• Washington, DC Divorce Attorney (202) 596-5716
    Washington, DC Divorce Attorney (202) 596-5716 Divorce, Collaborative Divorce, Child Custody, Family Law, Prenuptial Agreements

Patrick Dempsey’s Wife Files for Divorce

The wife of Patrick Dempsey, the actor best known for his starring role on Grey’s Anatomy, has recently filed for divorce according to a report from HNGN.  It is also reported the couple did not enter into a prenuptial agreement prior to getting married. 

The couple recently released a joint statement saying the decision to get divorced was one out of mutual respect, and the couple’s primary concern is the wellbeing of their children. 

According to court papers, irreconcilable differences was cited as the ground for getting a divorce.  Dempsey’s wife also requested spousal support (alimony) and child support in her divorce petition filed with the family court. The couple has three minor children together, and she is seeking joint custody of all children. 

As your Washington, DC divorce attorney can explain, irreconcilable differences is essentially the same as filing for a no-fault divorce in the District of Columbia.  In the past, and still in some states, it was necessary to prove fault on behalf of the other spouse in order to obtain a divorce.  Fault grounds in divorce involved adultery (cheating), abandonment, desertion, physical or mental abuse, and fraud.  The court would not grant a divorce if proof of one of these fault grounds could not be established during a trial for divorce.  

The District of Columbia Family Court now has the power to allow no-fault divorce, and this is only type of divorce petition generally filed in DC.  A no-fault divorce essentially means the parties’ marriage is no longer working, and it is fair and just for the court to order the marriage be dissolved.  

While there is no longer any need to prove fault, there are some requirements which must be met.  The main requirement is time of separation.  The parties must be living apart for at least six months (in most cases), prior to filing a divorce petition.  However, the DC city council understands it is not always feasible or practical for the parties to physically live apart given their financial situation.  Many couples in the process of divorce, or who are already divorced, still reside in the same home as they cannot currently afford two separate residences.  

With this in mind, living apart does not mean the parties have to be physically living separately.  The test is whether the parties are living together as husband and wife.  If both spouses are residing in the same household, but not engaging in sexual activity with each other, or living as a married couple in any other way, this can still satisfy the time requirement.  However, if the parties do resume a marital relationship during the period of separation, the clock will have to be restarted.  

In addition to time, there is also a residency requirement.  At least one spouse must have lived in Washington, DC for at least six months prior to filing for a divorce.  This is to prevent a person from moving to the District simply for the purpose of obtaining a divorce.  While this is true in most jurisdictions, the DC city council has created one rather unique exception.  


If the parties came to DC to enter into a same-sex marriage, and now reside in a state, which does not recognize gay marriage (and gay divorce), the residency requirement may be waived.  

If you are considering getting a divorce in Washington, DC, contact the Law Office of Daniel A. Gross, PLLC for a full and confidential consultation by calling (202) 596-5716.



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