Washington DC allows you to complete your divorce without an attorney if you and your spouse can come to an agreement on what to do with your property and how you will care for any children that you have.
DC Residency Requirements
To file for divorce in the District of Columbia (DC), at least one spouse must have lived in DC continuously for at least six months at the time the divorce is filed.
*Same-Sex Residency Exception: A same sex couple can divorce in DC even if neither spouse has lived in DC for the last six months, as long as the spouses married in DC and both live in jurisdictions where they cannot obtain a same-sex divorce.
Grounds For Divorce
To file for no-fault divorce in DC, you must have been separated for at least six (6) months. Spouses are considered to be separated in DC even if they live under the same roof as long as they have separate bedrooms, sleep in separate beds, do not engage in a sexual relationship, and do not engage in activities commonly associated with being a married couple.
Below are the no-fault grounds in detail. Only one of the grounds need to be met:
- Six Month Separation: Both spouses have agreed mutually and voluntarily to separate and have been living apart, without a sexual relationship, for at least six months before the date the divorce is filed; OR
- One Year Separation: The spouses have been living separate and apart, regardless of whether both spouses agreed, without a sexual relationship, for at least one year before the date the divorce is filed.
Filing Your Washington DC Divorce
After completing the online interview, DivorceWriter will send you the divorce forms you prepared online along with detailed DC filing procedures. The basic steps for filing your divorce are as follows:
- File a Complaint for Absolute Divorce. If your spouse's Answer to Complaint is filed at the same time as your Complaint, there is no need to formally serve your spouse with divorce papers. If no Answer is filed, your spouse must be served with divorce papers, and then you must wait for the 20-day answer period to pass.
- If your spouse's Answer to the Complaint was filed in Step 1, the spouses will sign a Separation Agreement and related documents. If no Answer was filed, you will file documents asking the Court to grant a divorce by default.
- You attend a brief divorce hearing. The Judge will sign and mail a Judgment of Divorce to both spouses. The divorce is not final until 30 days after the Judgment of Divorce is signed unless your spouse's Answer was filed with the Complaint, in which case the parties will also file a Joint Waiver of Appeal waiving the 30-day waiting period and allowing the divorce to be final immediately.
Division of property & debt, child parenting plan (including child support, visitation and custody), spousal support, and more are covered.
DivorceWriter provides forms specific to Washington DC and offers a money back guarantee if your documents are not accepted by the Court.
Where to find Blank State Forms
If you prefer to complete your forms on your own, they can be directly downloaded from the DC Courts and lawhelp.org at no cost using these links: