Property Division

Property division in D.C. and Maryland

Monetary Award and Equitable Distribution

In both D.C. and Maryland, upon the termination of marriage, the law provides for an equitable division of marital property between the parties. Marital property typically includes property and assets, including financial accounts, which are acquired by the parties during the marriage, with income earned during the marriage, or marital funds. The distribution of property and assets need not be “equal,” but rather “equitable,” where the courts are charged with considering a number of factors, including but not limited to the duration of the marriage, the age, health, and financial resources of each party, the family dynamic during the marriage, each party’s contributions to the marriage and the family, and the circumstances contributing to the termination of the marriage.

In the District of Columbia, D.C. Code § 16-910 provides that the court shall value and distribute marital property in a manner that is equitable, just, and reasonable. In Maryland, Md. Code, Fam. Law § 8-205 requires the courts to value the marital property, and then, with the exception of specific instances, adjust the equities and rights of the parties concerning the martial property by granting a monetary award to one party. In both jurisdictions, there are specific factors the courts are required to consider in arriving at the determination.

Tracing of Non-Marital Property

Non-marital property includes any property or assets acquired prior to the marriage, any property that was gifted to or inherited by an individual party, and/or any property that is traceable to these sources. In some cases, there may be a dispute as to whether certain assets are truly non-marital in nature. In such cases, in order to maintain your ownership of and interest in your non-marital assets you will need to trace the source of the funds used to acquire the property. The tracing may require the assistance of an expert, such as a forensic accountant, real estate appraiser, or other appropriate and qualified expert. Our attorneys are very experienced in assisting in such matters.

Business Valuations

Finally, in some cases, the parties’ assets may include ownership of or interest in a business, company, or corporation. Valuation of a business or a party’s interest in a business may also require the assistance of an expert. A business valuation expert will likely assist with determining the marital vs. non-marital nature of a party’s business interests, and further, will attribute a monetary value to the business and the party’s interest therein.

The attorneys at Brodsky, Renehan, Pearlstein & Bouquet have extensive experience handling cases with complex property and valuation issues. The attorneys are knowledgeable and well-versed in managing asset tracing, business valuations, and other property distribution and valuation matters.

Need Help?

If you are struggling with a family law issue in Maryland or D.C., contact us so we can have a conversation. Our attorneys can advise you on the way forward and, should you choose to retain our firm, help resolve the matter in the best possible manner.


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