Facing Divorce? See what steps you can take to protect what's yours.
Divorce Home » Divorce Laws in Your State » Delaware

Delaware Divorce Law

Delaware divorce law covers a variety of issues, such as alimony, property distribution, child support and child custody. How the Delaware divorce laws affect you depend on the circumstances of your Delaware divorce. If you have any questions, connect with a local Delaware divorce attorney today.

For your convenience, the chart below summarizes a few of the key concepts of Delaware's divorce laws:

Delaware State Laws

  • Fault/No-Fault: Both
  • Property Distribution: Equitable
  • ADR Available: Yes
  • Parenting Plan Required: No

Delaware Grounds for Divorce

Couples may file for Delaware divorce under either no fault or fault grounds. In a no fault divorce, a marriage is considered irretrievably broken if the couple voluntarily separates.

Any efforts made by the couple to reconcile before divorce won't interrupt any period of living separate and apart, as long as the couple hasn't occupied the same bedroom or had sexual relations within the Delaware divorce waiting period after the Delaware divorce court has heard the divorce petition.

In fault divorce, the couple may file for Delaware divorce under the following grounds:

  • Misconduct
  • Mental Illness
  • Incompatibility between the spouses

Delaware Residency Requirements

When a couple is filing for divorce, there may be state residency requirements that either or both spouses will need to meet. In Delaware divorce, the petitioner or respondent will need to reside continuously in the state for at least six months.

If either spouse is a member of the United States armed services, one party must be stationed continuously in the state for six months to file divorce.

The divorce petition may be filed in county where either spouse lives. Learn more about divorce state requirements, including Delaware divorce waiting periods and Delaware grounds for divorce.

Delaware Divorce Waiting Period

During divorce, there will be divorce waiting periods to make sure that it isn't possible for the couple to reconcile. Some state divorce laws have divorce waiting periods before or after filing for divorce. There may also be a remarriage waiting period after the divorce is finalized.

In a Delaware divorce, the couple needs to wait six months before filing the divorce petition, as part of the Delaware residency requirement.

Once the divorce petition is filed, there is a 30 day waiting period after the decree has been entered by the court where it can be appealed. There isn't a remarriage waiting period after the Delaware divorce process has been finalized.

Delaware Property Division

Delaware divorce courts follow equitable distribution laws in property division. The Delaware divorce court make decisions about property distribution in a fair manner, regardless of each spouse's conduct during the marriage and divorce.

Factors considered when dividing property during a Delaware divorce include:

  • Length of the marriage
  • Prior marriage of either spouse
  • Age, health and state of each spouse
  • Each spouse's income, vocational skills and employability
  • Estate, liabilities and needs of each party
  • Opportunity for future acquisitions of assets
  • Value of property given to each spouse
  • Tax consequences
  • Martial debt
  • Property given as a gift
  • Property given in lieu of or in addition to Delaware alimony
  • Contribution or dissipation in the acquisition, preservation, depreciation or appreciation of marital property
  • Economic circumstances of each spouse at the time of property division
  • Desire to award the family home to the custodial parent

Delaware Alimony

If the couple is not able to reach an agreement about an alimony award during divorce, the Delaware divorce court will order one spouse to make alimony payments to another. Alimony may also be referred to as spousal support or spousal maintenance.

When determining alimony during a Delaware divorce, the divorce court will consider the following factors:

  • Financial resources of the spouse seeking alimony
  • Standard of living established during the marriage
  • Length of the marriage
  • Age and health of each spouse
  • Ability of a spouse to pay support
  • Tax consequences
  • Time and expense required to acquire education or training to help the seeking spouse find appropriate employment
  • Finances or other contributions made by either spouse to the education, training, vocational skills, career or earning capacity to the other
  • Whether a spouse has foregone or postponed economic, education or other employment opportunities during the marriage
  • Other relevant factors

Delaware Child Custody

Usually divorce courts want to award joint child custody during a Delaware divorce - if it's in the best interest of the child. This allows the child to continue to have a relationship with both parents.

When the Delaware divorce court is considering child custody arrangements, the following factors will be considered:

  • Parents' wishes regarding child custody and residential arrangements
  • Child's wishes of his or her custodial parent and residential arrangements
  • Relationship between the child and the parents, grandparents, siblings and others who significantly affect the best interest of the child
  • Health of everyone involved
  • Child's adjustment to home, school and community
  • Past and present cooperation by the parents with their rights and responsibilities to the child
  • Evidence of domestic violence
  • Criminal history of a parent or other resident of the household, including guilty pleas, no contest or conviction of a criminal offense

Learn about your child custody rights today.

Delaware Grandparent Visitation

Visitation rights for grandparents aren't automatically granted in a Delaware divorce. Grandparents will need to petition the divorce court for child visitation, which will then determine if grandparent visitation is in the best interest of the child.

When deciding the best interest of the child, the Delaware divorce court will consider the following factors:

  • Wishes of the parents and child
  • Relationship between the child and parents, sibling and other significant persons
  • Child's adjustment to home, school and community
  • Health of everyone involved

The petitioning grandparent must also submit an affidavit stating that he or she is aware the child has a right to:

  • Continue a relationship with both parents
  • Be treated as an important human being, with unique feelings, ideas and desires
  • Continuing care and guidance from both parents
  • Know and appreciate what is good in each parent without one parent degrading the other
  • Express love, affection and respect for each parent without having to stifle that love because of disapproval by the other parent
  • Know that the parents' decision to divorce was not the responsibility of the child
  • Not to be a source of argument between the parents
  • Honest answers to questions about the changing family relationships
  • Be able to experience regular and consistent contact with both parents
  • Know the reason for any cancellation of parenting time or change in plans
  • Have a relaxed, secure relationship with both parents without being placed in a position to manipulate one parent against the other

In adoption, the grandparent visitation rights are terminated.

Delaware Child Support

In a Delaware divorce, each parent has an equal responsibility to support any children from the marriage. When determining child support, the Delaware divorce court will consider the following factors:

  • Financial resources of the child
  • Standard of living the child would have enjoyed without a divorce
  • Age and health of the parents
  • Child's age, health and station
  • Estate and needs of the child
  • Each parent's earning capacity
  • Parents' amount and sources of income
  • Relative financial means of the parents

Delaware Child Support Enforcement

Unpaid child support that has been ordered by the Delaware divorce court is subject to

During and after a Delaware divorce, the Division of Child Support Enforcement has authority to collect and enforce the payment of child support with the following techniques:

  • Consumer reporting
  • Court processing
  • Federal case registry
  • Income withholding orders
  • License suspension
  • Lottery, tax or unemployment compensation intercept
  • Passport denial

Please understand that this information is provided for illustration purposes only and is not legal advice. Speak to local Delaware divorce lawyers to learn more about Delaware divorce law by calling 877-349-1310 or calling Delaware divorce case review form. Protect your rights when filing for divorce.

Case Evaluation

The above synopsis of Delaware divorce laws is by no means all-inclusive and has been adapted from applicable state laws. These laws may have changed since our last update and there may be additional laws that apply in your situation. For the latest information on these divorce laws, please contact a local Delaware divorce lawyer in your area.

This "Delaware Divorce Laws" page was last updated July 2009.

Note: Keep in mind that all divorce laws are complex. If you need legal divorce advice or want to fully understand how these laws affect you, please speak with a local divorce attorney.