In order to file for divorce or annulment in Delaware, either you or your spouse must have lived in Delaware for at least 6 months or have been stationed in Delaware as a member of the military for at least 6 months prior to filing the petition.
Also, before filing for divorce, you and your spouse must be legally separated. Under Delaware law, in order to be legally separated, you and your spouse must not share the same bedroom or have sexual relations with one another, except for attempts at reconciliation. You can still be separated if you live in the same house so long as you do not share the same bedroom with your spouse or have sexual relations with your spouse.
Delaware courts grant divorce whenever it finds that the marriage is irretrievably broken and that reconciliation is improbable.
A marriage is irretrievably broken where it is characterized by:
The court shall equitably divide the marital property between the parties without regard to marital misconduct, in such proportions as the court deems just.
Marital property means all property acquired by either party subsequent to the marriage. Exceptions include property acquired by gift or inheritance that is in the sole name of the recipient spouse, and the increase in value of property acquired prior to the marriage.
All property acquired by either party subsequent to the marriage is presumed to be marital property regardless of whether title is held individually or by both parties.
A party may be awarded alimony only if he or she is dependent upon the other party for support; lacks sufficient property to provide for his or her reasonable needs; and 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.
Once it has been determined a party should be awarded alimony, the court will then decide how much alimony will be paid and for how long, without regard to marital misconduct. The following factors will be considered:
A person is eligible to receive alimony for up to half of the term of the length of the marriage (i.e. a person could receive alimony for up to 5 years if they were married for 10 years). The exception is if a party is married for more than 20 years then there is no time limit to how long he or she can receive eligibility.
The court shall determine the 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 court shall not presume that a parent, because of his or her sex, is better qualified than the other parent to act as a joint or sole legal custodian for a child or as the child's primary residential parent.
Under Delaware law, both parents have a duty to support their child until the child is 18 years of age, or, if the child is still in high school, until the child graduates or turns 19 years of age, whichever comes first. A support action begins when one parent files a support petition, requesting the court to order the other parent to pay child support.
After the petition is filed, the court may order genetic testing to establish paternity, if necessary. Most parents seeking child support are represented by the Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE). In those cases, DCSE files all actions and pursues administrative remedies also. The court encourages all parents seeking support to explore the services of DCSE.
Delaware child support calculator.