Dividing Assets And Debts During Divorce

Divorce touches very personal aspects of your life — including your finances. During the property division process, it is easy for disputes to erupt and the process to turn contentious. Litigation often only fuels the fire.

I am attorney Andrea Hirsch. It is my true belief that the best solutions are those that are focused on the family. When possible, I use out-of-court methods, such as negotiation and settlement. I also provide collaborative law and mediation services. However, if litigation is necessary to protect your property interests, I will go to court.

Dividing Marital Property

During a divorce, one shared life becomes two. This process involves dividing the assets and debts accumulated during the marriage. Property division involves three steps:

First, identifying all marital assets.

Money and properties accumulated during the marriage are typically considered marital assets. However, this is not always the case. Property owned before marriage and inheritances and gifts acquired during marriage, if kept in separate accounts, may not be part of the marital estate. However, the process is rarely this straightforward.

What happens if one spouse owned a home before the marriage, but the other spouse's income has gone toward the mortgage? What if an inheritance was used to remodel a jointly held home?

Determining which assets are separate versus marital requires careful analysis. My more than 30 years of practice have made me skilled at this process. I will carefully trace all of your, and your spouse's, assets to determine which are marital and which are separate properties.

Second, valuing the assets.

Once all marital assets have been identified, they must be valued. This process can become complex when businesses, sophisticated investments or other income-producing properties are involved. When necessary, I work with financial, real estate and business experts to ensure an accurate valuation is placed on each marital asset.

Third, dividing the assets.

Under Washington, D.C., and Maryland law, property is to be divided based on what is most equitable. This does not mean a 50-50 division. Instead, the court evaluates a variety of factors, then divides marital assets based on what it deems fair.

Contact The Law Firm Of Andrea Hirsch

If you are contemplating, or currently going through, divorce, contact me. During your first meeting, I will explain your financial and property rights and responsibilities to you, then help you choose the best path for your family. Call 202-480-2160. Initial consultations are free.