Getting a divorce or an annulment is an important decision. A divorce is the way to legally end your marriage. An annulment is the way to have the Court declare that your marriage never existed. Contact Delaware Divorce Lawyer Greg Stewart for more information.
Who may file for Divorce or Annulment?
You or your spouse may file for Divorce or Annulment if:
MARRIAGES AND CIVIL UNIONS: Either you or your spouse has resided (lived) in Delaware for at least 6 months immediately preceding filing for divorce or annulment; OR Either you or your spouse has been stationed in Delaware as a member of the military for at least 6 months immediately preceding filing for divorce or annulment
CIVIL UNIONS ONLY:you and your spouse do not live in Delaware and your state of residence does not allow civil unions to be dissolved AND your civil union was solemnized in Delaware.
Furthermore, before you file for divorce, you and your spouse must be legally separated. Under Delaware law, in order to be legally separated. 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.
How long until the divorce can be granted?
The Court will not proceed with the divorce process until you and your spouse have been separated for at least 6 months, unless you are filing for divorce on the grounds of misconduct. Some of the grounds of misconduct include: physical, mental or psychological abuse, adultery and desertion. If you are filing on the grounds of misconduct, then you do not have to be separated for any specified period of time. However, be aware that you must prove any allegations of misconduct by presenting evidence of the misconduct to the Court before a divorce will be granted on this ground.
Also, if you and your spouse have children together, you must attend a Parent Education Class. The Court will not proceed with the divorce process until all of the required certificates of completion from the Parent Education Class have been submitted to the Court. If you have children, you should enroll in the Parent Education Classes early to ensure that the divorce process is not delayed because of your failure to take the Parent Education Class.
If you are seeking a divorce or annulment from a marriage, your attorney will file the Petition for Divorce/Annulment in the county where either you or your spouse lives. If you are seeking a divorce or annulment from a civil union, you will need to determine which of the following scenarios applies to you and file in the appropriate county:
- Neither you or your spouse have ever lived in Delaware, and you are seeking to divorce from a civil union solemnized in the State of Delaware, you may file in Family Court in any county if your state of residence does not permit you to divorce.
- Neither you or your spouse currently live in Delaware, but one or both of you have in the past, and you are seeking a divorce from a civil union solemnized in the State of Delaware, you must file in the county in which one or both of you last resided. Are there different types of Divorce and Annulment proceedings?
Delaware divorce law allows for different types of divorce and annulment. Divorces and Annulments can be Contested or Uncontested. Uncontested divorces can be decided in two ways. The different types of divorce are described below:
Contested Divorce or Annulment: If the Petition for Divorce/Annulment is contested, in other words the person responding to the petition challenges material information in the petition by filing an Answer, the matter will automatically be scheduled for a hearing.
Uncontested Divorce or Annulment: If the person responding to the petition does not file an Answer within 20 days of receiving the Petition for Divorce/Annulment OR files an Answer agreeing with the request for a divorce, the petition is uncontested. If the petition is uncontested the Petitioner, the person filing the petition, can choose what type of divorce proceeding he/she would like to have.
- The Petitioner may request that the Court decide the Petition for Divorce/Annulment based solely on the papers that are filed by both sides, without the parties appearing in Court for a hearing; OR
- The Petitioner may choose to have the Court decided the Petition for Divorce/Annulment after holding a hearing which the Petitioner must attend and the Respondent may attend.
The Court will use the same standard for granting a divorce regardless of the type of divorce that is chosen; however, different filing requirements exist for each type of divorce.
Contact Delaware Divorce Lawyer Greg Stewart for more informaton.