Delaware Delaware

Divorce Law Guide

Delaware Divorce Overview

Residency Requirement
Living Separate & Apart
Processing Time
Filing Fee
6 months
6 months
180 days

The facts about divorce in Delaware

Divorce, or dissolution of marriage, is the legal process of severing a marriage contract, which is overseen by a court of law in the state in which one or both of the divorcing spouses live. The process for getting a divorce and acceptible grounds for divorce vary from state to state.

In Delaware, a divorce can be completed on average in a minimum of 180 days, with court fees of $150.00. The state has divorce residency requirements that require the spouse filing for the divorce to have lived in Delaware for a minimum of six months.

On this page, you can learn about Delaware's grounds for divorce, how the divorce process works, and about other parts of the divorce process, such as Delaware alimony calculation, the property division process and more.

Delaware Divorce Law Summary

The state of Delaware is a state that requires proof that the marriage is irretrievable and reconciliation is improbable. The state will only allow a divorce in the case of voluntary separation, separation due to misconduct, separation due to mental illness and separation caused by incompatibility.

One interesting point in Delaware is that the courts have a definition for reconciliation which includes sleeping in the same bedroom and resumption of sexual relations if it happens within 30 days of the court appointed hearing.

The essential part of attempting to get a divorce is that the spouse that is seeking a divorce will need to bring proof of their case for it to be considered. Having a lawyer will help get through the steps necessary and be able to tell you what you will and will not need.

Delaware Divorce Guide - Frequently Asked Questions

In state of Delaware a number of factors are taken into account when ending a marriage.

1. Delaware Grounds for Divorce FAQ

Is Delaware a no-fault divorce state?

Delaware allows no-fault divorces, which means that a divorce is granted without establishing the fault of either spouse for causing the divorce. Grounds for a no-fault divorce in Delaware may be "irreconcilable differences", or similar grounds.

Does Delaware allow at-fault divorces?

In addition to no-fault grounds for divorce, Delaware is a fault divorce state which provides the option to file for a traditional at-fault divorce. Suing for an at-fault divorce alleges that the filer's spouse is the cause of the divorce due to engaging in one of Delaware's at-fault divorce grounds, such as adultery, abuse, or insanity.

In some cases, an at-fault divorce is pursued because it can entitle the suing spouse to a greater share of marital property or even punitive alimony payments if their partner's fault is proven. If their spouse contests these allegations, they may be challenged in court, which can lead to a lengthy and expensive legal process.

Does the state of Delaware allow incompatibility as grounds for divorce?

Yes, Delaware does allow incompatibility to be used as grounds for having a divorce.

Can you get a divorce in Delaware for living separate and apart?

In divorce law, "living seperate and apart" refers to married spouses who are living separate from each other, not engaging in a traditional marital relationship, and do not intend to repair the marriage.

In Delaware, married couples who have been living separate and apart for a minimum of six months may be granted a divorce on these grounds when sued for by either spouse.

2. Delaware Divorce Process FAQ

Does state of Delaware allow legal separation?

Legal separation (otherwise known as "judicial separation") is a legal process that enables spouses to be de facto separated while remaining legally married.

In some cases, Delaware will grant a judicial separation court order to a married couple who wishes to live separately. This order may settle issues generally handled in a divorce such as property division and alimony. A legal separation may be followed up by a full divorce, or the spouses may later reconcile and end the separation while remaining legally married.

What's the difference between a divorce and an annulment in Delaware?

While a divorce is the process of exiting a legally valid marriage, an annulment is the process of rendering a marriage null and void. An annulment makes it legally as if a marriage never took place to begin with.

Generally, annulment is used to conclude a marriage that should not have been legally recognized in the first place, such as a marriage where one of the spouses was unable to consent (by virtue of being underage, due to mental incapacity, or even intoxication), a marriage that was entered into under duress or via fraudulent means, or when one of the spouses was already legally married.

How long do I have to live in in the state of Delaware to get a divorce?

The state of Delaware requires that spouses suing for divorce to have lived in the state for a minimum of six months prior to filing divorce papers. Otherwise, Delaware courts are not considered to have jurisdiction over the divorce case.

What is the filing fee for a divorce in Delaware?

The court fees for filing the paperwork for a basic divorce in a Delaware court is $150.00. However, the total costs for a divorce can be much higher - especially in the case of a contested divorce, where attorney fees and mediation costs average from $15,000 to $20,000 or more.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Delaware?

If the process moves along without holdups, the paperwork for a divorce in Delaware can be processed in a minimum of 180 days. However, if the spouses are not in agreement about the divorce process, a contested divorce can take significantly longer.

3. Delaware General Divorce FAQ

Can my spouse stop me from getting a divorce?

Even if one spouse is opposed to getting a divorce, they cannot stop their partner from filing for and receiving a divorce in Delaware. While filing a non-contested joint petition for divorce speeds up the process, either spouse can file for divorce individually at any time.

Delaware permits spouses to sue for an at-fault divorce, and in this case their partner can contest the allegations in court. A non-fault petition for divorce, however, can generally not be contested by an unwilling spouse in Delaware.

Does Delaware have any limitations on remarriage after a divorce?

Delaware has no mandatory waiting period between the finalization of a divorce and either of the ex-spouses getting remarried. Remarriage following a divorce may affect the continued payment of alimony.

What is the divorce rate in Delaware?

According to the most recent CDC study, the yearly divorce rate in Delaware is 8 per 1,000 total population. The national divorce rate is 6.9 per 1,000 total population. Various studies suggest that nationwide, 30% to 50% of all marriages end in divorce.

Does Delaware recognize same sex divorces?

Delaware recognizes both same sex marriages and same sex divorces. The process of getting a seme-sex divorce is the same as a heterosexual divorce.

| State Law Official Text

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