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Child Custody
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District Of Columbia Child Custody

If parents in Washington, D.C., cannot reach a custody decision, then the judge will make a custody decision based on the best interests of the child. In most cases, Washington, D.C., courts prefer to have parents share custody unless shared custody would be harmful to the child. If shared custody is not appropriate, by Washington, D.C., law the court must give equal consideration to both the mother and father when deciding which parent will have primary residential custody.

Both parents are bound by the court's custody order once it has been signed by the judge and filed with the court clerk. Changing the custody order will require one or both parents to show there has been a major change in circumstances and that it is to the child's detriment if custody is not changed.

Washington, D.C., Paternity

In Washington, D.C., there are several ways to establish paternity of a child:

  • Voluntary acknowledgement of paternity
  • Petition filed with the D.C. Superior Court
  • Genetic testing
  • Court hearing

Washington, D.C., Child Support

In Washington, D.C., child support is calculated based on the combined gross income of the parents and how many children are being supported. The court is allowed to deviate from the child support guidelines if the calculation is inappropriate in a particular case.

Child support in Washington, D.C., can also be adjusted based on a change in circumstances. These would include:

  • A significant change in one parent's income
  • A change in which parent the child spends more time with
  • A change in the child's financial needs (such as extraordinary medical or educational expenses)

Once the divorce has been granted, child support payments that are processed through the Washington, D.C., Office of Attorney General Child Support Services Division can be set up online, making the process more convenient for both parties. If payment of child support becomes a problem, the Washington, D.C., Office of Attorney General Child Support Services Division is responsible for child support enforcement.

Additional Washington, D.C., Custody Resources

Information about how child support is affected when child custody changes in Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C., Family Court

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction & Enforcement Act

Information about the Washington, D.C., Non-Custodial Parent Employment Initiative