Washington DC Divorce Laws 0

Divorce Law Basics in the District of Columbia

Also See: Washington DC Marriage Laws

Statute: District of Columbia Code (Title 16, Chapter 9)

No-Fault Grounds:

  • Mutual voluntary separation (no cohabitation) for 6 months
  • Living separate and apart but under the same roof for 1 year (do not share bed or food)

At-Fault Grounds: No At Fault Grounds in Washington DC

Residency: Either party must have been a resident continuously for 6 months or more prior to filing.

Legal Separation Recognized? Yes. The court requires the parties to be separated as defined above.

Counseling Requirements: In cases where there are children, the court may order one or both parents to participate in an educational course.

Property Distribution: DC relies on “equitable distribution” so the court will distribute the marital property “in an equitable manner” if the parties can’t agree on their own. Separate property (property acquired prior to the marriage, as a gift or through inheritance) is not included in property distribution.

Alimony: Alimony may be awarded to either party and is at the discretion of the judge. While the judge is not required to consider fault when determining alimony, the conduct of the parties can be a factor in the decision process.


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