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Delaware - Divorce Requirements
The following information is to provide a basic understanding of the various aspects of Delaware divorce.

Click here for more specific information regarding Delaware divorce laws.

Every effort has been made to assure that the information contained in these pages is accurate however, due to the ever changing nature of the law some material may be outdated or may no longer apply.

Residency Requirements 6 months
Where to File County where either spouse resides
Grounds for Divorce Adultery
Drug Addictions
Felony Conviction or Imprisonment
Fraud, Force or Duress ( grounds for annulment )
Mental and or Physical Cruelty Incompatibility
Irreconcilable Differences or Irretrievable Breakdown
Living Separate and Apart
Voluntary or required mediation Yes
Voluntary or recommended CounselingYes
Property Distribution Delaware laws allow the court to equitably divide, distribute and assign the marital property between the parties without regard to marital misconduct, in such proportions as the Court deems just after considering all relevant factors including:
  • The length 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, except property acquired by an individual spouse by bequest, devise or descent or by gift, except gifts between spouses, provided the gifted property is titled and maintained in the sole name of the donee spouse, or a gift tax return is filed reporting the transfer of the gifted property in the sole name of the donee spouse or a notarized document, executed before or contemporaneously with the transfer, is offered demonstrating the nature of the transfer.
  • The debts of the parties
  • Tax consequences
Child Custody The Court will determine legal and physical custody for a child in accordance with the best interests of the child. In determining the best interests of the child, the Court shall consider all relevant factors including:
  • The wishes of the child's parent or parents as to his or her custody and residential arrangements
  • The wishes of the child as to his or her custodian(s) and residential arrangements
  • The interaction and interrelationship of the child with his or her parents, grandparents, siblings, persons cohabiting in the relationship of husband and wife with a parent of the child, any other residents of the household or persons who may significantly affect the child's best interests
  • The child's adjustment to his or her home, school and community
  • The mental and physical health of all individuals involved
  • Past and present compliance by both parents with their rights and responsibilities to their child
  • Evidence of domestic violence
Child Support Either or both parents may be required to provide the support of maintenance, insurance, and education of the child. There are specific guidelines to be followed, unless when proven to be unjust. In determining the amount of support due to one to whom the duty of support has been found to be owing, the Court, among other things, shall consider:
  • The health, relative economic condition, financial circumstance, income, including the wages, and earning capacity of the parties, including the children
  • The manner of living to which the parties have been accustomed when they were living under the same roof
  • The general equities inherent in the situation. (59 Del. Laws, c. 567, § 1.)
Spousal Support A party in Delaware can be awarded alimony only if he or she:
  • Is dependent upon the other party for support and the other party is not contractually or otherwise obligated to provide that support after the entry of a divorce decree
  • Lacks sufficient property, including any award of marital property made by the Court, to provide for his or her reasonable needs
  • Is unable to support himself or herself through appropriate employment or is the custodian of a child whose condition or circumstances make it appropriate that he or she not be required to seek employment
Unless otherwise agreed in writing, the obligation to pay future alimony is terminated upon the death of either party, or the remarriage or cohabitation of the party receiving alimony. "Cohabitation" means regularly residing with an adult of the same or opposite sex, if the parties hold themselves out as a couple, and regardless of whether the relationship confers a financial benefit on the party receiving alimony. Proof of sexual relations is admissible but not required to prove cohabitation. A party receiving alimony shall promptly notify the other party of his or her remarriage or cohabitation