Frequently Asked Questions About Family Law in Washington, D.C.
Family problems rarely get better on their own, and sometimes legal counsel is necessary to protect your rights and interests. At the Law Offices of Jesse A. Gadson, PLLC in Washington, D.C., I provide comprehensive legal support to area clients in a wide range of domestic matters. Whether you’re going through a divorce, are involved in a custody dispute or have some other concern, my firm is committed to helping you achieve the result you seek. When we meet, I will take the time to learn about your unique situation and answer any question you might have, including:
- Where do I file my family law case in D.C.?
- How long does it take to get a divorce?
- How long does a domestic violence case take?
- What is the difference between legal and physical child custody?
- My case involves complicated issues. How can my attorney help?
The Family Court Operations Division is the section within the Superior Court of the District of Columbia that handles family law proceedings. These include matters related to divorce, adoption, custody disputes, child support, juvenile delinquency and mental health. Many of these matters can be resolved informally with the guidance of an experienced attorney, minimizing the time and expense associated with litigation.
For some, little more than a month passes between a divorce filing and the final order terminating the marriage. In other cases, negotiations and litigation might drag on for more than a year. You and your spouse have a great deal of control over how long the divorce process will take. When a settlement is possible, I work diligently to find a solution that satisfies both sides and allows them to move forward to the next chapter in their lives.
If you’ve been victimized by domestic violence or have been threatened with abuse, you should know that immediate help is available. In Washington, D.C., you can obtain a Temporary Protective Order even before a hearing is scheduled. This order can remain in effect for up to 14 days and might be superseded by a Civil Protection Order that typically lasts for one year. Those orders are issued after evidence is presented to the judge in a hearing.
When parents no longer live together, child custody orders cover two key areas: legal and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the authority parents have to make important decisions relating to their sons and daughters. Often, legal custody is shared so that both parents maintain influence over their child’s education, medical treatment and religious upbringing. Physical custody is used to describe where the young person will reside. If parents live near each other, joint physical custody might work, with the child spending roughly equal amounts of time in each parent’s home. In other situations, one parent might have primary physical custody while the other has appropriate visitation rights, which can include weekend and vacation stays.
Many family law challenges are complicated and might involve conflicts that have lingered for years, or even decades. This is why it is critical to hire an experienced family law attorney who can help you move past the emotional trauma and focus on the pressing legal issues. It can be tempting to use the litigation process to settle old scores, but a knowledgeable lawyer will outline what you can achieve through the legal process and work diligently to achieve the best result possible.