Delaware Divorce & Separation
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Getting a separation or divorce is commonplace these days across the United States. But you may not have known that the laws and rules governing these processes can vary widely from state to state. What are the requirements for getting a divorce in Delaware? Is mediation a requirement before you can get a Delaware divorce? What is Delaware law on annulments? Find the answers to your Delaware divorce questions here.
Delaware Legal Separation:
Legal separations are allowed in Delaware and mainly require that the separated couple not share the same bedroom (though they can share the same house), and not have sexual relations with one another.
Grounds for Divorce/Fault – No Fault:
Delaware has both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce. No-fault divorces merely require a showing of the “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage” in order to establish the grounds for divorce. Fault-based divorces, on the other hand, require more specific reasoning, such as: adultery, abandonment, abuse, mental illness and more. In addition, the parties must have been separated, not sleeping together or having sexual relations for the 30-day period preceding the first court date for the divorce petition.
Residency/Where to File for Divorce:
To file for divorce, a party must have resided in the state for six months at the time of filing and be separated from the spouse at the time. The divorce petition must be filed in the local court with jurisdiction over the county in which either party resides.
Availability of Simplified or Special Divorce Procedures:
If a divorce petition is filed and 20 days elapse without an answer, or an answer is filed but it agrees with all the requests of the divorce in their entirety, then this uncontested petition will be tried without any further notice or hearing requirements.
Delaware Divorce/Child Support/Child Custody Lawyers:
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Divorce Mediation in Delaware:
If the court decides that a divorce action will be continued for further hearings beyond the initial hearing, then either party or both may pursue mediation or counseling through any qualified counselors of their choosing. The mediation will always be optional for both parties, and all details of the sessions will remain confidential, with only general results reported to the court, for instance a report that “further reconciliation is not feasible for the parties,” and so forth.
Besides mediation, the court will order that parties with children up to age 17 pay for and attend (together or separately) a Parenting Education Course, except where the court determines that such participation is not necessary.
An annulment is a court declaration that your marriage is legally invalid. In other words, rather than ending a marriage via divorce, an annulment is a declaration that the marriage was never valid to begin with, for reasons including: fraud, duress, a party’s minor status, incest, dare, jest, polygamy, physical incapacity to consummate the marriage, or unsoundness of mind/chemical influence (alcohol, drugs, etc.). The presence of any of these factors may be sufficient for a judge to void the marriage.
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