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District of Columbia Divorce Forms
This is a list of the most commonly filed divorce forms for the state of District of Columbia. Following the list is a brief summary of each form and its purpose. This list of forms is not exhaustive and not all forms listed are required for every divorce. Due to unique case situations and special divorce filing procedures in District of Columbia, certain forms may or may not be required by the District of Columbia courts.
When alimony and/or child support is an issue, the Plaintiff must file a Finance Statement, which provides information about income, monthly expenses and the assets and liabilities of the couple.
Master Child Support Worksheet
In cases where child support is sought, the Plaintiff must complete a Master Child Support Worksheet, which calculates the support based on the age and number of children, the gross income of both parents and the actual gross income of the noncustodial parent.
Complaint for Absolute Divorce
The Plaintiff starts the action with the Complaint for Absolute Divorce, which identifies the parties, the grounds and the relief desired.
Vital Statistics Form
The District of Columbia Vital Statistics records the action for statistical records.
Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis Application
An indigent Plaintiff may file an application for a Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis, which the court, if it approves, exempts him or her from all or some of the fees associated with the divorce action.
Affidavit of Service by Certified Mail
The Plaintiff must file an Affidavit of Service by Certified Mail when the Defendent receives the divorce papers by certified mail. The green postal receipt card, signed and returned by the Defendant, is attached to the affidavit, and it becomes part of the record.
Motion to Allow Service by Publication
The Plaintiff files a Motion to Allow Service by Publication when the Defendant cannot or will not be located to accept service. The Motion is filed with Points and Authorities and an Affidavit of Service by Certified Mail.
Affidavit of Attempted Service & Non Residency in Support of Motion to Allow Service by Publication
The Affidavit states the Plaintiff’s belief that the spouse has lived outside of District of Columbia for the last six months and describes his or her efforts at making a diligent search to locate him or her.
Order Publication-Absent Defendant
An Order Publication-Absent Defendant is filed with the Affidavit of Service, and service by publication in a newspaper is thereafter ordered by the court. If this fails to produce a response from the Defendant, the action proceeds as a default.
Points and Authorities in Support of Motion to Allow Service by Publication
A Plaintiff who has made an unsuccessful attempt to serve a missing spouse must file a Points and Authorities in Support of Motion to Allow Service by Publication. The statement cites the codes and laws that permit the Plaintiff to serve the Defendant by publication.
In an contested divorce, the Defendant files a form in which he or she agrees to the action. In a contested divorce, the Defendant files an answer in which he or she agrees or disagrees in part or in whole with the allegations in the Complaint.
Praecipe for Default and Ex Parte Hearing
The Plaintiff may file a Praecipe for Default and Ex Parte Hearing if the Defendant fails to file an Answer within the 20-day time limit. Depending upon the circumstances, the court may appoint an attorney to protect the interests of the Defendant. If not, the Plaintiff then files an Affidavit in Support of Default with the Praecipe for Default. In addition, the Plaintiff must file a Soldier and Sailors Affidavit, which certifies that the Defendant is not in the military and not entitled to any protection under the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act. A Praecipe for Default is attached to a Default Order, which grants the Plaintiff the relief he or she sought.
Affidavit in Support of Default
The Plaintiff files an Affidavit in Support of Default after the Defendant has failed to file an Answer to the Complaint within 20-day time limit.
Affidavit in Compliance with Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act of 1940The Affidavit in Compliance with Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act of 1940 (now called the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act) certifies that the Defendant is not a member of the military and is not entitled to any protections from civil litigation under the act. This Affidavit is used in conjunction with defaults.
A Default Order by the court permits the action to move forward as a default, which means the Plaintiff receives the relief he or she seeks.
Praecipe for Uncontested Divorce
In contested actions, the Plaintiff files a Praecipe, which instructs the clerk to set a date for a hearing.
Consent Form to Have Proceedings Conducted by a Commissioner
In uncontested actions, both spouses must sign a Consent Form that certifies they agree to have their case heard by a Commissioner, who makes findings of fact and conclusions of law that are referred to a judge.
Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Judgment of Absolute Divorce
The commissioner’s Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Judgment for Absolute Divorce become the basis for the Decree of Divorce.
Joint Waiver of Appeal
Both parties sign a Joint Waiver by which they give up their rights to appeal an uncontested divorce.
In the District of Columbia, legal separation, divorce a mensa et thoro ("from bed and board"), may be granted on the grounds of 1) adultery, 2) cruelty, 3) voluntary separation and 4) living separate and apart without cohabitation.
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