Divorce Lawyer in Washington, DC
Founder and managing attorney, Nicole Johnson, has over a decade of experience helping Washington, DC families navigate tough issues. Her background as a clinical social worker provides her with a unique skill set. Nicole will listen to your situation without judgment, and help you select a legal solution that fits your needs and your budget.
Whether you feel that you have a lot to protect or nothing at all, a prenuptial agreement gives you an opportunity to negotiate a fair divorce while you and your partner are on good terms. Signing a prenuptial agreement does not mean that you’re planning for your marriage to fail. It is simply a way to ensure that if circumstances and feelings change, the original intent you both had to start businesses, purchase real estate, make investments, or raise a family, is protected.
Legal separation is a court-decreed right to live apart. Legal separation essentially grants each spouse the rights and obligations of divorced persons, but without the dissolving the legal marriage. The parties remain legally married and cannot remarry. A spouse may petition for a legal separation usually on the same basis as for a divorce, and include requests for child custody, alimony, child support and division of property. Legal separation is a possible solution for spouses who want to avoid the stigma of divorce, those who hold strong religious objections to divorce, or those who hope to save a marriage.
In DC, there are two grounds for divorce: (1) Mutual and voluntary (both of you agree) separation without cohabitation for at least six months; and (2) Involuntary (one of you does not agree) separation without cohabitation for at least one year.
In DC, divorces are either contested or uncontested. In an uncontested divorce, both spouses agree to the divorce, including the division of property. Usually, a separation agreement is filed with the court, along with the complaint. A separation agreement simply lays out the terms for the divorce.
If you want to ask for alimony or a division of property (including houses, cars, cash, retirement funds, etc.), you must ask when you file for the divorce. Otherwise, you will lose your opportunity to do so. You can also ask for child custody in a divorce case, but it is not required. If you do ask for child custody, you should also ask for child support at the same time. In some instances, a couple can file for divorce in DC, and file the child custody and/or support case in a different state.
In DC, if you have a contested divorce, and cannot come to an agreement about dividing your property, the court will make the decision for you. The court uses a number of factors to determine how to equitably divide the property between the spouses. Some of the factors include the duration of the marriage, the reason for the marriage is ending, contributions of each spouse to the martial household throughout the marriage, age of the spouses, physical and mental ability of the spouses, and health of the spouses.
Fees are determined by whether or not the spouses already agree about the separation terms, whether a separation agreement is needed, and whether the client wants the attorney to make the court appearance.
Contested divorce cases are more complex because they require depositions, mediation, and several court hearings before trial.
Factors that influence the cost of trial:
- Length of trial (the actual hours spent in court) – Some trials can take several days depending on the number of issues and witnesses presented by the parties.
- Number and type of witnesses – An expert witness will incur additional fees.
- Difficulty of serving the other party – A party who cannot be located or will not sign certified mail delivered by the court may require additional fees.
- Children – Child custody and support issues are typically litigated during the divorce proceedings.
Trusted Legal Solutions doesn’t believe in charging you for a complicated divorce trial before you even file the initial complaint. With our unbundled services, we will limit the scope of representation to what you need, when you need it. That, is the Trusted Difference.
If you want an effective attorney who will return your calls, give you upfront pricing, and prioritize your legal needs above her billable hours, schedule a consultation today. Experience the Trusted Difference.