Welcome to the Family Law Practice Area of probono.net/dc!
Join this site if you are a volunteer attorney, legal services advocate, law student or faculty representing low income and disadvantaged clients.
NEW!! D.C. Superior Court institutes eFiling in the Neglect and Abuse, Juvenile, and Domestic Relations Branches of the Family Court.
Mandatory e-filing began on December 10, 2012. Click here for the full text of the Administrative Order. The CaseFileXpress User Manual is available here, and training slides for using eFiling are available here.
You can register for eFiling at www.casefilexpress.com (click on login button and select DC New Version). For assistance with eFiling, you can contact a customer service representative 24/7 at their toll-free number 877-433-4533 or by email during business hours at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that initial complaints must still be filed in person at the Central Intake Center, Room JM-520 (JM level), D.C. Superior Court, 500 Indiana Ave., NW.
No greater legal need exists in D.C. than for lawyers to represent those parents, third party caregivers, and immigrants attempting to stabilize and protect their families. And there is possibly no greater professional satisfaction than for a lawyer to make a difference in the life of a family in crisis.
The Family Law Practice Area provides pro bono, court-appointed and legal services lawyers with the tools necessary to be effective advocates in adoption, custody, divorce, support, and abuse and neglect matters. Volunteer opportunities are available through the Co-Host organizations, as well as many other legal service agencies in D.C. Most organizations provide training and support (including mentoring), and some provide malpractice insurance.
You can join the Family Law Practice Area if you provide pro bono representation through one of the Co-Host organizations or through one of the other legal service agencies in D.C. Legal service practitioners are also encouraged to join. Click here to join this area.
New Court of Appeals cases
Note: If the links are broken, visit the Opinions page on the D.C. Court of Appeals website.
In re M.F. (September 27, 2012) (neglect adjudication affirmed; hearsay/failure to object; ability of court to compel disclosure of report in possession of U.S. Attorney's office; temporary visitation order is not an appealable order)
In re D.S. (September 20, 2012) (disposition order in neglect case committing child to custody of D.C. Child and Family Services Agency reversed; trial court did not consider constitutional and statutory parental presumption)
In re Jackson (September 6, 2012) (trial judges may initiate and preside over but may not prosecute non-summary criminal contempt in a civil protection order case; trial judges should first ask the USAO or OAG to prosecute; if they decline, trial judges may appoint a private attorney to prosecute the criminal contempt in the name and on behalf of the United States)
Graves v. Graves (September 6, 2012) (in a divorce proceeding, the court may not distribute marital property in which a third party has an interest unless the third party is joined as a party)
Abdulqasim v. Mahmoud (August 9, 2012) (divorce and distribution of property upheld; bona fide residence/domicile)
In re C.L.O. (April 12, 2012) (adoption affirmed; analysis of constitutional rights of non-custodial parent who was unaware of child's birth)
Kenda v. Pleskovic (March 22, 2012) (party is judicially estopped from raising UCCJEA jurisdictional issue in a custody case)
McClintic v. McClintic (March 22, 2012) (standard for awarding "suit money" in a divorce action)
A.R. v. F.C. (December 22, 2011) (an intrafamily relationship is not a requirement for a civil protection order based on stalking, sexual assault or sexual abuse)
In re J.R. (December 22, 2011) (evidence sufficient for a neglect adjudication; jurisdiction)
In re M.L. (September 8, 2011) (neglect adjudication upheld; admissibility of court-ordered mental health evaluations; no error in precluding child's testimony)
In re K.D. and S.D. (August 25, 2011) (adoption by foster parent affirmed; competing petitions; parent's preference must be given "weighty consideration")
April 2013 Keeping Current training bulletin from Children's Law Center is available in the Family Law library/Abuse and Neglect folder here.
Domestic Violence Case Digest, updated January 2013, covering topics such as civil protection orders, criminal contempt, divorce and domestic violence, etc. now posted in the NEW Domestic Violence folder here.
The Military Parents' Child Custody and Visitation Rights Act of 2012 enacts D.C. § 16-914.02, addressing issues in connection with deploying parents.
The Civil Marriage Dissolution Equality Act of 2012 allows a same-sex spouse to obtain a divorce in D.C. without either spouse being a residence if neither spouse resides in a jurisdiction in which same-sex spouses can obtain a divorce.
The Domestic Violence Clerk's office and the Domestic Violence Intake Unit have moved. The clerk's office is now in Room 4510 and the DVIC is in Room 4550.
D.C. Superior Court has issued Administrative Order 11-17 regarding possession and use of electronic devices in courtrooms. The order is posted on the court's website here.
New D.C. regulations about protecting foster children from identity theft are posted in the Abuse and Neglect - Statutes, rules, regulations folder.
D.C. Superior Court Administrative Orders 11-13 and 11-14, "Procedures for Adjudicating Applications to Amend Birth Certificates" and "Procedures for Adjudicating Applications for Change of Name" were issued on August 4, 2011. Cases involving minors or cases in which the applicant is involved in a pending Family Court case are to be filed in or assigned to Family Court. The full text of Admninistrative Order 11-13 is available here and Administrative Order 11-14 is available here.
D.C. Superior Court Administrative Order 11-15, "Procedures for Stand-in Attorneys Representing Parents in Family Treatment Court," was issued August 4, 2011. A copy of the Administrative Order is posted in the appropriate folders in the Family Law Library and is posted on the court's website here.
Rule Promulgation Order 11-4, issued on July 28, 2011, amends several of the court's General Family rules. The order and rules are posted in the appropriate folders in the Family Law Library, and is posted on the court's website here.
Fact sheets on several recent changes to D.C. law are available in the Abuse and Neglect - Practice materials folder. The fact sheets address new laws about post-adoption contact, access to neglect and juvenile records, and school stability for foster children.
D.C. Law 18-312, effective March 12, 2011, amends the neglect statute regarding school stability for foster children. The law includes provisions creating a presumption in favor of the child attending the school the child was enrolled in prior to his/her removal and placement in shelter care or foster care. The new presumption is particularly strong at the shelter care stage, but it applies throughout a case. To see the legislation on the D.C. Council website, click here.
The D.C. Superior Court adopted Rule Promulgation Order 11-02 which amends General Family Rule D to eliminate the requirement that parties consent to a matter being heard by a magistrate judge. A copy of the order is posted on the court's website here.
What's in the Library
Resources in the Family Law Practice Area library include training materials, links to relevant statutes, community resources, sample pleadings and important contact information in the following family law areas:
- Domestic Violence *NEW*