WASHINGTON DC DIVORCE: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How long after separation a divorce action can be filed?

Within six months if the separation is mutual and voluntary or one year if NOT mutual or voluntary.

What is consequence of divorce on the children?

The court upon filing of the divorce action will have also jurisdiction to rule on child custody and to grant legal and physical custody as appropriate.

How are the marital property divided?

When contested and court involved, the marital property is distributed based on “equitable distribution” of property criteria.  Essentially the court will apply an equitable remedy in divided and distributing all marital property.

What is marital property?

Technically, all property acquired after the marriage.

If the home we reside in is our primary residence, then would that be automatically a marital property?

Most likely, unless excluded under an enforceable pre-marital agreement.

What is a separation agreement and how does an agreement shortcut the divorce process?

Agreement drafted by the parties to resolve and dispose of all pending issues in divorce or separation, including child custody, support, alimony and division of property.

Not happy with marriage and want annulment instead of divorce, how does that work?

To obtain annulment after marriage, certain legal criteria and elements have to be met, namely: fraud, insanity, previous marriage, not age of legal consent.

My husband makes more money than me, would I be entitled to alimony?

Most likely but not necessarily.  Alimony equation and calculations are complex and many factors are considered in addition to disparity in income.  Refer to our alimony page for more details.

My settlement agreement is incorporated but not merged into the divorce decree – what does that mean?

That means that enforcement of the agreement will be through civil remedies and not family court system.  If merged, the family court will have the ability to modify and change terms as requested and when appropriate.

My spouse made a financial contribution to my property I acquired prior to the marriage – does this become a marital property?

Property acquired prior to marriage generally not a martial property, however, if the property is the primary residence, and there is shared expense and contributions toward the property including mortgage, expenses, and repair then the property may have morphed into a marital property unless excluded under a pre-marital agreement.

How do you access hidden assets in divorce proceeding?

Diligently.  There is no such thing as hidden assets as the discovery process and when necessary investigative work should reveal all viable assets.

Do I need to disclose all my finances during divorce?

Those that are not excluded under a pre-marital agreement most likely would be subject of scrutiny.   There are legal ways to exclude assets and income from the marriage pot and a well-crafted pre-marital agreement should protect such assets.

Is DC a fault or a no-fault jurisdiction?

No fault, the statute does not require any findings of fault, but DC is an equitable distribution of property jurisdiction and in equity all is considered.

What are the residency requirements for filing a divorce action?

At least one of the parties has been a resident of the District six months or more prior to filing.

Would the separation period (6 months) prior filing of the divorce action be tolled if we share bed and board during the period?

Most likely yes and the Statute requires separate lives not sharing bed or board with no intentions of evidence of rekindling the relationship.

What happens to my retirement funds/accounts during the divorce, are they marital property?

Depends, if there is joint contribution or using of funds from the accounts for marital purposes then potentially subject to “equitable distribution” but ordinarily such accounts are excluded particularly if clearly listed as separate and non-martial in an enforceable pre-nuptial agreement.

Are social media, text messages and emails admissible evidence in divorce proceedings?

Depends if the evidence can be properly authenticated and its reliability established through the rules of evidence.

Refer to our Washington DC Divorce page for more detailed information on divorce actions.

Refer to our Washington DC Division of Property page for more information on equitable distribution of property.

Refer to our Washington DC Alimony page for details and elements the court considered to grant alimony.

Contact our Washington DC Divorce Lawyer to schedule an intake appointment to discuss the specifics of your case.