When you and your spouse have separated, intending to remain separated, and do not have a property settlement agreement, in Maryland and the District of Columbia the property you acquire from the date of separation until the date of divorce is marital property. In Virginia such property it is not presumptively marital, and in general is determined to be separate property, unless special facts and circumstances are established to overcome the presumption.
Property means anything of value including wages, 401(k) accumulations, vehicles, real property, etc. In a particular case, like one with a long separation before divorce where one spouse earned a lot more and acquired a lot more property than the other, this difference in the law can make a huge difference in outcome.
If you have a long separation and a big difference in post-separation property you probably want your divorce case to be heard in Virginia if you are the spouse with more post-separation property and you want it heard in D.C. or Maryland if you are the spouse with less post-separation property. A little planning and bold action can get you into the best court for your case.