Washington D. C. Divorce Cases

Property

The trial court’s must consider the effect of the husband’s tax liability required on the distribution of marital property and debts.

Bernard v. Bernard, 730 A.2d 663 (D.C. 1999).

The trial court can distribute marital property that no longer exists if it finds that it was dissipated.

Herron v. Johnson, 714 A.2d 783 (D.C. 1998).

The good will of a law practice acquired during a marriage is marital property. However it was not included in the value of a husband’s partnership interest because he would not realize a portion of the firm’s goodwill if he left the firm or sold his interest according to the partnership agreement.

McDiarmid v. McDiarmid, 649 A.2d 810 (D.C. 1994).

Once property is placed in joint names, it is marital even if directly traceable to separate property.

Barbour v. Barbour, 464 A.2d 915 (DC 1983).

Children

Child support is a right that belongs to the child.

Burnette v. Void, 467 A.2d 606 (DC 1986).

The court, in its parens partriae role, must ensure that all child support awards, whether by voluntary agreement or court order, are sufficient to meet the child’s needs.

Wilcher v. Wilcher, 294 A.2d 486 (DC 1972).

In the District of Columbia, the child support obligation begins at birth and continues until the child turns 21 years old or becomes emancipated.

Butler v. Butler, 496 A.2d 621 (DC 1985).

There is a rebuttable presumption that child support should be awarded retroactive to the child’s date of birth.

W.M. v. D.S.C., 591 A.2d 837 (DC 1991).

Attorney Fees

The common law rule is that each party pays his or her own attorney fees. Therefore the court will award fees only when it is authorized by a specific statute or contract.

Washburn v. Washburn, 475 A.2d 410 (DC 1984).