District of Columbia Property Division Factors

Washington D.C. is an "equitable distribution" jurisdiction. If there is no valid property distribution agreement, each spouse retains his or her separate property (acquired before the marriage or acquired during the marriage by gift or inheritance) and any increase in such separate property and any property acquired in exchange for such separate property. All other property, regardless of how title is held, shall be divided equitably and reasonably, based on relevant factors, including: (1) the contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the marital property, including the contribution of each spouse as homemaker; (2) the length of the marriage; (3) the occupation of the spouses; (4) the vocational skills of the spouses; (5) the employability of the spouses; (6) the estate, liabilities, and needs of each spouse and the opportunity of each for further acquisition of capital assets and income; (7) the assets and debts of the spouses; (8) any prior marriage of each spouse; (9) whether the property award is instead of or in addition to alimony; (10) any custodial provisions for the children; (11) the age and health of the spouses; and (12) the amount and sources of income of the spouses. The conduct of the spouses during the marriage is not a factor for consideration. [District of Columbia Code Annotated; Title 16, Chapter 9, Section 910].

When dividing property in divorce, the first step is to determine what property is considered marital. Since District of Columbia is an "Equitable Distribution" state, all marital property will be divided in an equitable fashion according to the court unless agreed to otherwise by the divorcing spouses. What does "equitable" mean? Equitable can be defined as "what is fair, not necessarily equal." To automatically believe the marital property would be divided 50-50 would be a wrong assumption in any equitable distribution state. You can also read more about District of Columbia property division in the District of Columbia state statutes located at: