1. Document everything.
Whether you suspect you will soon be involved in litigation or are currently involved in the litigation you can greatly help your case by documenting everything. That means telephone calls, emails, and documents you receive. Basically any and everything related to your case that could be important as evidence and documentation. You do not want to be stuck in a situation where you know something happened, but have no way to prove it other than your word.
2. Don’t discuss your case with anyone besides your attorney
It may be tempting to blow of steam or share what’s going on with your case with friends or family members, but be advised that you could lose attorney-client privilege if you do so. Any information that you want to be protected by attorney-client privilege needs to be treated as such. If you tell your attorney something in confidence, and then turn around and tell your neighbor then you may risk losing the confidentiality protection.
3. Listen to the Judge
When it is time to go before the Judge one basic rule should stick in your mind: listen to the judge. It may be tempting to try and speak your mind about everything that opposing counsel or the other party has said, but keep in mind that it is your attorney’s job to sort through and find what needs responded to and when. If you talk out of turn or interrupt the judge to get your point across it will only irritate the judge. Let the other party act up while you keep your cool. That will allow you to come across as credible.
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Below are some of the frequently asked questions clients have when considering a legal separation:
Q: What is legal separation?
A: Legal separation is the end of cohabitation between spouses.
Q: Does a legal separation end my marriage?
A: A separation does not legally end a marriage. Only a divorce, annulment, etc. will legally end or void your marriage.
Q: Are the requirements for legal separation the same as for divorce?
A: No, the timing requirements are different. In order obtain a divorce in the District of Columbia you will had to have mutually lived separate and apart for six months or have involuntarily lived separate and apart for one year. In order to be eligible for a legal separation you must currently be living separately and apart. It also important to note that the Court will consider you and your spouse living separate and apart even if you live in the same house if you can prove you are living separate lives.
Q: Aside from separation what issues will the Court adjudicate in a legal separation case?
A: The Court can determine custody, child support, spousal support, and equitable distribution of marital property.
Q: If I get a legal separation can I later turn it into a divorce?
Contact the Barkat Law Firm to speak to a D.C. divorce attorney about obtaining a legal separation in the District of Columbia.
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In the D.C. metro area child custody disputes often arise that involve multiple states. For example, the children may reside in the District of Columbia, but one of the parents reside in Virginia or Maryland or vice versa. When a situation such as this arises the Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) sets the rules for jurisdiction over the child custody dispute.
Specifically the UCCJEA sets the rules as to what state’s courts have jurisdiction to enter and enforce custody orders. The UCCJEA is incorporated into the District of Columbia Code in §16-4601.01, and governs custody disputes in every state except Massachusetts.
The UCCJEA allows for four options for a state to claim jurisdiction over a child custody dispute. Those options are:
• Home state – the state has been the home state of the children for at least 6 months prior to the filing of a custody action
• Significant connection – the children have a significant connection to the state
• More appropriate forum – this option can only be used if other states have declined jurisdiction under the home state or significant connection options
• Last chance – if none of the 3 options above are available this fourth option may be used.
Should you become involved in a child custody dispute contact the Barkat Law Firm to speak with a D.C. child custody attorney about what options are available to you.
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