Deciding to get a divorce can be a difficult decision. There are many emotions involved, finances to consider, and legal steps to take. All of these factors can be overwhelming and that’s why it is important to have an experienced family law attorney to walk you through the process. Divorce attorneys at Bruckheim & Patel strive to make a tough situation a little easier.

Types of Divorce

The District of Columbia is a “no-fault” divorce jurisdiction. Which means a couple can get divorced without having to prove that the reason for the divorce was the fault of the other spouse.

No-Fault Divorce

The most common ground for no-fault divorce is “irreconcilable differences.”

The District also requires:

  • At least one of the spouses must be a bona fide resident of the District of Columbia for six months; and
  • Both spouses have lived separate and apart without cohabitation for a period of one year before filing for divorce.

Fault Divorce

Although fault divorces are fairly uncommon, our neighboring jurisdiction of Virginia still recognizes fault divorces. So it is important to understand what they entail.

Unlike a no-fault divorce, a spouse can file for divorce based on the fault of the other spouse. A waiting period of living apart is not required to file for fault divorce.

The fault grounds in Virginia include:

Adultery

A felony conviction and confinement following the conviction
Cruelty, willful desertion, or abandonment

The spouse bringing the fault divorce has to prove their claim by providing evidence beyond their word. This is done by having witnesses testify to corroborate the facts. The accused spouse has the right to bring a defense. But courts will usually grant a divorce no matter the defense because they have an interest in not forcing people to stay married.

Since the court will take the fault ground into consideration when making its decision on division of property and alimony, providing a defense is useful.

Contact divorce attorneys at Bruckheim & Patel to discuss the best kind of divorce to file depending on the state where you live and your individual circumstances.