When Does Property Stop Being Marital?

In last week’s blog on forum shopping, we saw that adultery on the part of the prospective alimony payee can have entirely different consequences in Virginia than in Maryland and the District of Columbia.  This week’s article concerns when the accumulation of marital property ends.  This is another area where Virginia law differs from the law of Maryland and of the District of Columbia.

When you are married, everything you acquire during the marriage is marital property unless it’s a gift or inheritance, proceeds of gift or inheritance, or excluded by a valid agreement.  In Virginia and Maryland but not in D.C, only gifts from third parties are excluded from marital property.  Whether something is marital property does not affect title to the property, transferability, right to possession or anything else.  It’s a concept that only matters at the time of divorce.  Marital property is what gets divided between the parties by their agreement or the judge’s order.

When does the accumulation of marital property end?  It starts at the time of the marriage.  When you return from the honeymoon and go to work the next Monday morning you are earning marital property – the stuff the divorce judge divides.  When is the first day you can go to work and earn separate non-marital property?  It depends on the jurisdiction.

(to be continued)