The concept of marital property may become quite confusing in a jurisdiction like the District of Columbia. To help you understand it better, here’s what marital property could mean in Washington DC. Knowing this information would help you understand when to hire a DC divorce attorney to assist you during the process.
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. Washington, D.C. divides property using equitable distribution. This means that in a divorce or legal separation proceeding, the assets are divided “fairly” rather than “equally”. As a DC divorce lawyer would tell you, this process is not as simple as it may sound, and there are some important exceptions to what is considered marital property. If the property is inherited during the marriage but inherited only by one party that property is most likely exempt from equitable distribution. Also, retirement assets that were acquired prior to the marriage are separate, but the portion of retirement assets accrued during the marriage is marital.
Contrary to some other jurisdictions how property is titled is not dispositive in Washington, D.C. to determine whether it is marital or not.
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 can significantly speed up the legal proceedings.
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.
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 agreements can be written correctly, include the necessary terms, and if necessary presented to the court.
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.