How to File for Divorce in Delaware

by Timothy Mucciante Google

In Delaware, you can represent yourself in a divorce. In order to file for divorce, you must be separated from your spouse for more than six months, unless the divorce is based on some type of spousal misconduct, such as cruelty or abandonment. If you decide to represent yourself, the court staff cannot give you any specific legal advice; they can only give you general information about the process and the procedure for filing the necessary forms.

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Step 1

Be sure that you meet the requirements for a divorce in Delaware. You or your spouse must have lived in Delaware for at least six months before filing the divorce action. You and your spouse must also be separated for at least six months before you file the divorce. For the purposes of a Delaware divorce, "separated" does not necessarily mean you live in different residences -- you can share the same house, but sleep in separate bedrooms.

Step 2

Fill in the party name and contact information at the top of page one of the Petition for Divorce/Annulment. Next, in Section I of the petition, complete the residency requirements in paragraph one. After filling in your birth date and occupation, complete the residency information for your spouse in paragraph four. Complete paragraphs five and six by providing your spouse's date of birth and occupation. Paragraph seven requires that you give the address where your spouse is most likely to receive mail. Indicate your spouse's citizenship in paragraph eight.

Step 3

Enter your weddng date in paragraph 9a. In paragraph ten enter the date that you and your spouse were separated. Complete the children-related questions in paragraph 11. In paragraph 12, indicate whether or not you have previously filed for divorce. In paragraph 13 of Section II, which deals with the specific reasons for the divorce, check whatever reason applies. You must also check the box in paragraph 14, indicating that there is no chance of reconciliation.

Step 4

Check the applicable boxes in Section IV, starting what relief you are seeking from the court. You can ask for specific financial payments such as property division, court costs and attorney's fees. You can also request a name change, if applicable. Sign the petition at the bottom of page five. At the top of page six, choose whether you would like a hearing, if your spouse does not contest the divorce. Sign the Verification on page six in the presence of the clerk of the court or a notary public.

Step 5

Complete the Information Sheet, Form 240, providing the court with basic information about the parties. Complete the Division of Public Health/Vital Statistics form, Form 441. Get a certified copy or original of your marriage certificate to be included with the filing of the divorce petition. The Family Court does not maintain marriage certificates, so you must get it from the county in which you were married.

Step 6

Fill in the Request for Notice form, Form 400. This information lets the court know how you want to give your spouse notice of the divorce action.

Step 7

Complete any of the remaining forms that apply to your situation, for example, the forms relating to children's rights, the separation agreement, the financial report, and so on.

Step 8

File the original and one copy of the divorce petition and all accompanying forms -- including the original or a certified copy of your marriage certificate -- with the Family Court for the county where you or your spouse reside. It is only necessary to file one copy of the Division of Public Health/Vital Statistics Form 441 with the court. Pay the required filing fee at that time.