A divorce is a legal proceeding that dissolves a marriage. All of the legal rights and relationships as husband and wife that were created by the marriage are extinguished the moment a Judge signs the divorce decree. It is a relatively simple matter if the parties agree to divorce, but if only one party wants a divorce, or there are outstanding issues of child support, alimony, or the division of property, debt, or retirement benefits, the Judge will usually not grant a divorce decree until those issues are resolved.
Grounds for divorce in the District of Columbia are simple. As long as the parties meet the residency and separation requirements and do not expect any type of reconciliation of the marriage, they can be legally divorced. You can complete the initial paperwork for a uncontested divorce online with Flash Divorce in about an hour.
An uncontested divorce is where you and your spouse are able to reach an agreement on child custody and support, alimony, and the division of the marital property, debts, and retirement benefits. A divorce is also usually uncontested if you cannot locate your spouse and/or if your spouse makes no response to your legal action. If you anticipate that you will not be able to come to an agreement on the issues listed above, or if your spouse has retained an attorney, your case is likely no longer uncontested and you should obtain full legal representation for yourself.
The documents offered on Flash Divorce are only for no-fault uncontested divorce actions. These are legal actions where no blame or accusations of wrong-doing are made, and where the parties are in full agreement (or at least do not make any objections).
At least one party must currently be a resident of the District of Columbia, and have maintained that residency for at least the six (6) months prior to filing.
Before filing any documents, the parties must either (a) mutually and voluntarily separate for at least six (6) months, or (b) separate for at least twelve (12) months. The separation must be constant without any reconciliation or intimate relations. Once this separation requirement is met, a request for divorce can be filed with the Court.
A separation period resets when the parties have reconciliation (even temporary), intimate relations, cohabitation as husband and wife, etc.
Please note that some separating parties still live in the same house for economic reasons. The parties are not forced to live in separate houses, but they cannot be sleeping together and/or having intimate relations. To maintain the separation, the parties typically have separate bedrooms and have limited contact with each other in the common areas of the home (kitchen, laundry room, living room, etc.).
COURT COSTS AND WAIVER
You may wish to contact the Court ahead of time to learn the exact value of the fee, and learn what payment methods will be accepted. Although we guarantee court approval court costs are not included in our Flash Divorce Packages. If you cannot afford the filing costs, you must request to proceed without pre-payment of costs. The Court will then determine whether the fees will be waived. Documents related to this waiver are not included; however, they are available from the Clerk.
DECISIONS OF THE COURT
When using these documents, the Court will not be asked to make any important determinations related to the details of your divorce. The Court will merely approve the decisions which the parties have already agreed to. In order to be submitted to the Court, and officially included as part of the legal action, these decisions must be documented within a settlement agreement, signed by both parties. Otherwise, your documents will identify that the parties will settle such matters outside of the Court. As such, if your spouse cannot be located, or is not willing to sign a settlement agreement, matters such as child support, alimony, and the division or marital property will not be discussed in detail within the filed documents.
IMPORTANT NOTES ABOUT FILING
Before signing, filing and/or mailing each document:
- Read all instructions carefully.
- Review each document and add any necessary details in ink (such as dates or Social Security Numbers). Note that some documents are intended to be completed by someone else (your spouse, a judge, etc.), and therefore should be left incomplete.
- Verify whether your signature must be Notarized. Documents which contain sworn statements (typically called Affidavits) require that the party’s signature is certified or Notarized, and end with areas for a Notary to complete. As such, these documents should only be signed in the presence of a Notary Public. Notaries are usually available to the public at banks, post offices, and some public libraries.
- Make a copy of each document for your personal records before filing or mailing it away.
- You may also need a certified copy of your marriage license. If you do not have an official copy, you may want to contact the Clerk within the county where your marriage was created as soon as possible, as this document may take days or weeks to obtain.
- Whenever possible, only documents with original signatures should be filed. Documents with copies of signatures are typically not acceptable.
All District of Columbia divorce actions are filed with the Clerk of Domestic Relations Branch, Family Division of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, Moultrie Courthouse, 500 Indiana Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20001.