DC Divorce lawyer Carolyn Goodman answers questions about separation and how marital property is divided in divorce.
How long do I have to be separated to work on a Separation Agreement or Marital Settlement Agreement?
There is no requirement to be separated for a specific period of time to work on a Marital Settlement Agreement. You can start work on settling the issues resulting from your marriage as soon as you separate (even if under the same roof).
How long do I have to be separated to file for a divorce?
You have to be separated continuously (even if separated under the same roof), either mutually and voluntarily for six months or one year if the separation is not mutual and voluntary.
What happens to my inheritance or funds gifted to me during my marriage?
As long as you have kept your inheritance and/or gift funds or property separate during your marriage, these assets will remain separate property. If they have been commingled with marital assets, a determination will have to be made as to how to treat these assets as part of the settlement of the other financial issues. It is best to speak with an experienced DC divorce lawyer so you can discuss your rights.
Do I need to have a DC divorce lawyer to get divorced?
You are not required to have a lawyer represent you in a divorce. However, it is best to obtain legal advice from a DC divorce lawyer before doing so. You may need to have a written settlement agreement drafted to protect all of your rights. Speak with a DC divorce lawyer so you know your rights and obligations.
How will our property be divided?
Your property will be divided in an equitable (fair) manner. Many times, it is divided equally, but there are circumstances where it may not be fair to do so. A divorce attorney can provide advice on reaching an equitable division of marital assets.
What happens to my retirement in divorce?
Generally, unless you have a Prenuptial Agreement that says otherwise, all retirement assets accumulated during your marriage are treated as marital property subject to being divided along with other marital assets. The pre-marital portion (amount you had on the date of your marriage) along with the gain on the pre-marital portion would be your separate property.