Understanding the difference between Separate Property and Marital Property will help you in dividing all of your property in a DC Divorce.
It may be a surprise to learn that all property acquired after you marry is considered “marital property,” even if you have bank accounts, investment accounts, cars, etc. titled in your sole name. The exceptions to this include inheritance and gifts received during your marriage that are generally considered separate property. However, this can be complicated, so it is best to discuss with a DC Divorce attorney to understand your specific situation.
Do you have a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement that resolves most property issues?
Unless you have a valid Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement that treats marital and separate property differently, under the law, any property acquired by you or your spouse during your marriage is marital property in DC, including:
- Real estate
- Bank accounts
- Retirement assets
- Earnings from work, etc.
Sometimes an asset is partly marital and partly separate property, this is especially true of retirement accounts and pension plans because you may have contributed to these accounts before you were married.
You may have commingled assets, for example, separate funds that are transferred into a joint account. Generally, these funds become marital property, but there are exceptions that you will want to discuss with a DC Divorce Lawyer.
The process of a DC divorce and property division is complex, and you want to be sure you understand your rights before making an agreement dividing your marital assets.
It is always best to consult an experienced Washington, DC divorce attorney, so you know your rights and understand what you are entitled to when you separate. It is important to do this in a timely manner since your assets continue to accumulate as marital property through the date of your divorce. If you negotiate a settlement out of court you can agree to a different date to value your assets and also make a different division of your assets. You can decide to each keep all assets in your own name or a hybrid division where some assets are separate, and some are marital.
Once you determine what DC property is marital and what is separate, then a determination is made by you and your spouse (or the court if you do not settle the issues through a Marital Settlement Agreement) as to what a fair (equitable) division of your property should be. There are many factors that are considered in determining an equitable division and are available to read in the D.C. Code.