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Delaware Divorce Facts
When going through a divorce in in Delaware, it's helpful to have some key information. Below you will find some of the most important facts everyone getting a divorce in the state of Delaware should know. The facts listed here are only a selected few of the more comprehensive set of Delaware Divorce Laws available for your reference. Remember, every state's law is different, and if you're not sure about a law in your state, you should ask a qualified Delaware Divorce Professional.
Either spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months.
Delaware is a no-fault divorce state, which means that the petitioner only needs to say the marriage is irretrievably broken without hope of reconciliation. Generally, the marriage is irretrievably broken because of a voluntary separation, a separation caused by a spouse's misconduct, a separation caused by a spouse's mental illness or separation caused by incompatibility.
There is no provision for a legal separation in Delaware.
In a contested divorce, the court may delay proceedings for up to 60 days to allow the spouses to seek counseling or order a mediation conference. The court may order parents seeking a divorce to participate in a certified parenting education course.
In any Delaware divorce, either spouse may ask for alimony. The spouses may agree upon alimony between themselves. However, if there is a dispute as to alimony, the issue is left to the court's discretion. Generally, the court considers the length of the marriage, the age, health, income, education, and needs of each party. Either spouse may be awarded alimony for up to a period equal to half the length of the marriage; however, there is no time limit for marriages lasting 20 or more years. Marital misconduct is not a factor in considering the award or the amount.
The court does not consider the gender of the parents when determining custody. Whenever the court must resolve disputed custody, it uses the best interests of the child standard and considers the wishes of the child's parents as to his or her living arrangements, the wishes of the child, the interaction of the child with siblings, grandparents, or other members of the family, the child's adjustment to his or her home, school, and community, the emotional and physical health of the entire family and evidence of domestic violence on the child, other family members, or anyone else.
Delaware divorce law requires a pure "equitable distribution" of the property. Marital conduct is not a factor. Equitable does not mean equal, but rather what is fair for both parties. In dividing property, the court considers the length of the marriage, the needs of each of the parties, the age, health, occupation, and employability of each party, whether the property was acquired by gift, the debts of the parties and the value of allowing the children to remain in the family home.
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