Marital property includes debts and assets that were acquired during the marriage. Assets might include homes or other real estate, retirement plan benefits, and personal property (such as furniture, cars, or bank accounts). Debts might include student loans, credit card debts, and taxes. In D.C., it does not matter whose name is on the title, nor does it matter if only one spouse paid for the property.
In D.C., anything that is not marital property is separate property. Separate property is property one spouse owned before marriage and kept separate all during the marriage. Separate property also includes any gifts or inheritances received from others during the marriage that were given to one spouse alone.
Unless you and your spouse reach an agreement regarding marital property, the judge will divide and distribute the martial property “in a manner that is equitable, just and reasonable.” Equitable does not necessarily mean equal. The law requires the judge to consider “all relevant factors” when dividing and distributing marital property. Some relevant factors may include how long the marriage lasted, each spouse’s needs, or a spouse’s financial obligations to other children.