Washington, D.C. Lawyer Seeks Fair Property Division Terms for Divorcing Spouses
Experienced attorney advises on equitable distribution issues
During the divorce process, marital assets that have been accumulated since your wedding must be divided between you and your spouse. If consensus cannot be reached on how to allocate assets and debts, Washington, D.C. and Maryland courts make this determination based on the principle of equitable distribution. This means that the judge decides what is fair and the result does not have to be a 50/50 split in value. At the Law Offices of Jesse A. Gadson, PLLC, I am an experienced attorney who provides knowledgeable advice on property division issues and other aspects of the divorce process.
Marital assets subject to division upon divorce
In a divorce, only marital property is divided between the spouses. This refers to assets acquired during the marriage regardless of which spouse was individually responsible for bringing the asset into the household. Separate property, such as items owned by one spouse prior to the marriage and inheritances left to one spouse, typically remain with that spouse. All types of assets are subject to equitable distribution, such as:
- Case and investment accounts
- Pensions, IRAs, 401(k) accounts and other retirement benefits
- Military benefits
- Ownership shares of a business
- Real estate, including the marital residence, vacation homes and investment properties
- Works of art, furniture and antiques
- Family vehicles
Whenever possible, my firm works to reach a settlement that satisfies both parties, but in some cases it can be difficult to bridge the gap, particularly when high net worth couples break up. I provide effective representation during negotiations and can advise you of the effect that a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement might have on your property distribution terms.
Factors used by courts in equitable distribution decisions
A judge can examine any relevant information when considering a property division order. Factors that frequently come into play include:
- Each spouse’s contribution to the family, which can include income earned outside the home, as well as who took care of the household and children
- Age and earning ability of each party
- Duration of the marriage
- Parenting and living arrangements
- Any alimony that is being awarded
As a seasoned family law attorney, I can review your situation and advise you about the factors that might matter most to the judge in your case. From there, I will advocate for a resolution that recognizes what you have contributed to the marriage and creates a sound financial foundation as you start the next chapter in your life.
Dividing marital debts and business assets
Along with marital assets, debts that have been acquired over the course of marriage must also be divided when a couple’s legal union is terminated. In many situations, the largest debt is the mortgage on the marital home. If one spouse is to maintain the marital home, the other might be required to provide funding for mortgage payments. During an equitable distribution analysis, courts can look at whether one party spent marital funds without the other’s knowledge, which might lead to the entire amount being assigned to the party who ran up the debt. Business assets often draw special scrutiny, because if one spouse is primarily involved in the company’s operation, the judge might choose to keep the entire ownership share with them.
Contact a Washington, D.C. divorce attorney to discuss property division terms
The Law Offices of Jesse A. Gadson, PLLC in Washington, D.C. assists divorcing clients in the District and Maryland with the division of marital property and other financial matters. To make an appointment for a consultation, please call 202-972-1343 or contact me online.