Division of Assets in D.C.
Getting the division of assets split in a divorce isn’t easy.
Who gets the house? Is my spouse entitled to my 401K? How do we divide up the family business?
Understanding the laws, and what you’re entitled to, can be confusing and frustrating. If you and your spouse are having difficulty figuring out how to divide up your assets and debts in your divorce, contact Lopez Law today for a consultation.
What Is Equitable Division of Assets?
In most cases, courts seek an equitable not equal division of assets and debts. This means that the items to be split between the parties are divided up based on several conditions rather than straight down the middle.
Some of the conditions that are considered in equitable division of assets include:
- The length of the marriage
- The age and health of the parties
- Income of the parties
- Value of community property (property acquired during the marriage)
- Value of separate property (property acquired before the marriage)
- Community debt
- Separate debt
- Prenuptial agreements
- Contribution to the acquisition or value of the property
In cases, for example, where the income-earning capabilities of the parties is wildly disproportionate, employment prospects for one party are not likely, or one party has significant health issues, it can impact how much of the marital assets are given to each party.
Additionally, one spouse bringing significant separate property into the marriage may mean they receive fewer community assets than the other spouse.
What Is Separate Property?
Separate property is anything that was individually inherited by one party, something received as a gift by just one spouse, or property brought into the marriage by one spouse or another.
This property must remain in the owning spouse’s name alone, so if something was switched during the marriage to be titled in both parties’ names, it becomes community property.
Additionally, if the property increased in value during the marriage, that increase in value can be divided as a piece of community property.
What Assets Are Divided in Divorce?
The specific assets to be divided during the divorce process depend greatly on what the divorcing couple has.
Some commonly divided assets include:
- Cash and bank accounts
- Retirement accounts
- Frequent flier miles
- Real estate
- Vehicles, including boats, RVs, etc.
- Personal property
- Household items
- Investments, such as 401Ks and stocks
Understanding what is subject to division and what isn’t can be tricky.
Courts divide all property into marital property and non-marital property.
Marital property is anything invested or acquired during the marriage. All marital property is subject to division in a divorce.
This includes things such as gains on investments, interest earned on savings accounts, and all property purchased by the couple.
Things get a little more tricky when talking about non-marital property.
Technically, non-marital property is anything acquired before the marriage, as well as any inheritances or gifts given directly to one spouse or the other.
However, some non-marital property also can count among the split of marital property if resources were spent during the marriage to increase the value of that asset.
For example, if one spouse purchased a home prior to the marriage, that could be considered non-marital property. If, however, the couple contributed jointly to maintaining the property during the marriage, such as paying the mortgage, fixing it up, and paying taxes, portions of the value of the house can be considered marital property and eligible for division.
Hiring an attorney to determine the correct division of assets between a couple can be the difference between getting what you deserve in your divorce and losing out on a major asset due to misunderstanding the laws.
Your Experienced Attorney for Division of Assets in Washington, D.C.
If you and your soon-to-be-ex are having difficulty dividing up your assets, or you just want someone to make sure that what you’ve decided is above board, the team at Lopez Law can help. Schedule your consultation today!