2012 District of Columbia Code
Section 16-904

Grounds for divorce, legal separation, and annulment

(a) A divorce from the bonds of marriage may be granted if:

(1) both parties to the marriage have mutually and voluntarily lived separate and apart without cohabitation for a period of six months next preceding the commencement of the action;

(2) both parties to the marriage have lived separate and apart without cohabitation for a period of one year next preceding the commencement of the action.

(b) A legal separation from bed and board may be granted if:

(1) both parties to the marriage have mutually and voluntarily lived separate and apart without cohabitation; or

(2) both parties to the marriage have lived separate and apart without cohabitation for a period of one year next preceding the commencement of the action.

(3) Repealed.

(4) Repealed.

(c) For purposes of subsections (1) and (2) of paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section, parties who have pursued separate lives, sharing neither bed nor board, shall be deemed to have lived separate and apart from one another even though:

(1) they reside under the same roof; or

(2) the separation is pursuant to an order of a court.

(d) Marriage contracts may be annulled in the following cases:

(1) where such marriage was contracted while either of the parties thereto had a former spouse living, unless the former marriage had been lawfully dissolved;

(2) where such marriage was contracted during the insanity of either party (unless there has been voluntary cohabitation after the discovery of the insanity);

(3) where such marriage was procured by fraud or coercion;

(4) where either party was matrimonially incapacitated at the time of marriage without the knowledge of the other and has continued to be so incapacitated; or

(5) where either of the parties had not attained the age of legal consent to the contract of marriage (unless there has been voluntary cohabitation after attaining the age of legal consent), but in such cases only at the suit of the party who had not attained such age.

CREDIT(S)

(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 560, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1; Sept. 29, 1965, 79 Stat. 889, Pub. L. 89-217, § 2; Apr. 7, 1977, D.C. Law 1-107, title I, § 102, 23 DCR 8737; Mar. 24, 1998, D.C. Law 12-81, § 10(f), 45 DCR 745; Oct. 19, 2002, D.C. Law 14-207, § 2(b), 49 DCR 7827; Sept. 12, 2008, D.C. Law 17-231, § 20(a), 55 DCR 6758.)

HISTORICAL AND STATUTORY NOTES

Prior Codifications
1981 Ed., § 16-904.
1973 Ed., § 16-904.
Effect of Amendments
D.C. Law 14-207, in subsec. (b), made nonsubstantive changes in pars. (1) and (2), and repealed pars. (3) and (4). Prior to repeal, pars. (3) and (4) read as follows:
“(3) either party has committed adultery; or
“(4) either party has engaged in conduct which constitutes cruelty toward the other.”
D.C. Law 17-231, in subsec. (d)(1), substituted “spouse” for “wife or husband”.
Legislative History of Laws
For legislative history of D.C. Law 1-107, see Historical and Statutory Notes following § 16-902.
Law 12-81, the “Technical Amendments Act of 1998,” was introduced in Council and assigned Bill No. 12-408, which was referred to the Committee of the Whole. The Bill was adopted on first and second readings on November 4, 1997, and December 4, 1997, respectively. Signed by the Mayor on December 22, 1997, it was assigned Act No. 12-246 and transmitted to both Houses of Congress for its review. D.C. Law 12-81 became effective on March 24, 1998.
Law 14-207, the “Domestic Relations Laws Clarifications Act of 2002”, was introduced in Council and assigned Bill No. 14-635, which was referred to Committee on the Judiciary. The Bill was adopted on first and second readings on June 4, 2002, and July 2, 2002, respectively. Signed by the Mayor on July 23, 2002, it was assigned Act No. 14-441 and transmitted to both Houses of Congress for its review. D.C. Law 14-207 became effective on October 19, 2002.
Law 17-231, the “Omnibus Domestic Partnership Equality Amendment Act of 2008”, was introduced in Council and assigned Bill No. 17-135, which was referred to the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary. The Bill was adopted on first and second readings on April 1, 2008, and May 6, 2008, respectively. Signed by the Mayor on June 6, 2008, it was assigned Act No. 17-403 and transmitted to both Houses of Congress for its review. D.C. Law 17-231 became effective on September 12, 2008.

Current through September 13, 2012

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