DIVORCE LAWS IN DELAWARE:
The Residency Requirement: Either party must live in the state for six months prior to the commencement of the action.
Grounds: The only ground in Delaware is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Divorce is granted as long as the court finds that the marriage is irretrievably broken by: Voluntary separation by the parties for six months; Separation caused by respondent’s misconduct (examples of which include adultery, bigamy, repeated physical or oral abuse directed against petitioner or children living in the home, desertion, homosexuality, willful refusal to perform marriage obligations, contracting venereal disease); Separation caused by respondent’s mental illness; Separation caused by incompatibility between the parties.
Note: Delaware does not punish attempts at reconciliation, “even those that include sleeping in the same bedroom and resumption of sexual relations,” as long as this doesn’t happen within 30 days of appearing in court to petition for divorce.
Division of Property: Delaware is an equitable-distribution, dual-classification state. That means that property is classified as either separate or marital; separate property must go to the property owner, while marital property is divided between the parties “equitably.” Equitable means fairly, based on how the parties acquired and treated the property during the marriage; it does not mean equally (click the following for an expert's overview and key tips on dividing up property through divorce).
Alimony: A dependent party, that is, one who needs support, may be awarded alimony, without regard to marital misconduct, for a period not to exceed one-half of the term of the marriage, unless the marriage is 20 years or more. Certain factors will be considered. The alimony recipient has an obligation to make good faith efforts to seek appropriate vocational training and employment, unless the court finds it would be inappropriate because of age, health, or custodial duties.
Child Custody and Child Support: As in all states, the primary concern is “the best interests of the child.” The court will base a decision on, among other things: the child’s wishes; the parents’ wishes; the child’s relationship with parents, siblings, grandparents, etc.; any history of domestic violence, abuse or neglect; any criminal history; the mental and physical health of all parties involved (click the following for an overview and list of articles on child custody and child support).
Child support is determined by the Delaware child support “Melson Formula.” This is a complicated formula that factors in incomes, time sharing, child care, health care, and subsistence needs of all parties.
The state of Delaware has an on-line calculator that can give you an idea of what child support would be.
The obligation of child support ends at 18, or will continue through 19 if the child is still enrolled in high school.
Disclaimer: The information supplied above is for "educational purposes only" and is not intended to be used as legal advice.