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Divorce Laws in Delaware

According to the State of Delaware website, “before you file for divorce, you and your spouse must be legally separated. Under Delaware law, in order to be legally separated, you and your spouse must not share the same bedroom or have sexual relations with one another, except for attempts at reconciliation. You can still be separated if you live in the same house so long as you do not share the same bedroom with your spouse or have sexual relations with your spouse.”

There is a six month waiting period for no fault divorce. Court ordered or forced marriage counseling is not allowed.

Residency and Jurisdiction
One party must have lived in Delaware for at least six months or have been stationed in Delaware as a member of the military for at least six months prior to filing the petition.

Grounds for Divorce
The only acceptable grounds for divorce in Delaware are that the marriage is irretrievably broken and that reconciliation is improbable.

A marriage is irretrievably broken where it is characterized by:

  • Voluntary separation
  • Separation caused by respondent's misconduct
  • Separation caused by respondent's mental illness
  • Separation caused by incompatibility

Temporarily sleeping in the same bedroom and resumption of sexual relations, shall not interrupt any period of living separate and apart, provided that the parties have not occupied the same bedroom or had sexual relations with each other within the 30-day period immediately preceding the filing date.

Division of Property
Delaware is an “equitable distribution state”, meaning the property is not divided 50/50 but rather in a manner that the court deems fair to both parties. When dividing property the court must consider:

  • The duration of the marriage
  • Any prior marriage of the party
  • The age, health, station, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities and needs of each of the parties
  • Whether the property award is in lieu of or in addition to alimony
  • The opportunity of each for future acquisitions of capital assets and income
  • The contribution or dissipation of each party in the acquisition, preservation, depreciation or appreciation of the marital property, including the contribution of a party as homemaker, husband, or wife
  • The value of the property set apart to each party
  • The economic circumstances of each party at the time the division of property is to become effective, including the desirability of awarding the family home or the right to live therein for reasonable periods to the party with whom any children of the marriage will live
  • Whether the property was acquired by gift
  • The debts of the parties
  • Tax consequences

Spousal Support
Misconduct is not considered in determining spousal support. Alimony lasts no more than half the duration of the marriage unless the marriage was 20 years or longer.

Child Custody and Support
In cases involving children, parenting classes are required. If the children are between the ages of eight and sixteen they must also attend the classes.
Child support is calculated on the Percentage of Income formula.

If you are considering or facing divorce in Delaware, contact an experienced Delaware divorce attorney today.

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Disclaimer: Divorce law information contained throughout this page is intended to generally inform you about divorce law in Delaware and introduce you to divorce lawyers throughout the U.S. The information regarding divorce and divorce law is not meant to be taken as legal advice. If you like to speak with an experienced divorce attorney, click on the link to your state to find an experienced divorce lawyer in your area for an initial consultation.
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