Archives for dc divorce lawyer

DISSIPATED AND SPENT MARTIAL PROPERTY STILL SUBJECT TO EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF ASSETS

The Court of Appeals in Herron v. Johnson, expounded on the equitable distribution of marital property that has been dissipated. Dissipation of martial property is generally defined as where one spouse uses marital property for his own benefit and for a purpose unrelated to the marriage at a time when the marriage is undergoing an irreconcilable breakdown. Here, the trial court had determined that the pension funds accumulated during the marriage and used by one spouse and spent and dissipated during the marriage is no longer a property for the court to factor in with regards to the equitable distribution
Read More

ENFORCEABILITY OF THE DC DIVORCE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS

The Court of Appeals in Dufy v. Dufy, addressed and analyzed to certain extent the enforceability of a Divorce Settlement Agreement and in particular the child support provision. Appellant there had challenged the trial court’s enforcement of the parties’ separation agreement as part of its Judgment of Absolute Divorce, and both the trial court as well as the appellate review established that the agreement was complete and unambiguous on its face, and that the parties had demonstrated an intention to be bound by it. Thus, the trial court had found that the agreement was an enforceable contract. Generally, courts encourage
Read More

DC DIVORCE RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS

Before an action for divorce in the District can be filed, the residency requirements must be met.  Generally, the DC Court will have jurisdiction to hearing the matter if the following criteria are met: Specifically, no action for divorce or legal separation shall be maintainable unless one of the parties to the marriage has been a bona fide resident of the District of Columbia for at least 6 months next preceding the commencement of the action. However, an action for divorce or legal separation by persons of the same gender, even if neither party to the marriage is a bona
Read More

DC DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP v. MARRIAGE

In the District, there is a viable alternative to a legal marriage that allows for legalizing a relationship in order to share health and other benefits while maintaining financial independence: Domestic Partnership Registration. As registered domestic partners, family member benefits are conferred, such as hospital visitation, medical and family leave as well as extended government and private health insurance benefits for the partner. However, as partnership is not a marriage by definition and construction, as long as the parties’ financial commingling is minimal to none, then the financial burden of the equitable distribution of property, spousal support, and all other
Read More

CHILD’S PREFERENCE IN CUSTODY LITIGATION: LEGAL ELEMENT

The Court of Appeals in DUGUMA v. AYALEW recently decided addressed the issue of preference of the children in a custody and divorce proceeding among parents. Appellant mother lost the custody trial with the court granting sole physical custody to the father and argued on appeal mainly:  That the trial court abused its discretion in refusing to grant her counsel’s request for a continuance,  That the court erred in failing to interview the children or appoint a guardian ad litem to determine the children’s wishes as to their custody and, That even aside from the absence of evidence as to
Read More

LEGAL CRITERIA FOR PENDENTE LITE ALIMONY

DC Code § 16–911, titled Pendente lite relief, allows for filing of a petition for support during the pendency of: A legal separation, Divorce; or The termination of a domestic partnership In such cases, the court may require one party after holding a hearing to make payment of: A pendente lite alimony, or Child support Health insurance coverage or Suit money, including counsel fees. The Court generally considers the same factors in awarding alimony to dispense Pendente lite alimony and support, that is: Ability of the party seeking alimony to be wholly or partly self-supporting; Time necessary for the party
Read More

WAIVER OF RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS: ENFORCEMENT OF POST NUPTIAL AGREEMENT: DC DIVORCE

The Court of Appeals in Oshinaike v. Oshinaike, addressed spousal claim on a retirement account where there existed already a post martial agreement on that very subject. Specifically, on appeal Marcia Oshinaike sought review of the trial court’s ruling that her former husband (Solomon Oshinaike), did not expressly waive his rights with respect to her foreign service retirement benefits and thus was entitled to portions of that retirement benefit. Oshinaikes were married in 1989. After Ms. Oshinaike joined the State Department as a Foreign Service officer parties executed a post marital agreement expressly stating that: Mr. Oshinaike waives all rights
Read More

ADMISSIBILITY OF AN OUT OF COURT STATEMENT IN TRIAL: HEARSAY EXCEPTIONS

In both criminal trials as well as the civil cases often the outcome hinges on a witness statement that is hearsay (out of court statement) but admissible under one of the exceptions. The Court of Appeals in Sims v. U.S., decided on August 15, 2019, expanded and explained in details the admissibility of the “present sense impression” exception to the hearsay rule. Sims was convicted of murder at trial and a significant corroborating evidence was introduced through the present sense impression statement/exception to the hearsay rule. One of witnesses at trial testified that he arrived to the scene shortly after
Read More

LEGAL ELEMENTS FOR CHILD’S NAME CHANGE PETITION AFTER DC DIVORCE

The Court of Appeals in Melbourne v. Taylor[1], analyzed and opined on the legal standard for a parent to change the child’s name after separation and divorce. The general legal standard for a name change petition by either parents after separation or divorce is the best interests of the child criteria as listed in defined in the legal custody statute § 16-831: The child’s need for continuity of care and caretakers, and for timely integration into a stable and permanent home, taking into account the differences in the development and the concept of time of children of different ages; The
Read More

APPELLATE PROCESS IN THE FAMILY CASES

In most family cases, the litigation does not and should not end by the Associate Judge or the Magistrate Judge’s final ruling. As these cases are not jury demandable, often times the assigned Judge may issue multiple rulings, including final decree of divorce, division of property, alimony and child support as well as the physical and legal custody of the children.  Significant and life altering decisions and all by a single Judge who may be subjectively objective. And although most family judges are experienced, fair and equitable in dispensing decisions well supported in fact and law – there are cases
Read More