Filing for divorce in DC is not a difficult process. However, before you can file for divorce in DC, you must be sure that all of the issues between you and your spouse are settled. Otherwise, you will have to file for divorce and go through the process as if the divorce is contested. This process is longer and more expensive than filing for an Uncontested Divorce.
Once you have settled all the outstanding issues with your spouse, such as division of your marital property, custody of your children, child support, division of retirement benefits, division of debts, etc., through a Separation Agreement, there are two other requirements that must be met before you can file for divorce in DC.
First, you must meet the residency requirement. This says that one of you must have been a continuous resident of DC for six months before you file for divorce.
The other requirement that must be met has to do with how long you have been separated.
There are two possible ways to meet this requirement in DC. You can either be separated mutually and voluntarily for a period of six months or you must be separated for a period of one year even if the separation was not originally mutually agreed upon. It is also possible that sometime during the year, the separation became mutual so that you will not have to wait a full year to file for divorce. This is something to discuss with a DC divorce attorney.
It is easiest to file all necessary papers together if you and your spouse agree to cooperate with the filing. Then, the case will be filed as an Uncontested Divorce and a hearing date will be set.
The filing requires a Complaint for Absolute Divorce, Answer to Complaint for Absolute Divorce, Uncontested Praecipe, and a Cross-Reference Intake Form.
A Proposed Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Judgment of Absolute Divorce may be filed. A Waiver of Appeal filing is also a good idea so that your divorce will be final on the day of your hearing instead of 30 days later (the appeal period).
It is always best to discuss all of your options with a family law attorney in DC to be sure that your rights are protected. A DC divorce lawyer will also be able to assist you in navigating through the process so it is done correctly and in an efficient manner.