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Delaware Divorce Laws

Divorce is the way to legally end your marriage. Just as states have regulations on the marriage process, they also have legal requirements for divorce that define the procedures a person must go through in order to get divorced. While laws used to require proof that one of the spouses was at fault, all states now allow "no-fault" divorce.

This article provides a brief overview of Delaware divorce laws.

Delaware Divorce Laws: Specific Provisions

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.

A marriage is irretrievably broken when it is characterized by:

  • Voluntary separation
  • Separation caused by respondent's misconduct
  • Separation caused by the respondent's mental illness
  • Separation caused by incompatibility
  • A mix of "fault" and "no-fault" but the "fault" provisions are "misconduct" or mental illness.

Even though Delaware is a "no-fault" divorce state, there are certain times when a couple may file for divorce based on fault, such as for misconduct or mental illness.

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.

Delaware Divorce Laws

The following table outlines the basics of Delaware's divorce laws. See Details on State Requirements for DivorceDivorce and Out-of-Court Proceedings: Alternative Dispute Resolution, and An Overview of Fault and No-Fault Divorce Law to learn more.

Code Section

Tit. 13 § 1503, et seq. of the Delaware Code

Residency Requirements

Six (6) months before commencing an action

Waiting Period

Decree final when entered subject to the 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 due to misconduct; failure of the court to have proper jurisdiction

Other Grounds for Divorce

Separation caused respondent's misconduct (physical, mental or psychological abuse, adultery, and desertion), or mental illness

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.

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