On What Grounds Can I Get A Divorce In The District Of Columbia?

By otmseo,

In order to obtain a divorce in the District of Columbia you must meet the District’s residency requirements and also qualify under one of the District’s two grounds for divorce. Those items are addressed in greater detail below.

What are the residency requirements for divorce in the District of Columbia?
The residency requirement states that either you or your spouse must have been a resident in the District of Columbia for the six months preceding the filing for divorce.

What are the grounds for divorce in the District of Columbia?
The District of Columbia allows for two grounds to base your divorce on. The first ground requires that you and your spouse have voluntarily been living “separate and apart” without cohabitation for at least six months prior to the divorce. The second ground requires that you and your spouse have been involuntarily living “separate and apart” without cohabitation for at least one year.

For more information on whether you are eligible to obtain a divorce in the District of Columbia contact the Barkat Law Firm today and speak to a D.C. divorce attorney.

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Jurisdiction And Child Custody Disputes

By otmseo,

In the D.C. metro area child custody disputes often arise that involve multiple states. For example, the children may reside in the District of Columbia, but one of the parents reside in Virginia or Maryland or vice versa. When a situation such as this arises the Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) sets the rules for jurisdiction over the child custody dispute.

Specifically the UCCJEA sets the rules as to what state’s courts have jurisdiction to enter and enforce custody orders. The UCCJEA is incorporated into the District of Columbia Code in §16-4601.01, and governs custody disputes in every state except Massachusetts.

The UCCJEA allows for four options for a state to claim jurisdiction over a child custody dispute. Those options are:

• Home state – the state has been the home state of the children for at least 6 months prior to the filing of a custody action

• Significant connection – the children have a significant connection to the state

• More appropriate forum – this option can only be used if other states have declined jurisdiction under the home state or significant connection options

• Last chance – if none of the 3 options above are available this fourth option may be used.

Should you become involved in a child custody dispute contact the Barkat Law Firm to speak with a D.C. child custody attorney about what options are available to you.

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What Is The Statute Of Limitations In The District Of Columbia

By otmseo,

A statute of limitations prescribes the maximum amount of time that can pass before an action is barred from being brought. For example, in the District of Columbia the statute of limitations for bringing a civil case for assault is one year. Therefore, the person seeking to file the suit must file the action within one year of the assault or they are barred from filing suit. The District of Columbia sets out its statute of limitations for various civil actions in the District of Columbia Code Section 12-301. The statutes are as follows:

“Except as otherwise specifically provided by law, actions for the following purposes may not be brought after the expiration of the period specified below from the time the right to maintain the action accrues:

  • for recovery of lands, tenements, or hereditaments – 15 years;
  • for the recovery of personal property or damages for its unlawful detention – 3 years;
  • for the recovery of damages for an injury to real or personal property – 3 years;
  • for libel, slander, assault, battery, mayhem, wounding, malicious prosecution, false arrest or false imprisonment – 1 year;
  • for a statutory penalty or forfeiture – 1 year;
  • on an executor’s or administrator’s bond – 5 years; on any other bond or single bill, covenant, or other instrument under seal – 12 years;
  • on a simple contract, express or implied – 3 years;
  • for which a limitation is not otherwise specifically prescribed – 3 years;
  • for a violation of 7-1201.01(11) – 1 year;
  • for the recovery of damages for an injury to real property from toxic substances including products containing asbestos– 5 years from the date the injury is discovered or with reasonable diligence should have been discovered;
  • for the recovery of damages arising out of sexual abuse that occurred while the victim was a minor – 7 years from the date that the victim attains the age of 18, or  3 years from when the victim knew, or reasonably should have known, of any act constituting abuse, whichever is later.
  • This section does not apply to actions for breach or contracts for sale governed by Section 28:2-725, nor to actions brought by the District of Columbia government.”

If you have any questions about whether you are within the statute of limitations for an action you seek to bring or an action that has been brought against you, then contact the Barkat Law Firm to speak with an attorney to get advice specific to your situation.

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What Is Multi-Door Dispute Resolution?

By otmseo,

Multi-Door Dispute Resolution is a voluntary program offered through the District of Columbia Superior Court. The program is meant to assist those individuals who may be better served by resolving their differences through mediation rather than through trial.

Family law mediation is available through the Multi-Door Dispute Resolution Division of the District of Columbia Superior Court. The mediation process is initiated when the parties contact the Multi-Door Dispute Resolution Division to set up an intake interview. Following the interview mediation sessions are conducted during 2 hour sessions with the Multi-Door Dispute Resolution Division.

Contact the Barkat Law Firm today to speak with a District of Columbia Family Law attorney about the mediation process and what options for resolution of divorce and custody disputes are available to you.

*this post is not associated with or endorsed by the District of Columbia Multi-Door Dispute Resolution Division. It is meant only to convey basic information of the program. For official information please visit their website at http://www.dcappeals.gov/internet/public/aud_mediation/mediatefamily.jsf

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How Property Is Divided In A Divorce In The District Of Columbia

By otmseo,

When considering a divorce clients frequently want to know how a divorce will impact their assets. The District of Columbia follows a process known as “equitable division” to distribute assets following a divorce. This does not mean that the property will be divided equally, but rather it will be divided in a manner that the presiding Judge deems fair. The presiding Judge will weigh the following factors when determining “equitable division”:

  • The contribution of each spouse to the marital property
  • The occupation of each spouse
  • The length of the marriage
  • The amount and source of income for each spouse
  • The age and health of each spouse
  • The employability of each spouse
  • The assets and debts of each spouse
  • Whether the division is in place or in addition to any alimony award
  • Custodial provisions of the children

Contact the Barkat Law Firm by phone at (202)827-9776 or info@barkatlaw.com to speak with a divorce attorney who can provide you with legal advice tailored to your specific situation.


How Is Child Custody Determined in the District of Columbia?

By otmseo,

One frequently asked question from clients is how do the courts decide who gets custody? In the District of Columbia judges use a number of statutory factors to consider what is in the “best interest of the child”. The factors the judges consider are:

  • the wishes of the child where practicable;
  • the wishes of the child’s parent or parents as to the child’s custody;
  • the interaction and interrelationship of the child with his or her parent or parents, his or her siblings, and
  • any other person who may emotionally or psychologically affect the child’s best interest;
  • the child’s adjustment to his or her home, school, and community;
  • the mental and physical health of all individuals involved;
  • evidence of an intrafamily offense;
  • the capacity of the parents to communicate and reach shared decisions affecting the child’s welfare;
  • the willingness of the parents to share custody;
  • the prior involvement of each parent in the child’s life;
  • the potential disruption of the child’s social and school life;
  • the geographic proximity of the parental homes as this relates to the practical considerations of the child’s
  • residential schedule;
  • the demands of parental employment;
  • the age and number of children;
  • the sincerity of each parent’s request;
  • the parent’s ability to financially support a joint custody arrangement;
  • the benefit to the parents.

Schedule a consultation with the Barkat Law Firm now by calling us at (202) 827-9776 or emailing info@barkatlaw.com to speak with a child custody attorney on how to protect you and your child’s interest in a child custody proceeding.


3 Ways To Make Your Case More Successful

By otmseo,

1. Document everything.

Whether you suspect you will soon be involved in litigation or are currently involved in the litigation you can greatly help your case by documenting everything. That means telephone calls, emails, and documents you receive. Basically any and everything related to your case that could be important as evidence and documentation. You do not want to be stuck in a situation where you know something happened, but have no way to prove it other than your word.

2. Don’t discuss your case with anyone besides your attorney

It may be tempting to blow of steam or share what’s going on with your case with friends or family members, but be advised that you could lose attorney-client privilege if you do so. Any information that you want to be protected by attorney-client privilege needs to be treated as such. If you tell your attorney something in confidence, and then turn around and tell your neighbor then you may risk losing the confidentiality protection.

3. Listen to the Judge

When it is time to go before the Judge one basic rule should stick in your mind: listen to the judge. It may be tempting to try and speak your mind about everything that opposing counsel or the other party has said, but keep in mind that it is your attorney’s job to sort through and find what needs responded to and when. If you talk out of turn or interrupt the judge to get your point across it will only irritate the judge. Let the other party act up while you keep your cool. That will allow you to come across as credible.

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Third Party Custody

By otmseo,

The District of Columbia Safe and Stable Homes for Children and Youth Act allows third parties the opportunity to petition for custody of children. The Act also establishes the standards governing custody cases involving third parties.

In order for a third party to have standing to sue for custody the parent who has been the primary caregiver within the past three years must consent to the action, the third party has to have both lived in the same household with the child for at the least four of the previous six months, or the third party must be presently living with the child and circumstances are present to where third party custody is necessary to prevent harm to the child.

The Court can grant custody to the third party if a determination is made that the presumption in favor of the parent has been defeated and that custody with the third party is in the best interest of the child.

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Thinking Of Hiring An Attorney? Make Sure You Ask These 3 Questions.

By otmseo,

Years ago if you wanted to hire an attorney you either looked for a referral from someone you knew or looked in the local Yellow Pages. With the proliferation of attorneys in the market and attitudes towards attorney advertising changing the problems is not so much scarcity as it is who to trust among the thousands of attorneys that are at your fingertips. As you do your due diligence in selecting an attorney here are three questions you should make sure to ask your potential lawyer.

1. Have they handled a case like yours before?

Seems like a no brainer, but you would be surprised how many people are so overwhelmed with their issue that they neglect to ask this question. Its important to be as specific as possible when asking if the attorney has handled a case like yours before. For example, instead of asking have you handled a divorce case before you might ask “have you handled a high net worth divorce case” or “have you handled a custody case where the other party is out of state with the children.”

2. Have they had any disciplinary action taken before them?

It is imperative to make sure that the attorney you select has a good track record and what better way to find out what they are about then finding out if they have a clean record with the Bar. If you feel uncomfortable asking directly, then you may want to use an attorney directory to find out. Many directories such as Nolo will indicate if an attorney has had any disciplinary actions taken against them. You can also contact your local bar association and ask.

3. What will the attorney’s strategy be for your case?

This is a good question to determine whether your attorney’s proposed actions will follow your wishes. Perhaps you want to settle, but an attorney would rather drag the case out knowing he/she will benefit from the additional billable hours, or vice versa perhaps the attorney does not see the case as lucrative enough and wants to wrap it up as quickly as possible although that may not be the appropriate course of action.

If you need a family law or business law attorney contact the Barkat Law Firm for a free consultation where we are more than ready to answer the above questions and any other questions you may have about your case.

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Legal Separation In The District Of Columbia FAQs

By otmseo,

Below are some of the frequently asked questions clients have when considering a legal separation:

Q: What is legal separation?
A: Legal separation is the end of cohabitation between spouses.

Q: Does a legal separation end my marriage?
A: A separation does not legally end a marriage. Only a divorce, annulment, etc. will legally end or void your marriage.

Q: Are the requirements for legal separation the same as for divorce?
A: No, the timing requirements are different. In order obtain a divorce in the District of Columbia you will had to have mutually lived separate and apart for six months or have involuntarily lived separate and apart for one year. In order to be eligible for a legal separation you must currently be living separately and apart. It also important to note that the Court will consider you and your spouse living separate and apart even if you live in the same house if you can prove you are living separate lives.

Q: Aside from separation what issues will the Court adjudicate in a legal separation case?
A: The Court can determine custody, child support, spousal support, and equitable distribution of marital property.

Q: If I get a legal separation can I later turn it into a divorce?
A: Yes.

Contact the Barkat Law Firm to speak to a D.C. divorce attorney about obtaining a legal separation in the District of Columbia.

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