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

Can I get a no-fault Divorce in Washington, DC?

The idea of getting a divorce often brings up ideas of fighting and screaming.  Sometimes one spouse finds out the other is cheating or learns of some big secret that changes everything.  However, sometimes two people just realize they aren't right for each other and made a mistake in deciding to get married.

This is a perfectly understandable situation and the law in Washington, DC allows spouses who agree to get divorced, and agree on how any marital should be divided can get a no-fault divorce also long as they satisfy the required elements.

As Washington, DC divorce attorneys understand, Title 16, Chapter 9 of the DC Code provides that a divorce may be granted if the parties have lived separately for at least six months, and not cohabitated during that period of time, and both parties agree to end the marriage.  Cohabitating is essentially a legal term used in DC divorce cases to mean engaged in sexual intercourse. 

If both parties do not agree to get divorced, but have lived separate and apart from each other for one year without cohabitation, a no-fault divorce may be granted. Basically, this is situation where one spouse wants to get to divorced and the other does not want to get divorced.

Instead of a divorce, the DC Courts will also grant a legal separation to the parties if both parties agree to live separate and apart without having sexual relations.  If both parties do not agree to a legal separation, a court may still grant one if the parties have lived separate and apart for one year without cohabitation prior to filing an action with the court.

If both parties are in complete agreement, your attorney may be able to draw up the paperwork, file the necessary documents with the court, and get the divorce decree ordered by the judge without the need for lengthy litigation or excessive legal fees.

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Same-Sex Divorce in Washington, DC

With more and more of the American public in favor of allowing same-sex marriage than ever before, and the Supreme Court deciding not hear many new cases, the tide is clearly turning in favor of equal rights.

Many same-sex couples jumped at the opportunity to get married when Washington, DC became the first jurisdiction south of the Mason-Dixon line to legalize gay marriage.  In 2009, then mayor Adrian Fenty signed a bill passed by the city council that passed congressional review.  The first marriage licenses were issued in March of the following year.

While this was considered a great stride in the LGBT rights movement, as could be expected, not every marriage was destined to last.  As a Washington, DC divorce attorney who handles cases involving same-sex marriage, I would like to discuss some of the questions prospective clients may have.

One question is whether there is any difference in the process for obtaining a same-sex divorce.  In Washington, DC, the requirements for getting a divorce are the same for all couples regardless of sexual orientation, with one exception.

The District of Columbia Code has a residency requirement for those filing for divorce that requires at least one spouse to have lived in Washington, DC for no less than six months prior to filing for a divorce.   However, if you entered into a same-sex marriage in Washington, DC, and neither you nor your spouse currently lives in DC but lives in a state that does not permit same-sex divorce, you may file for a divorce in the District of Columbia.

This issue comes up more than one might think, because unlike many states, Washington, DC does not have a residency requirement to get married.  Many came to the District to enter into a same-sex marriage when their home state did not allow them to do so.

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Practice Areas

  • Washington, DC Divorce +

    Getting a divorce can be one of the most difficult decisions of your life. Whether you were married recently or Read More
  • Washington, DC Child Custody and Visitation Law +

    Litigating child support issues can be one of the more complex and emotional issues in any divorce or family law Read More
  • Washington, DC Child Support +

    Child support is one of the most heavily litigated areas of Washington, DC divorce and family law cases. Sometimes, the Read More
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