A divorce is the way to legally end your marriage. Each state has unique legal requirements for granting a divorce which may include residency rules or the requirement to be legally separated for a certain amount of time before filing for divorce. While laws used to require proof that one of the spouses was at fault, all states now allow "no fault" divorce. Delaware's divorce laws include residency for at least six (6) months. There are also special rules for members of the armed services.
The biggest difference among state divorce laws is the concept of “fault.” Delaware is a mixture of fault and "no-fault" divorce state. In a no-fault divorce, neither spouse needs to prove that the other spouse is the reason for the divorce. Instead, parties may simply cite "irreconcilable differences" or an "irreparable breakdown of the marriage" when filing for divorce and have lived apart for six (6) months.
Delaware Divorce Laws: Specific Provisions
Even though Delaware is a "no-fault" divorce state, there are certain times when a couple may file for divorce based on fault .
To grant a divorce or dissolution, the court must determine either that:
- Physical, mental or psychological abuse;
- Incurable sanity.
What if We Have Children?
If you and your spouse have children together, you must attend a Parent Education Class. The Court will not proceed with the divorce process until all of the required certificates of completion from the Parent Education Class have been submitted to the Court. If you have children, you should enroll in the Parent Education Classes early to ensure that the divorce process is not delayed because of your failure to take the class.
The following table outlines the basics of Delaware's divorce laws. See Details on State Requirements for Divorce, Divorce and Out-of-Court Proceedings: Alternative Dispute Resolution, and An Overview of Fault and No-Fault Divorce Law to learn more.
||Tit. 13 §§1503, et seq.
Six (6) months before commencing action
Decree final when entered subject to right of appeal within 30 days.
|'No Fault' Grounds for Divorce
Irretrievable breakdown; voluntary separation.
|Defenses to a Divorce Filing
Defenses of condonation; connivance, recrimination, insanity and lapse of time are preserved only for a marriage that is separated and the separation caused by misconduct; respondent's failure of jurisdictional/residential requirement.
|Other Grounds for Divorce
||Separation caused respondent's misconduct ( physical, mental or psychological abuse, adultery and desertion), mental illness or incompatibility.
Note: Delaware divorce laws are constantly changing--contact a Delaware divorce lawyer or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Research the Law
Delaware Divorce Laws: Related Resources
Have an Attorney Evaluate Your Delaware Divorce Case
If you have considered ending your marriage or are in the midst of a divorce in Delaware, you'll want to make sure you protect your interests. Even if you and your spouse are reasonably amicable, it usually makes sense for each party to have legal representation. Learn more about your legal options and get the representation you need from an experienced Delaware divorce lawyer.