In a divorce or legal separation, “marital property” is one term that is certain to arise during the legal proceedings. While simple in meaning, it may get confusing due to the many nuances attached to it.
To help you understand what the term means, here is a brief guide on how marital property is handled in Washington DC.
What is Marital Property?
Simply put, marital property refers to the assets that are jointly acquired by you and your spouse during your marriage. In these cases, The District of Columbia is common law territory. This means that in a divorce or legal separation proceeding, the assets are divided “fairly” rather than “equally”. As a DC divorce attorney would tell you, this is more commonly known as equitable distribution.
If either of you has assets that are solely in your name, then they are considered your sole property. This also holds true for inherited property.
However, property that has both of you listed as the owner is regarded as marital property.
How Property is Divided During Divorce?
You and your spouse can agree upon the distribution of marital property before your case goes in front of a judge and is presented by your divorce attorneys. This allows the judge to review your terms. It also speeds up the legal proceedings to a certain extent.
In cases where you are not able to agree upon your fair share of marital property, it falls on the judge to decide how to distribute the assets among you and your spouse.
What is Presumed Marital Property?
As defined above, in a common property territory such as the District of Columbia, marital property refers to assets that are jointly owned by two spouses.
Assets that were acquired during your marriage but not placed in the name of both spouses are not considered marital property. Only those assets that were jointly owned are presumed as such.
Why Hire a Divorce Attorney?
Even in cases where you and your spouse agree to the distribution of property, it is important to hire a divorce attorney so these findings can be presented to the judge accordingly.
In cases where either of you contests the terms of distribution presented by the other, enlisting the services of a DC divorce attorney becomes of the utmost importance. In such cases, you need strong legal representation to make your case to the judge.
At Barkat Law, we understand the toll the divorce process may take on you. As such, we make certain to minimize the stress of dealing with marital property. We help to simplify the process so you could get your rightful share of the assets.
If you are currently going through this difficult process and looking for a proficient DC divorce attorney, reach out to us today at 202-276-1167 and request your initial consultation.