Civ. Code art. 367 (2011) revised by Act No. 786 2008 La. Acts 2977 2979–80.

  • 39)

    La. Civ. Code art. 368 (2011) revised by Act No. 786 2008 La. Acts 2977 2980.

  • 40)

    La. Civ. Code art. 1923 (2011).

  • 41)

    Morrowsupra note 25 at 17–18.

  • 42)

    La. Civ. Code art. 1759 (2011).

  • 43)

    La. Civ. Code art. 1983 (2011).

  • 44)

    La. Civ. Code art. 667 (2011).

  • 45)

    La. Civ. Code art. 2315 (2011).

  • 46)

    Sullivansupra note 1 at 59.

  • 50)

    La. Civ. Code art. 1923 (2011).

  • 52)

    Rosesupra note 1 at 610.

  • 55)

    Rosesupra note 1 at 592 601–02; Sullivan supra note 1 at 62–63.

  • 57)

    Rosesupra note 1 at 591.

  • 58)

    Sullivansupra note 1 at 63.

  • 59)

    Rosesupra note 1 at 599–600; Sullivan supra note 1 at 63 66.

  • 60)

    Rosesupra note 1 at 597–600 (drawing on James Gordley Equality in Exchange 69 Calif. L. Rev. 1587 (1981)); Sullivan supra note 1 at 63 66.

  • 61)

    Rosesupra note 1 at 600.

  • 65)

    Sullivansupra note 1 at 63–66.

  • 68)

    La. Civ. Code art. 86 (2011) (“Marriage is a legal relationship between a man and woman that is created by civil contract.”).

  • 70)

    La. Civ. Code art. 88 (2011) (“A married person may not contract another marriage.”). Had either Esther or Louis been legally married to someone else at the time they entered into their marriage this putative marriage would have continued to produce legal effects for the other party “regardless of whether the latter remains in good faith until the marriage is pronounced null or the latter party contracts a valid marriage.” La. Civ. Code art. 96 (2011). This important provision on the civil effects of the most common occurrence of a putative marriage itself takes the form of a crystalline rule and avoids any judicial inquiry into the other party’s state of mind.

  • 71)

    La. Civ. Code art. 89 (2011) (“Persons of the same sex may not contract marriage with each other.”).

  • 72)

    La. Civ. Code art. 90 (2011) (prohibiting marriage between ascendants and descendants and collaterals within the fourth degree whether of whole or half blood related by consanguinity or adoption).

  • 75)

    La. Civ. Code art. 91 (2011). If for some reason Esther and Louis’s minister friend Theo was not properly qualified to perform marriages Esther and Louis could have remedied this defect by going to City Hall presenting a valid marriage license or obtaining a new one and then waiting three days for a judge or justice of the peace to marry them. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 9:241 (Supp. 2011). Even this three-day waiting period could have been waived for “serious and meritorious reasons.” La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 9:242.

  • 78)

    La. Civ. Code art. 2404 (1870) repealed by Act No. 709 1979 La. Acts 1857 1857; Camel v. Waller 526 So.2d 1086 1090–91 (La. 1988).

  • 79)

    La. Civ. Code art. 98 (2011).

  • 80)

    La. Civ. Code art. 99 (2011).

  • 81)

    La. Civ. Code art. 2346 (2011).

  • 82)

    La. Civ. Code art. 2347 (2011).

  • 84)

    La. Civ. Code arts. 23282329 & 2370 (2011).

  • 85)

    La. Civ. Code art. 2371 (2011).

  • 89)

    La. Civ. Code art. 2327 (2011).

  • 90)

    La. Civ. Code art. 2335 (2011).

  • 91)

    La. Civ. Code art. 2336 (2011).

  • 92)

    La. Civ. Code art. 2338 (2011). Conversely if income is paid during the existence of the community for work performed before the community was created it will be separate property. Katherine S. Spaht & Richard D. Moreno Matrimonial Regimes § 3.3 at n. 1 and accompanying text in 16 Louisiana Civil Law Treatise (3d ed. 2007).

  • 93)

    Spaht & Morenosupra note 92 § 3.2.

  • 95)

    La. Civ. Code art. 2338 (2011).

  • 96)

    La. Civ. Code art. 2340 (2011). Although the spouse seeking to rebut this presumption and establish the existence of separate property bears the burden of proof this burden can be met when there is clear evidence for instance that immovable property held in the name of both spouses was in fact purchased by paid for and maintained by one of the spouse’s parents for his own interest and that of his children. Hoover v. Hoover 62 So. 3d 765 770–71 (La. Ct. App. 1st 2011).

  • 97)

    La. Civ. Code art. 2341 (2011).

  • 100)

    La. Civ. Code art. 2344 (2011). See Spaht & Moreno supra note 92 §§ 3.20–3.26 at 154–72 for details on the allocation of personal injury awards and their various elements.

  • 101)

    La. Civ. Code art. 2356 (2011).

  • 102)

    La. Civ. Code art. 2369.8 (2011) (providing for right to demand “partition of former community property at any time”). For more on community property partition upon divorce see infra notes 119–34 and accompanying text.

  • 104)

    Spaht & Morenosupra note 92 § 3.1 at 71 (characterizing the Civil Code’s community property classification scheme as “a relatively simple one that has not changed substantially in modern times”).

  • 108)

    La. Civ. Code arts. 103 103.1 (2011).

  • 122)

    Spaht & Morenosupra note 92 § 7.26 at 688–89. Section 9:2801 only applies to partitions of community property between spouses. The general rules of partition govern the partition of former community property owned in indivision by one former spouse and heirs or legatees of the other. In re Sessions 23 So. 3d 954 959 (La. Ct. App. 1st 2009).

  • 123)

    Spaht & Morenosupra note 92 § 7.26 at 688.

  • 135)

    La. Civ. Code arts. 111 112 (2011); Allen v. Allen 648 So. 2d. 359 361 (La. 1994) (“Although no-fault divorce is now available freedom from fault is still necessary for permanent alimony.”).

  • 136)

    La. Civ. Code art. 111 cmt. c (2011). See also La. Civ. Code art. 138 (1870) (Compiled Edition 1978) (listing prior grounds for separation from bed and board); La. Civ. Code art. 160 (1870) (Compiled Edition 1978); Allen 648 So. 2d at 362. The requirement of freedom from fault at the time a divorce proceeding is commenced is a classic hybrid legal directive. The temporal requirement of freedom from fault before the divorce petition is filed is rule-like. But the determination of the existence of “fault” requires both objective fact-finding and subjective value judgments. See e.g. Allen 648 So. 2d at 362–63; Diggs v. Diggs 6 So. 3d 1030 1032–33 (La. Ct. App. 3d 2009); Lowe supra note 86 § 8:164 at 823–24 (discussing pre-1997 jurisprudence on lifestyle). For a detailed discussion of other fault grounds see Lowe supra note 86 §§ 8:165–8:173.

  • 141)

    La. Civ. Code art. 112(A) (2011).

  • 142)

    La. Civ. Code art. 112(B) (2011).

  • 143)

    La. Civ. Code art. 112(C) (2011).

  • 151)

    La. Civ. Code art. 114 (2011).

  • 155)

    La. Civ. Code art. 115 (2011).

  • 159)

    La. Civ. Code art. 121 (2011). This cause of action entered the Civil Code as article 161 as enacted by Act 780 of 1986 but is now entrenched in the Revised Civil Code. Id. cmt. a.

  • 162)

    Clemons v. Clemons 960 So. 2d 10681074 (La. Ct. App. 2d 2007); Bourgeois v. Bourgeois 818 So. 2d 1005 (La. Ct. App. 1st 2002).

  • 163)

    La. Civ. Code art. 121 (2011).

  • 167)

    La. Civ. Code art. 131 (2011). Revised article 131 does not change the law but it simplifies the language used in previous iterations of the Civil Code. The drafters of the current version of the article state that the “best interest” principle dates back at least as far as 1921 when article 157 of the 1870 Civil Code was amended by Acts 1921 First Exec. Sess. No. 38. La. Civ. Code art. 131 cmt. a (2011). In fact this concept dates back to the earliest Civil Codes of Louisiana and to the Code Napoleon all of which essentially provided that in cases of separation or divorce children shall be placed under the care of the party who obtained the separation or divorce “unless the judge shall for the greater advantage of the children and with the advice of the meeting of the family order that some or all of them shall be intrusted to the care of the other party.” La. Civ. Code art. 157 (1870); see also La. Civ. Code art. 153 (1825); Digest of 1808 34 art. 19; Code civil art. 302 (Fr.) (1804).

  • 168)

    La. Civ. Code art. 132 (2011).

  • 170)

    La. Civ. Code art. 132 (2011).

  • 172)

    La. Civ. Code art. 132 (2011).

  • 173)

    La. Civ. Code art. 133 (2011). This last judicial custody option is probably irrelevant to Esther and Louis but is important when both parents suffer from drug or alcohol abuse problems or if there are other significant threats to the child’s well being from parental custody. See e.g. Wilson v. Paul 997 So. 2d 572 574–75 (La. Ct. App. 3d 2008) (affirming temporary custody award to grandparents based on parents’ drug abuse and child’s frequent absences from school and stomach aches).

  • 182)

    Lowesupra note 86 § 7:58 at 443–46. See also id. § 7:59 at 446 (noting that if the domiciliary parent’s decision is presumed correct the right to contest it “provides little relief”). But see Bergeron v. Bergeron 6 So. 3d 948 958–959 (La. Ct. App. 2d 2009) (overturning domiciliary parent’s unilateral decision to change children’s school where children were doing well at prior school domiciliary parent failed to show new school would be better and failed to consult with father before proposing change).

  • 190)

    Gray v. Gray 65 So. 3d 124712501258 (La. 2011). The complex procedural and factual history in Gray demonstrates that relocation disputes are far from simple matters. The complexity here arose in part from the fact that the father who was requesting the relocation had previously obtained an order allowing him to relocate to Alabama. The wife was effectively seeking to re-litigate that earlier order in contesting the proposed relocation to Kansas. Id. at 1255–56. The Louisiana Supreme Court held that the trial court erred in effectively reconsidering the prior decision allowing relocation outside of Louisiana. Id. at 1257–58. On the second issue the court held that Revised Statutes section 9:355.11 does not create an exception to the heavy burden of proof established in Bergeron v. Bergeron 492 So. 2d 1193 (La. 1986) for a party seeking to modify a considered custody decree. Gray 65 So. 3d at 1258–60.

  • 195)

    La. Civ. Code art. 141 (2011).

  • 196)

    La. Civ. Code art. 142 (2011).

  • 202)

    Spahtsupra note 198 at 717–18 (explaining how an income shares child support model works in general); see also La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 9:315.2 315.3 315.8 and 315.19–20 (2008 and Supp. 2011) (conforming with Spaht’s explanation).

  • 205)

    La. Civ. Code art. 141 cmt. d (2011).

  • 219)

    La. Civ. Code art. 797 (2011).

  • 227)

    La. Civ. Code art. 802 (2011).

  • 230)

    La. Civ. Code art. 798 (2011). A co-owner who contributes his own labor or services to the production of fruits or products is not entitled to claim compensation under the law of co-ownership but may be entitled to compensation under the law of unjust enrichment. Id. cmt. c.

  • 231)

    La. Civ. Code art. 807 (2011). An agreement between co-owners excluding partition cannot last more than 15 years. Id.

  • 232)

    La. Civ. Code art. 817 (2011). The only non-contractual limit on a co-owner’s exit right is that “[p]artition of a thing held in indivision is excluded when its use is indispensible for the enjoyment of another thing owned by one or more of the co-owners.” La. Civ. Code art. 808 (2011).

  • 234)

    La. Civ. Code art. 804 (2011).

  • 235)

    La. Civ. Code art. 801 (2011). This interpretation of article 801 depends on reading it in pari materia with article 802’s statement that “[e]xcept as otherwise provided in Article 801 a co-owner is entitled to use the thing held in indivision according to its destination …” La. Civ. Code art. 802 (2011) (emphasis added). See also Symeonides & Martin supra note 228 at 117–19 124–25 (linking articles 801 and 802 for purposes of applying the unanimity principle to acts of use and management other than those consistent with the destination of the property and acts of conservation). Imagine for example if a co-owner of a house sought to change its use from owner occupancy to a rental unit or a bed and breakfast. He would need his fellow co-owners’ unanimous consent even if no physical alterations were required.

  • 236)

    La. Civ. Code art. 805 (2011). See also Bruscato v. Oswalt 975 So. 2d 120 125 (La. Ct. App. 2d 2008) (recognizing subtle distinction between leasing an entire co-owned thing and one co-owner’s share in indivision in context of dispute over payment of monthly fee paid by one attorney to another attorney who co-owned a building with a third attorney).

  • 239)

    Harrellsupra note 228 at 386–88.

  • 242)

    Symmeonides & Martinsupra note 228 at 113 (citing A.N. Yiannopoulos Personal Servitudes §3 at 6 in 3 Louisiana Civil Law Treatise (3d ed. 1989)).

  • 243)

    La. Civ. Code art. 800 (2011).

  • 244)

    La. Civ. Code art. 806 (2011).

  • 248)

    La. Civ. Code art. 803 (2011).

  • 251)

    La. Civ. Code art. 810 (2011).

  • 253)

    La. Civ. Code art. 1493(A) (2011) (providing that forced heirs are “descendants of the first degree who at the time of the death of the decedent are twenty-three years of age or younger or descendants of the first degree of any age who because of mental incapacity or physical infirmity are permanently incapable of taking care of their persons or administering their estates at the time of the death of the decedent”).

  • 254)

    La. Civ. Code art. 1497 (2011) (“If there is no forced heir donations inter vivos and mortis causa may be made to the whole amount of the property of the donor saving the reservation made hereafter.”).

  • 256)

    La. Civ. Code art. 1495 (2011) (specifying amounts of forced and disposable portions). If Louis had been survived by only one forced heir the forced portion would have only been one quarter of his estate. Id. Thus for example if Louis had died when Talia was 24 but Joshua was only 22 Joshua would have been legally entitled to one fourth of Louis’s estate while Talia could claim nothing.

  • 259)

    Loriosupra note 255 at 186–98.

  • 260)

    La. Civ. Code art. 1475 (1870); La. Civ. Code art. 1472 (1870).

  • 261)

    La. Civ. Code art. 1477 (2011) (“To have the capacity to make a donation inter vivos or mortis causa a person must also be able to comprehend generally the nature and consequences of the disposition that he is making.”).

  • 262)

    La. Civ. Code art. 1492 (1870). Article 1492 of the 1870 Code replicated article 1479 of the 1825 Civil Code and an identical provision in the Digest of 1808. La. Civ. Code art. 1492 (West Compiled ed. 1978). Thus the Civil Code’s ban on evidence of suggestion and capitation was unchanged from 1808 until its repeal in 1989 when the legislature specified that the only persons who could claim the status of forced heir were individuals 23 years old and younger and those of any age who have been interdicted or are subject to interdiction because of mental incapacity or physical infirmity. See Lorio supra note 255 at 196; Katherine Spaht Kathryn Lorio Cynthia Picou Cynthia Samuel & Frederick Swaim The New Forced Heirship Legislation: A Regrettable “Revolution” 50 La. L. Rev. 409 452–74 (1990).

  • 270)

    Act No. 788 1989 La. Acts 22102211; Act No. 147 1990 La. Acts 474 476–77. Both acts were declared unconstitutional in Succession of Lauga 624 So. 2d 1156 (La. 1993). See Lorio supra note 255 at 196–99 (discussing the detailed provisions of the 1989 and 1990 Acts and the Louisiana Supreme Court’s invalidating decision in Lauga).

  • 272)

    La. Civ. Code art. 1479 (2011) enacted by Act No. 363 1991 La. Acts 1284 1293.

  • 273)

    Scalisesupra note 263 at 50–53; Hall v. Hall (1868) 1 LRP&D (Ct. Prob. & Divorce) (U.K.); Thomas E. Atkinson Handbook of the Law of Wills 256 (2d ed. 1953).

  • 274)

    La. Civ. Code art. 1483 (2011).

  • 277)

    Succession of Fisher 970 So. 2d 10481055–56 (La. Ct. App. 1st 2007); Succession of Braud 646 So. 2d 1168 1172 (La. Ct. App. 4th 1994).

  • 282)

    La. Civ. Code art. 1479 cmt. b (2011).

  • 296)

    Scalisesupra note 263 at 44–53.

  • 299)

    Spahtsupra note 255 at 649.

  • 303)

    Succession of Cooper 830 So. 2d 10871088–891091–93 (La. Ct. App. 2d 2002).

  • 309)

    Succession of Fisher 970 So. 2d 10481055–56 (La. Ct. App. 1st 2007).

  • 310)

    Succession of Braud 646 So. 2d 11681171–73 (La. App. 4th 1994). In this case it may have been material that neither the petitioner nor the legatees under the earlier wills were persons who would have been forced heirs. Id. at 1168–69.

  • 319)

    Leo Tolstoy Anna Karenina 1 (1877) (Oxford Univ. Press 1998).

  • 323)

    Succession of Fisher 970 So. 2d 10481055–56 (La. Ct. App. 1st 2007) (caretaker); Succession of Pardue 915 So. 2d 415 417 425–26 (La. Ct. App. 2d 2005) (handyman).

  • 326)

    Sullivansupra note 1 at 61–62.

  • 327)

    Scalisesupra note 363 at 82–86; Lorio supra note 255 at 181–195; Spaht supra note 255 at 640–42.

  • 329)

    La. Civ. Code art. 2432 (2011). See also La. Civ. Code. art. 2434 (2011) (establishing the quantum of the marital portion with rule-like precision). But also note that the determination of whether a spouse dies rich in comparison with a surviving spouse under article 2432 is not subject to any bright line test. See Succession of Firmin 38 So. 3d 445 447–48 (La. Ct. App. 4th 2010) (finding surviving spouse did not prove her husband died rich in comparison to her).

  • 330)

    Scalisesupra note 263 at 58–59.

  • 332)

    La. Civ. Code art. 1483 (2011); supra notes 274–84 306–18 and accompanying text.

  • 337)

    Palmersupra note 64 at 3 (discussing reform efforts under way in other states).

  • 338)

    Whittysupra note 7 at 303; Atiyah supra note 1 at 1271.

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