A divorce is sometimes an unfortunate and sometimes a necessary end to a marriage. Going through the process of dissolving a marriage involves knowing your legal rights and obligations.
A divorce can be relatively simple if both parties agree on their marital issues such as the distribution of marital property or the custody of children. Otherwise, disagreements over the custody of shared children or the distribution of marital assets can quickly turn any divorce into a complex legal undertaking.
A Washington DC divorce lawyer could help you protect your assets and advocate for your rights and your children’s needs in court. An attorney from our firm could also help you demonstrate your need for child support or alimony during court proceedings. En Español.
Legal Grounds for Divorce in Washington DC
Family courts in Washington DC will only hear a marriage dissolution case if the parties cite a valid legal ground for divorce. According to the Code of District Columbia §16-904, a court will only grant a divorce if the parties have either voluntarily lived apart without cohabitation for at least six months or lived apart without consent for one year.
Essentially, there is a required waiting period for marriage dissolution. Additionally, DC Code §16-902 states that at least one of the parties must have lived in Washington DC for at least six months prior to filing for divorce. An attorney can help you file for divorce and can streamline the process so that you may only have to appear in court once.
Allocating Marital Property
A marriage dissolution is a legal split between two parties, and a final divorce decree must fully address the financial and legal rights and responsibilities of both spouses. One major issue in all divorces is the equitable distribution of marital debts and assets.
According to DC Code §16-910, local family law judges must make an “equitable” distribution of marital property, which is any asset that a couple accumulated during their marriage. Notably, this does not include property acquired prior to a marriage or that which came to one party via gift or inheritance. Sometimes even determining what is marital property and what is one spouse’s sole and separate property can be a difficult process that a DC divorce lawyer can streamline.
When the court considers equitable distribution, its goal is to set both parties on an equal financial standing for the future. A divorce lawyer in Washington DC could help either party protect their property rights before a judge and ensure that their interests are represented.
Divorces Involving Minor Children
Other commonly disputed topics in divorce cases are child custody and support. Whenever a married couple shares children, a local judge must take appropriate steps to ensure the kids’ best interests in a final divorce decree.
A custody order includes granting custody to one or both parents, setting up visitation schedules, and ordering child support. No matter what the parents may agree to for the care of their children, DC Code §16-914 mandates the courts to always fashion an order in best interests of a child when making any decisions that impact the children in the future.
Call a Washington DC Divorce Attorney Today
Dissolving a marriage can be a chaotic time in a person’s life. Whether you are looking to start the process by filing a complaint or have recently been served with papers, you should act quickly to protect your rights. Let an attorney from our firm help you protect your assets and property and advocate for the custody of your children.
A Washington DC divorce lawyer could help you achieve your goals by engaging in settlement talks and discovery with the opposing party’s legal counsel. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with a professional legal advocate.