Washington, D.C. Divorce Lawyers
We fight aggressively for you in a divorce
The firm’s divorce attorneys fight aggressively for your welfare while treating you with compassion during your emotional transition. We represent you not only in the dissolution of your marriage but in all related matters, such as alimony, property division, same-sex marriage, and child custody. The firm serves the Washington, DC metropolitan area, which includes Northern Virginia and Maryland.
What’s the difference between a contested and an uncontested divorce in Washington D.C.?
Depending on their specific circumstances, parties can file for either a contested or an uncontested divorce. These differ in the following ways:
- Uncontested divorce — An uncontested divorce is available when the parties agree on all the issues — custody, child support, alimony, and division of property. An uncontested divorce generally is faster and less costly than a contested divorce. It is prudent to retain a family law attorney even in an uncontested divorce.
- Contested divorce — A contested divorce is one in which the parties cannot agree, either about getting divorced or about the terms of the divorce, such as the division of assets and debts, alimony, child support, or child custody. Many divorces that start out contested may become uncontested before trial because the parties were able to negotiate a settlement.
What happens to our shared debts in the division of assets?
If you incurred debt as a married couple, those debts will need to be divided between the two of you and resolved as part of the divorce agreement. Whether it’s credit card debt, the mortgage or home equity loans on your house, income taxes owed, or other debts, if it is marital debt, then you are both responsible for paying it off.
What are the options for child custody and visitation arrangements for the children?
Courts decide custody based on several factors, but the overriding factor is what the court determines to be in the best interest of the child. Joint custody is most often the basic presumption, but depending on your situation, that may not be appropriate. Here are the three main types of custody arrangements:
- Joint legal and physical custody shared between both parents
- Joint legal custody, but with physical custody granted to one parent and visitation rights (parenting time) given to the other parent
- Sole legal and physical custody with visitation rights granted to the other parent
The most favorable option is one in which parents work out an arrangement that is in the best interest of the child and preserves each parent’s relationship to and contact with the child.
When couples are unable to work out a fair and agreeable arrangement on their own, the judge will make that decision for you.
How is the amount of child support I must pay calculated?
In most jurisdictions, the amount of child support that you would be obliged to pay is determined by using the applicable child support guideline calculator. This means that a uniform measure is used so that parents within the same financial status and custodial arrangements pay or receive the same amount of child support.
How is alimony (spousal maintenance) determined?
If you have been married to your spouse for a significant amount of time, and if your income is much higher than your spouse’s, you may be ordered to pay alimony. The amount of spousal support ordered and the length of time you might be ordered to pay it will be determined by the court. The court will consider several factors including, but not limited to:
- The ability of the spouse seeking alimony to be self-supporting financially
- The standard of living that the couple enjoyed while they were married
- The duration of the marriage