You can file for divorce in District of Columbia (“DC”) if either you or your spouse has been a resident of DC for six months before the date you file the divorce papers with the court. It does not matter where you are married. Only one of you has to meet the DC residency requirement. One can only ask for alimony and distribution of marital property in your divorce case. You will lose your opportunity to obtain alimony and distribution of marital property if you do not ask for them in your divorce case.
One may include requests for child custody and child support in a divorce case. You also can ask for child custody and/or child support in a separate case from the divorce case. In some instances a divorce can be filed in the District of Columbia but child custody and/or child support must be filed in another state. There are two grounds for divorce in DC
The court system can be confusing and it is a good idea to get a lawyer if you can. The law, the proofs necessary to present your case, and the procedural rules governing cases in the Law Division, Civil Part are complex. Since valuable claims or potentially heavy judgments may be at stake, most litigants appearing in the Law Division, Civil Part have a lawyer. If you are being sued, please contact your insurance company to see if they might provide a lawyer for you. Most likely your opponent will be represented by a lawyer. It is recommended that you make every effort to obtain the assistance of a lawyer. If you cannot afford a lawyer, you may contact the legal services program in your county to see if you qualify for free legal services. The telephone number can be found online or in your local yellow pages under “Legal Aid” or “Legal Services.”
In New Jersey, divorce cases (termed “dissolution cases” by the courts) are filed and heard in the Family Division of the Superior Court at the county court level. After a case is completed and a judgment of divorce issued, the case is closed. Records for closed divorce cases are stored and archived by the Superior Court Clerk’s Office at our warehouse in Trenton. The number of years between the time a case is closed and the time the case records are transferred to the Superior Court Clerk’s Office for archiving varies from county to county.
In many circumstances it may not be necessary to obtain a copy of the actual Judgment of Divorce. The Superior Court Clerk’s Office can prepare a Certificate of Divorce for a nominal fee. The certificate contains the county of venue, docket number, names of the parties and date of the Final Judgment of Divorce, and is stamped with the Seal of the Superior Court.
The decision of whether or not to go to trial and to have a judge decide contested issues often involves a cost-benefit analysis. If the financial benefit that may be received from going to trial is high compared to the cost of going to trial, it may make sense to go to trial. For example, if wife and husband dispute the value of a business started by the husband during the marriage and the difference in their valuations is substantial, then it may make sense to let a judge decide the issue rather than give in to an unreasonable valuation by the other side.
Notice of nature of matrimonial action: Proof of Service
a. In an action to annul a marriage or for divorce or for separation, if the complaint is not personally served with the summons, the summons shall have legibly written or printed upon the face thereof: “Action to annul a marriage”, “Action to declare the nullity of a void marriage”, “Action for a divorce”, or “Action for a separation”, as the case may be, and shall specify the nature of any ancillary relief demanded. A judgment shall not be rendered in favor of the plaintiff upon the defendant’s default in appearing or pleading, unless either (1) the summons and a copy of the complaint were personally delivered to the defendant; or (2) the copy of the summons (a) personally delivered to the defendant, or (b) served on the defendant pursuant to an order directing the method of service of the summons in accordance with the provisions of section three hundred eight or three hundred fifteen of the civil practice law and rules, shall contain such notice
b. An affidavit or certificate proving service shall state affirmatively in the body thereof that the required notice was written or printed on the face of the copy of the summons delivered to the defendant and what knowledge the affiant or officer who executed the certificate had that he was the defendant named and how he acquired such knowledge. The court may require the affiant or officer who executed the affidavit or certificate to appear in court and be examined in respect thereto.
The Judgment of Divorce (Form UD-11) needs to be filed and entered in the County Clerk’s Office. The manner in which this occurs depends upon the procedure of the county in which you brought the action. Consult the Supreme Court Clerk’s Office for information regarding your obligations for the retrieval and/or entry of the signed judgment and supporting papers. Should you receive notice that the papers have been filed on your behalf by the court, or if you file the papers, you may go to the County Clerk’s Office to obtain a certified copy of the judgment. You must bring identification with you, because matrimonial files are confidential and information will be released only to a party or his or her attorney. The certified copy will cost between $4.00 and $10.00, but the fee will be waived if you obtained a poor person waiver. A copy of the judgment of divorce must be served on the Defendant. To do this, you must have served on the Defendant a copy of the signed and entered Judgment of Divorce (Form UD-11), together with the completed Notice of Entry (Form UD-14). Service by mail is sufficient. You should ask the Process Server who serves the Judgment of Divorce with Notice of Entry to sign the Affidavit of Service of Judgment of Divorce (Form UD-15) before a Notary Public. A copy of the Judgment of Divorce and Notice of Entry must be attached to the signed and notarized Affidavit of Service. Keep the Affidavit with your important papers.
After you have completed Steps 1-7, you are ready to place your case on the court’s calendar. If the Defendant consents to the action by signing the Affidavit of Defendant (Form UD-7), you may place your case on the court’s calendar immediately. Otherwise, you will have to wait until 40 days after the date of the service of the summons.
You must complete the following steps to place your case on the calendar:
STEP 8: You must complete Forms UD-3 through UD-12 (include UD-7 only if signed by the Defendant). Form UD-3 (Affidavit of Service) and Form UD-4 (Sworn Statement of Removal of Barriers to Remarriage) need not be completed, or filed, if the Defendant has signed Form UD-7 (Affidavit of Defendant) and checked Box 6b on the form, Form UD-8(3) Child Support Worksheet, Form UD-8a (Support Collection Unit Information Sheet) and Form UD-8b (Qualified Medical Child Support Order) need not be completed, or filed, if there are no un- emancipated children of the marriage. Form UD-8(2) (Maintenance Guidelines Worksheet) need not be completed or filed or if neither party seeks maintenance as payee under the Maintenance Guidelines Law. Form UD-8(1) (Annual Income Worksheet) is not required if neither party seeks maintenance or child support.
STEP 1. Prepare an original and two copies of the Summons With Notice (Form UD-1) or the Summons and Verified Complaint (Form UD-1a and Form UD-2).
STEP 2.Purchase an index number at the County Clerk’s Office and file the original of the Summons With Notice or the original of the Summons and Verified Complaint with the County Clerk. Unless you are granted a poor person’s waiver, you will be required to pay $210 for the index number. Check with the County Clerk regarding acceptable forms of payment. Many County Clerks also will require that you fill out an Index Number Application Form at the time of filing, so be sure to bring with you the names, addresses and telephone numbers of all of the attorneys or, if unrepresented, of the parties themselves.
Usually, the total fees will be approximately $400, as follows:
Starting the case: It costs $210 to buy a case Index Number at your County Clerk’s Office to start a New York State divorce case.
Later in the case: Other fees totaling approximately $160 will have to be paid. These additional fees will be described as you follow the steps in this booklet.
At the end of the case: If the court grants the divorce, several other fees will have to paid for certain legal papers showing that the divorce was approved. These costs vary from county to county, but will roughly total $5-$30.
Direct payment of a former spouse’s health insurance normally is not part of an alimony agreement or order, although the recipient certainly may wish to use some of the alimony payments to purchase health insurance if the recipient is not already covered.
When a couple divorces, the health insurance policy covering the family (if there was such a policy) no longer covers both spouses. The policy covers only the spouse who had insurance through work or through an individual policy. Children who were covered under a family policy generally are still covered under the policy after a divorce.
A federal law passed in the 1980s requires most employer sponsored group health plans to offer divorced spouses of covered workers continued coverage at group rates for as long as three years after the divorce. The divorced spouse of a worker must pay for the coverage, but the coverage is available.