Nadeau Introduces Elaine’s Law to Protect Survivors of Abuse in Divorce Proceedings

The bill is named after Elaine Rigas, a Ward 1 resident and survivor of domestic violence, who shared her story with Councilmember Nadeau. Because she was the top earner in her marriage, her abusive husband dragged her to court to force Elaine to pay spousal support, health care costs, attorney fees, part of her government pension, and other fees to her abuser in the divorce proceedings.

Elaine’s Law seeks to end this type of situation in the District. Specifically, the “Alimony Justice for Injured Spouses Amendment Act of 2018” legislation would:

  • Prohibit a claim from an injuring spouse when there has been a judicial finding they have committed an intrafamily offense for:
    • Alimony; 
    • Any interest in the injured spouse’s pension and retirement benefits; or 
    • Attorney fees;
  • It would void any claim of stemming from an affidavit of support of the injuring spouse if entered into before a finding of intrafamily violence; and
  • It would allow an injured spouse to be granted a divorce within 3 months upon the finding of an intrafamily violence.

The full text of the bill as introduced is below.



Councilmember Nadeau sent the following letter to the City Administrator and the Director of the Office of Unified Communications on Tuesday to express her deep concern over the 911 dispatch center's ongoing failure to dispatch assistance where it is needed. She called the failures "alarming and unacceptable."
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