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DO IT YOURSELF ONLINE DIVORCE IN DELAWARE

Grounds for Divorce
Delaware is a no-fault divorce state, which means that the petitioner asserts that the marriage is irretrievably broken without any hope of reconciliation. A 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.
Delaware Residency Requirements for Divorce

Either spouse must have lived in the state of Delaware for at least six months. For a divorce action, a person in the armed forces and stationed in Delaware is considered to be a resident.

How To Get a Divorce in Delaware

For a no-fault divorce in Delaware, the spouses must separate for at least six months before filing for divorce in Delaware. Even if they live in the same house but don't share the same bedroom or have sexual relations, they can be considered separated. For divorce cases, such as abuse or adultery, a party can file for divorce at any time.

Delaware online divorce process Parents with children under 18 must attend a parent education class. Spouses can file for divorce before taking the class, but the court won't proceed until both submit certificates of completion. The Delaware Courts website provides a list of approved parent education classes.

The petitioner completes the Petition for Divorce, which states that at least one spouse has been a resident for six months, gives a legal ground for divorce and identifies any other issues, such as dividing assets and debts, child custody, child support and alimony. Spouses who agree on all of these issues often file pro se for an uncontested divorce. Here is more information regarding the process of filing uncontested divorce papers in Delaware.

The petitioner files the Petition in the clerk's office of the family court in the county of filing, and the clerk will time and date stamp the original with a filing notation. If the couple has minor children the petitioner must also file the Affidavit of Children's Rights (Form 279), and if the spouses have a separation agreement, the petitioner files it as well as the Stipulation to Incorporate the Separation Agreement Form (Form 443).

The petitioner serves the respondent a copy of the filed Petition for Divorce.

The spouses may be required to jointly complete and file one Rule 16c Financial Report (Form 465), but only after they have received the Petition. This form includes information about income, assets, debts, tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements, and personal financial statements.

When the respondent does not answer the served Petition within 20 days of receiving it, or if he or she files an answer agreeing with the divorce, the action is uncontested. If the action is uncontested, the petitioner must choose between the following two routines: the court may decide the divorce based solely on the papers, without either spouse appearing in court, or the court may decide the divorce after a hearing, which the petitioner must attend and the respondent may attend.

A contested divorce means that the respondent challenges the information claimed by the petitioner. Courts automatically schedule hearings in contested divorces. In a contested divorce, both the petitioner and the respondent should consult a lawyer to seek legal advice and get an understanding of their rights. The court may delay the divorce proceedings in a contested case for up to 60 days to allow the spouses to seek counseling or order a mediation conference to resolve disputed issues or potentially save the marriage.

With a no-fault divorce, the case is trial-ready when the spouses have been separated for at least six months and the paperwork has been served and the couple has completed the parent education class and filed a certificate of completion. Once the case is trial ready, the parties receive a court notice. In an uncontested divorce, if the petitioner asked to proceed without a hearing, solely on the papers submitted, he or she receives a notice giving him or her 20 days to file a Request to Proceed Without a Hearing (Form 446), and Affidavit in Support of the Request to Proceed Without a Hearing (Form 447).

The court forwards the papers to a commissioner who decides whether to grant or deny the petition for divorce. If the parties seek an uncontested divorce but request a hearing, the spouses receive notice of the hearing date and time. The spouses appear in court on the hearing date, or the court dismisses the Petition and the petitioner must start over. At the hearing, the judge takes testimony and other evidence to determine whether to grant the divorce. If the judge grants the Petition, the parties receive an Order and Decree of Divorce, which terminates the marriage. Learn the best ways to save money when doing your own divorce in Delaware.

Do It Yourself Online Divorce in Delaware

Our online software makes filing for divorce in Delaware simple. In as little as 20 minutes you can have all your completed divorce forms and filing instructions ready for signing and filing. Instantly access your completed divorce forms after a short online interview. It is that easy, no lengthy completion or delivery times. See if you qualify below:

Delaware Property Division Upon Divorce

Delaware divorce law requires an equitable distribution of the property. The court generally accepts a fair and reasonable property division the parties agree to, but if the parties cannot agree, the Family Court divides the property.

The Delaware courts divide property and assets in an equitable manner, which 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 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. Marital misconduct is not a factor.

When dividing property, the Delaware court classifies the parties' assets as marital or non-marital, and values and equitably divides the marital property in light of each party's non-marital property.

After the court classifies assets as marital or non-marital, it divide and distributes the marital property equitably and considers the contribution of each partner to accumulation of marital property; any dissipation of marital property, if any; both the market value and the sentimental value of the property to be divided; the value of each spouse's separate property; any tax or other economic consequences of the property division; the extent to which an award of property may eliminate the need for alimony; and each spouses overall need for financial security.

An equitable division may not necessarily be an equal division.

Property brought into the marriage by one of the parties or inherited by one of the parties may not be subject to equitable distribution.

As in other jurisdictions, divorcing couples normally sell the marital home and divide the profits, or sell the home to one party and refinance, or the custodial parent occupies the house until the last child leaves school and then sell it.

The court may include the retirement benefits and plans earned by both spouses as marital assets available for division. Retirement plans are either Defined Contribution Plans (DC), such as a 401(k), or Defined Benefit Plans (DB), which is the company pension. That part of a pension accumulated during a marriage is community property and subject to distribution. When spouses share in each other's pension plan, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) must be prepared. The QDRO spells out the terms and conditions of the pension distribution.

Alimony and Spousal Support in Delaware

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.

Alimony is discretionary in Delaware, and court considers many factors, including but not limited to the spouses' income and expenses of each spouse; their ages, health and medical condition; their needs and debt obligations, the custodial award; the marital standard of living; tax consequences; marital fault or misconduct; and dissipation of assets.

Delaware Child Custody

In determining custody the Delaware court does not consider the gender of the parents. To resolve disputed custody, the court uses the best interests of the child standard and considers the wishes of the child's parents, the child's wishes, 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.

Joint custody may be awarded when both parents request joint custody, and if they so request joint custody, the court works on a presumption that joint custody is in the best interests of the child.

If the married couple is filing on the ground of irreconcilable differences, they can agree to joint custody and the court will grant it as being in the best interest of the child.

The court determines custody based on the best interests of the child. The court can award sole or joint custody, and if the child is 12 years old or older, the court considers the wishes of the child.

Delaware Child Support Guidelines

Delaware child support guidelines are based on the Flat Percentage of Income model, calculated on net income. The guidelines stipulate that for one child, 14 percent of income goes to child support, 20 percent for two children, 22 percent for three children, 24 percent for four children and 26 percent for five children.

Extraordinary expenses are either add-ons, where the expense is added to the support payment, or deductions, where the amount is deducted, and indicated as either mandatory or permissive. Extraordinary medical expenses and childcare are considered deviation factors.

Service of Process for Divorce in Delaware

Anyone not party to the action over 18 years of age may serve process, as can a sheriff of the county in which the defendant resides.

The divorce papers - including two copies of a notice and acknowledgment -- may be served by mailing them by first-class mail, postage prepaid to the person to be served. Service of the summons and complaint may be made in any other manner permitted by law if no acknowledgment of service is received within 20 days after the date of mailing. If the defendant cannot be found after a diligent search, and the defendant, with the approval of the court, may be served by publication, which is made once in each week during three successive weeks in a public newspaper of the county of filing.

When the address is stated, the clerk sends copies of the divorce papers to the defendant, and this is evidence of delivery of the summons.

A summons may be served on a person outside this state by sending the divorce papers to the respondent by certified mail, return receipt requested and restricted delivery. Service by this method is complete as of the date of delivery as evidenced by the return receipt or by the returned envelope marked refused.

A Simple Divorce Process
Step 1 See if you qualify & create account!
Step 2 Answer the questions at your own pace.
Step 3 Print, sign and file your divorce forms with your local court (instantly review & print your forms online or have them sent US Priority Mail at no additional charge).

START HERE

Only $299 (flat-fee)

or 2 monthly payments of $157
or 3 monthly payments of $109
or 4 monthly payments of $84
Payment Options Do Not Delay Divorce
Instant Delivery - Instant Changes
100% Guarantee of Court Approval
or Your Money Back
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