Legal Information: District of Columbia

Custody

Updated: 
December 27, 2016

Can I file for custody in D.C.?

You can only file for custody in D.C. if:

  • D.C. is your child’s “home state” when you file for child custody;
  • D.C. was your child’s “home state” within 6 months before you filed for child custody, even if the child doesn’t live in D.C. any longer, as long as one of the child’s parents (or a person acting as a parent) still lives in D.C;
  • the court in the state where the child is living says that they do not have jurisdiction (power) over the case because D.C. is the more appropriate place to deal with the issue of custody and all of the following are true:
    • the child and her/his parent (or a person acting like a parent) have a significant connection to D.C.;
    • there is a lot of evidence in D.C. about the child’s care, protection, training, and personal relationships; or
  • there is another state’s court that legally has jurisdiction but they choose to let D.C. have jurisdiction over the case because D.C. is the more appropriate place to determine custody.*

* D.C. Code § 16-4602.01