Many married couples in the Washington, D.C., area work as a team to build their wealth and acquire property. However, the more property you have accumulated as a couple, the more difficult it is to divide up the property between you if you get divorced.
Divorcing couples in Washington, D.C., should know that the courts will not necessarily divide the marital property equally between spouses. Instead, the judge will consider several factors to decide how to distribute the marital assets fairly and equitably in your divorce.
Determining marital property
The property division process often begins with determining which assets are considered marital property. Generally, property that was obtained during the marriage and/or was obtained with marital funds will be considered marital property and will be subject to the equitable distribution process. Property solely owned or financed by one spouse will generally go with that spouse in the divorce.
However, some property starts out as a separate property and becomes marital property over time. For example, if one spouse purchases a vehicle prior to the marriage, but the couple uses marital funds to make car payments and pay for repairs, the vehicle has now become marital property.
Factors that impact property division
Once the court has classified which property is marital property, the court will determine how to split the assets by considering several factors. Some of these factors include:
- How long the marriage lasted.
- Each spouse’s income and earning capacity.
- Each spouse’s education and job skills.
- Debts incurred by each spouse individually.
- Each spouse’s contributions (financial and non-financial) to the marriage.
You may have specific assets that you hope to walk away with once everything has been finalized. A family law attorney specializing in these matters can help make these things a priority in your divorce.