District of Columbia (Washington DC) Divorce Laws

Review of the Discrict of Coumbia Divorce State Law

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Washington DC Divorce Laws Explained

District of Columbia Residency Requirements For Divorce

Either spouse must have lived in the District of Columbia for at least six months before filing District of Columbia divorce forms. Military personnel are eligible to file if they have been stationed in the District of Columbia for at least six months.

Grounds For Divorce In District of Columbia

The only grounds for divorce in the District of Columbia are:

  • mutual voluntary separation without cohabitation for six months;
  • living separate and apart without cohabitation for one year.
District of Columbia Child Custody

The parties may agree to child custody arrangements which are best for their children. The courts may award joint or sole custody according to the best interests of the child.

The courts consider the follow factors and more when deciding on child custody:

  • wishes of the parents;
  • willingness of parents to share custody;
  • mental and physical health of all parties involved;
  • potential disruption of child’s social and school life.
District of Columbia Child Support Guidelines

Unless special circumstances are present, the courts calculate child support based on the official child support guidelines. Child support will continue until the child reaches adulthood, and may be extended through his or her secondary education.


District of Columbia divorce forms may be filed in the petitioner’s or respondent’s county of residence.


Either party may file a motion requesting mediation of their disputed issues before or after filing District of Columbia divorce papers. If both parties submit to mediation, they may proceed in court on an uncontested basis.