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Delaware Divorce Self-Help Center

Many customer Delaware divorce questions are answered here.  Browse from the topics below or use the search box to narrow your search.
 
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General Information State Procedures   Custody, Visitation, Support
  Property and Debts   Special Circumstances Additional Resources
STATE PROCEDURES
Where do I file my divorce papers in Delaware? 3028
Divorce papers are filed with the Clerk of the Family Court in the county where either the petitioner or respondent resides.
Will either of us be required to attend a court hearing? 3030
As part of the divorce process, the Affidavit in Support of Request to Proceed Without a Hearing and Request to Proceed Without a Hearing are filed requesting the Court grant the divorce without requiring the parties to attend a court hearing. If the Court grants the request, no hearing is required. Should the Court not grant the request, then the parties will be required to attend a court hearing.
What is considered to be the date of separation in Delaware? 3032
The date of separation in Delaware is the date the parties started living separate and apart. If the parties still reside under the same roof, the date of separation is the date the parties started occupying separate bedrooms and stopped having sexual relations with each other. 13 Del. C. § 1503.
What are the Delaware residency requirements for filing for divorce? 3034
EIther the Petitioner or the Respondent must have lived in Delaware for 6 consecutive months (or 6 months in a row) before filing for divorce.
What are the grounds for filing for divorce in Delaware? 3035
The no-fault ground for filing for divorce in Delaware is the marriage is irretrievably broken and that reconciliation is improbable. 13 Del. C. § 1505.
What are the basic steps to getting a divorce in Delaware? 3038
The basic steps to getting a divorce in Delaware are:
  1. File the initial divorce documents;
  2. Have the Court serve the Respondent with the divorce papers, or in the alternative, Respondent picks up the divorce documents from the Court;
  3. Attend Parent Education Class if required and file remaining documents;
  4. Receive the Decree of Divorce in the mail from the Court once the divorce has been finalized.
How much is the filing fee in Delaware? 3039
The filing fee in Delaware is $150.00.
What documents are included in the self-prepared Delaware DivorceWriter package? 3040
The following documents are included in the self-prepared Delaware DivorceWriter package:
  • Petition for Divorce/Annulment
  • Information Sheet
  • Request for Notice
  • Separation Agreement
  • Stipulation to Incorporate the Separation Agreement
  • Waiver of Rights Under the “Servicemembers Civil Relief Act”(if either spouse is in the Military)
  • Answer to Petition for Divorce
  • Affidavit in Support of Request to Proceed Without a Hearing
  • Request to Proceed Without a Hearing
  • Affidavit of Non-Military Service

If children are involved, the following document will also be included:
  • Child Support Calculation Worksheet
How long does it usually take to finalize a divorce in Delaware? 3041
In Delaware, the Court will not finalize a divorce unless the parties have lived separate and apart (or living under the same roof, but living in separate bedrooms and have ceased having sexual relations with each other) for a period of 6 months.
How do I serve my spouse with the divorce papers in Delaware? 3042
Courts in Delaware offer two options for providing your spouse with the divorce papers:
  1. The Court will personally serve your spouse with a copy of the divorce Petition; or
  2. Your spouse can pick up a copy of the divorce Petition from the Court.

If the Court serves your spouse, your spouse will file an Answer to Divorce Petition within twenty (20) days of receiving the Petition.

If your spouse picks up the Petition, he/she must do so within twenty (20) days of the date the Petition was filed with the Court. He/she must also sign an Affidavit of Appearance at the Court at this time.
Do we have to be separated to get a divorce in Delaware? 3043
Yes, the spouses must be separated for 6 months or the Court will not grant a divorce.

The date of separation in Delaware is the date the parties started living separate and apart. If the parties still reside under the same roof, the date of separation is the date the parties started occupying separate bedrooms and stopped having sexual relations with each other.
Can I change my name in Delaware divorce proceedings? 3044
Yes, either spouse my request the Court restore a former or maiden name. 13 Del. C. §1514.
Does Delaware require divorcing spouses and/or their child(ren) to attend a class or seminar on coping with divorce? 3046
Yes. In Delaware, all divorcing parents must take a Parent Education Class. If the child(ren) are between the ages of 8 and 16, they must also attend the class. Upon completion of the class, a Certificate of Completion of Parent Education Class will be issued, which must be filed with the Court.
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CUSTODY, VISITATION, SUPPORT
We already have a child support order issued by a judge. Will we be able to keep the same amount? 3045
Customers who already have a child support order issued by a Court have the option to enter that information in this portion of the interview. In order to list a prior support order, the customer can do the following:
  1. Select “no” to using the payment calculation.
  2. Enter the existing support amount in the space provided for monthly payment amount.
  3. Enter the following as the reason for deviating from the state calculation: "There is a prior child support order under Case No. (enter case number) that was issued by (enter court name) on (enter date of order)." (Note that the information will be transferred to the applicable documents exactly as it is entered by the customer.)
What are the different types of custody in Delaware? 3036
The different types of custody in Delaware are:

Joint Legal Custody--both parents have responsibility and involvement in major decisions regarding the child’s welfare including matters of education, medical care and emotional, moral and religious development.

Joint Physical Custody-the child(ren) reside with and are under the supervision of each parent in such a way as to assure the child(ren) frequent and continued contact with both parents.

Sole Legal Custody- one parent has the sole right and responsibility to make major decisions regarding the child’s welfare including matters of education, medical care and emotional, moral and religious development.

Sole Physical Custody- the child(ren) reside with and are under the supervision of one parent, commonly subject to reasonable visitation by the other parent.
When can a child support order be modified in Delaware? 3037
A child support order may be modified in Delaware if two-and-a-half years or more has passed since the last child support order, or if there has been a substantial change in circumstances.
What if my spouse and I have agreed to use a child support amount that is different from the standard amount set by the Child Support Guidelines? 3031
DivorceWriter shows the child support calculation under the Delaware child support guidelines.
The customer chooses whether to use the guideline calculation or to deviate from that calculation by entering a different child support amount. If the amount is a deviation from the basic support obligation, the customer will explain the reasons for the deviation in the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The court will decide whether or not to approve the deviation.
How is child support calculated in Delaware? 3029
In Delaware, child support is calculated using a pre-established formula, called the Delaware Support Formula. It takes into consideration the financial needs of the child, the financial status of both parents and the custodial situation.
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CUSTOMER SERVICE
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