You want to divorce your spouse in Washington, D.C. You know that the odds of saving the marriage are zero. You just want to get it over with, and you’re wondering how soon you can reach that goal. Will it take a week, a month, a year? Even more than asset division or custody rights, you care about the timeframe. You want to get on with your life.
There are a few things you should know here. First and foremost, if you just moved to D.C., you can’t file at all. At least one of you — you or your spouse — needs six months of residency first. That’s the minimum waiting time until you get the divorce underway.
If you are filing for a “fault-based” divorce due to cause, you may be able to do it more quickly. Maybe you don’t feel safe with your spouse or they were not faithful to the marriage. These days, though, many couples use no-fault divorce because it doesn’t require either spouse to shoulder the blame. You can do that in D.C., as you can in every state in America, but you can’t do it instantly. You have to separate first.
If the separation is voluntary and you both agree to it, it only has to last for six months. If the separation is less than voluntary, you may need to spend a year apart. You cannot cohabitate during this time. Once the waiting period is up, then you are allowed to get divorced.
So, there’s no easy answer when wondering how long it will take. It depends on your own situation and what you’re planning for your future. Just make sure you know what legal steps to take to make the process go as smoothly as possible. If you’re unsure what steps to take next, an attorney can help.