Law School Case Brief
McCann v. McCann - 2011-2434 ( La. 05/08/12), 93 So. 3d 544
The Louisiana Constitution allows for the granting of limited jurisdiction to the family courts, and the legislature has specified the parameters of that jurisdiction for the Family Court for the Parish of East Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13:1401. In La. Rev. Stat. 13:1401(A)(2)(a), the legislature vested the family court with exclusive jurisdiction over all actions between spouses and former spouses for partition of community property and property acquired pursuant to a matrimonial regime.
Plaintiff Rose McCann filed for divorce against defendant Walter McCann in the Family Court. A judgment granting the divorce granted, leaving the identification, valuation, management, and partition of the community property as the remaining issues in the case. Subsequently, Rose filed a petition for partition of community property in the Family Court. A short time later, Walter McCann died. Thereafter, a "Notice of Filing of Succession" was filed in the Family Court suit, stating that Walter McCann's succession had been opened in the 19th Judicial District Court under Probate Number 91,681. The succession executrix, Peggy Blackwell, Walter's daughter, filed a "Declinatory Exception of Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction and Motion to Transfer," seeking to have the partition action transferred to the 19th Judicial District Court. The Family Court overruled the exception and denied the motion to transfer. Blackwell, the succession executrix, sought further review.
Did the Family Court retain subject matter jurisdiction over a proceeding for partition of community property, where one of the former spouses died after partition was proceeding was instituted in the Family Court?
The court held, pursuant to La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13:1401(A)(2)(a), that the family court did not retain exclusive subject matter jurisdiction over a proceeding for partition of community property where one of the former spouses died after the partition proceeding was instituted in the family court. After the death of the ex-husband, the ex-wife's partition action was no longer an action to partition community property or property acquired pursuant to a matrimonial regime between former spouses; instead, it became an action to partition such movable and immovable property between the ex-wife and the succession legatees. Accordingly, the family court erred in overruling the succession executrix's exception of lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
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