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WOW! It sounds like you have had more than your share of problems! I am very sorry that you find yourself in this situation.
You can either file for divorce first, or wait for him to file. If you wait for him to file, then you won't have to pay the filing fees.
If he files first, and you intend to contest the divorce, you MUST file an Answer to the Complaint. You can also file a Counter-Complaint for Divorce. That way, you are covered in any circumstance. And, you won't have to pay to file your Answer and Counter-Complaint for Divorce.
If you decide to file first, or even if he files first, you can ask that the court enter temporary orders pending the outcome of the divorce. Those temporary orders can include, but not be limited to, a temporary order for spousal support
, and order that you be allowed to occupy the marital home until the divorce is final. If he walked out, it is possible that the court will allow you to stay in the home.
Since Washington D.C. is an "equitable distribution
" state, the marital property shall be divided in an equitable fashion. Equitable does not mean equal, but rather what is fair. The court will encourage the parties to reach a settlement on property and debt issues otherwise the court will declare the property award.
If you cannot stipulated to a property settlement, the court will distinguish what property is separate and what is marital. Separate property includes, but is not limited to, any property acquired prior to the marriage, gifts, and inheritances. Any property other than separate property will be divided equitably by the court after considering the following factors: (1) the contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the marital property, including the contribution of each spouse as homemaker; (2) the duration of the marriage; (3) the spouses occupations; (4) the vocational skills of the spouses; (5) the employability of the spouses; (6) the estate, liabilities, and needs of each spouse and the opportunity of each for further acquisition of capital assets and income; (7) the separate property and debts of the spouses; (8) any prior marriage of each spouse; (9) whether the property award is instead of or in addition to alimony
; (10) any custodial provisions for the children; (11) the age and health of the spouses; and (12) the amount and sources of income of the spouses. (District of Columbia Code - Title 16 - Chapter 9 - Sections: 910)
Again, I am sorry that you have gone from the frying pan into the fire! You may wish to contact an attorney who specializes in family law
. Sometimes, an initial consultation is free or at a minimal cost. You can discuss the specific facts of your case, evaluate your options and decide how to proceed.
Below is a link to the District of Columbia Bar Association attorney referral page.
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***Answers given are for informational purposes only and are not meant to replace the advice or assistance of an attorney licensed to practice law in your state. If you need any more information, please do not hesitate to ask. Thank you!