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

Washington DC Divorce and Property Division

In Washington, DC, parties can apply for a no-fault divorce. In fact, the DC City Council has done away with a need to prove fault as is still the case in many other states.  In Washington, DC, it is only necessary to show the parties have lived apart for at least a year, and the marriage has broken down to a point where reconciliation is no longer feasible. 

For this reason, the actual divorce hearing may only take a short period of time.  What often become a long drawn out process is the other matters, which typically accompany a DC divorce case.  One of these issues is child support and/or child custody, and the other challenging part of a DC divorce proceeding is the distribution of marital property and marital debts.

How is marital property divided in Washington, DC?

As your Washington, DC divorce attorney can explain, marital property and debts are divided under a method known as equitable distribution.  Equitable distribution in Washington, DC is governed by DC Code Section 16-910(b).  While the DC Family Court judge will consider 12 factors outlined in the divorce statute, the important thing to keep in mind is equitable means fair, but it does not necessary mean equal as in a 50/50 distribution of all property and debts.

Does it matter whose name the property is in?

No, pursuant to Washington, DC divorce law, it does not matter whose name the property is in during the marriage.
For example, if the couple owns a car and it tilted in the husband’s name, it does not mean the husband will automatically get the car. The same is true for a home.

Is there any property not considered joint marital property in a Washington, DC Divorce?

Yes, there are basically two categories of property, which will not generally be considered part of the marital estate.  These two types of property are gifts to one spouse and inheritance given to only one spouse.  For example, a parent may give a gift of money to one spouse only.  However, it should be noted that these exceptions to marital property valuation have some exceptions of their own depending on how the property is held and used during the marriage.

Does a prenuptial agreement work in the District of Columbia?

Yes, a valid prenuptial agreement entered into before the marriage can be enforced in the DC Family Court during a divorce proceeding.  However, there may be a great deal of litigation as to whether or not the prenuptial agreement is actually valid, and you should speak with your divorce attorney about the prenuptial agreement in your particular case.

Read more ...

What Happens a DC Child Custody Hearing?

In Washington, DC, a child custody case can be opened by one party to a marriage, or a biological or adoptive parent of a child born outside of wedlock.  The case generally begins by one party going the Family Court Division of the Superior Court for the District of Columbia and filing a petition for custody and/or visitation of a minor child.

Once the complaint for child custody has been filed, the filing party will be required to serve the other parent with a copy of the summons and complaint stamped by the court.  While you can do this without an attorney, it is much easier to speak with a Washington, DC child custody lawyer before beginning the process so you know that everything will be done properly. 

A complaint for child custody or visitation can be filed with a DC divorce case, or separately depending on the situation.  Once the plaintiff has filed the summons and complaint, the court will schedule an initial hearing within 45 days of filing.  In the case of an emergency, a hearing may be held much sooner.

First it should be noted, pursuant to Washington, DC law, there is a presumption in favor of joint legal custody and joint physical custody.

What is legal custody in Washington, DC?

In the District of Columbia, legal custody means that the parent will have the right to make legal decisions on behalf of a minor child.  Some of these decision can include what school to send a child to, or what medical treatment should be given in the event the child becomes ill.  This is sometimes influenced by a parent’s religious beliefs or personal feelings on these matters.

There is presumption in favor of joint legal custody meaning both parents will be able to have a say in what legal decisions are made on behalf of the minor child.  However, this presumption can be overcome by showing one parent is not mentally able to make such decisions or has abused or neglected the minor child. 

What is physical custody in Washington, DC?

In Washington, DC physical custody is where the child lives.  There is again a presumption in favor of joint physical custody where the child will live with both parents part of the time.  This presumption can be overcome by showing the other parent is not fit to share physical custody.  In determining custody, the court will consider the 17 factors listed in DC Code Section 16-914(a)(3)

Read more ...


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
  • 1