File for Divorce in New Castle County, Delaware (DE) | Divorce in New Castle County
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Divorce in New Castle County

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Online Divorce in New Castle County

divorce in New Castle County

Please note: OnlineDivorce.com in New Castle County, Delaware, is a divorce document preparation service, not a law firm. Online Divorce is not eligible to provide legal advice. All the information below is for informational purposes only.

If you want to have a stress-free divorce in New Castle County, OnlineDivorce.com will assist you with divorce documents preparation. We have helped hundreds of divorcing couples with completing and filing the correct forms. Using details you provide in an online questionnaire, we will determine which state-specific forms your divorce case requires (for example, with children or without) and complete them for you. You’ll also learn the required steps in printing out the forms and filing them at a local courthouse.

Severing the marital relationship is a streamlined process that can be typically simple and fast if spouses agree to have an uncontested divorce. It is where they settle all divorce-related issues, such as child custody and property division, by themselves before they appear before the judge. Being able to resolve all issues on your own will result not only in the fastest way to get divorced but the most affordable option because filing for divorce without a lawyer drives divorce price down.

If you feel unsure about how to proceed in a Do-It-Yourself divorce, read about it in great detail on OnlineDivorce.com. You and your spouse can settle all divorce-related matters before filing the divorce paperwork with the court. Or you can file first and sort out the issues during the 6-month waiting period.

Although an uncontested divorce procedure requires the spouses to have no contest over custody, support, and property, some couples may find themselves struggling to agree on some aspects of their post-marital existence. Yet, it is possible to resolve those issues during divorce proceedings through mediation and have an uncontested divorce. The waiting period before the judge reviews your case allows time to agree with your spouse. This will save you costly legal fees and courtroom battles.

OnlineDivorce.com offers the easiest way to have a DIY divorce as quickly as the state-determined divorce timeline allows in New Castle County. Start your new life by initiating your own divorce.

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Valid grounds to get divorce in New Castle County

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When filling out a Petition for Divorce, you must declare a legal reason for getting a divorce. Legal reasons are also referred to as grounds, and Delaware allows divorcing parties to cite both no-fault grounds and fault-based grounds.

For an uncontested divorce, you can choose only from those reasons which do not put your partner at fault for breaking the marriage. According to DE CODE Title 13 § 1505. Divorce, there is one no-fault ground — the marriage is “irretrievably broken and reconciliation is improbable.” This ground is characterized as follows:

  • (1) Voluntary separation; or
  • (2) Separation caused by respondent’s misconduct; or
  • (3) Separation caused by respondent’s mental illness; or
  • (4) Separation caused by incompatibility.

If you want to pursue a fault-based divorce, you can choose from abuse or adultery. This line of defense requires substantial evidence, witness testimony, and legal representation.

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Custody of the child in New Castle County

Custody of the child in New Castle County

As Delaware Family Law states, the court pursues the child’s best interests and uses this principle to split legal custody and residential arrangements (physical custody) between the parents. In making its custody determination, according to DE CODE Tit 13 § 722, the court shall consider the following:

  • (1) The wishes of the child and the child's parent as to their custody and residential arrangements;
  • (2)  The interaction and interrelationship of the child with his or her parents, grandparents, siblings, persons cohabiting in the relationship of husband and wife with a parent of the child, any other residents of the household or persons who may significantly affect the child's best interests;
  • (3)  The child's adjustment to his or her home, school and community;
  • (4)  The mental and physical health of all individuals involved;
  • (5)  Past and present compliance by both parents with their rights and responsibilities to their child.

If either parent had any history of domestic abuse or criminal record, the court carefully factors it in to ensure that the child is not in danger. Delaware courts have a presumption against custody for abusers, and in most cases, they are given visitation rights in the presence of a third party.

Regardless of the custody determination, both parents in New Castle County have a right to information about their child, so they must freely tell each other about the child’s academic and physical performance, school activities, health, faith, and legal affairs. DE CODE Tit 13 § 727 goes into detail regarding the parents’ rights, mandating parents to inform each other about “significant developments in the child's life” even in sole custody cases.

Determining custody, the judge chooses between sole custody and joint custody upon evaluating the details of the child’s and parents’ circumstances to make sure that the determination meets the child’s best interests. Although the court does not express a preference, the judge favors both parents’ willingness to participate in the child’s upbringing and aims for co-parenting. For complicated custody cases in New Castle County, a court may appoint a guardian ad litem, an attorney specifically representing the child in the proceedings.

In Delaware, parenting classes for divorcing parents with minor children are mandatory to ensure all parties learn the skills and tools to cope with divorce.

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Rules for child support in New Castle County

A child has an alienable right to get child support from both parents, and each parent must participate financially in their child’s life.

To calculate the amount of support, the court uses the Delaware state child support guidelines and a Child Support Worksheet submitted by each parent. To arrive at a fair and reasonable amount of support, the court follows the provisions of DE CODE Tit 13 § 514 and considers the following factors:

  • (1) The health, relative economic condition, financial circumstance, income, including the wages, and earning capacity of the parties, including the children;
  • (2) The manner of living to which the parties have been accustomed when they were living under the same roof;
  • (3) The general equities inherent in the situation.

Delaware courts may adjust the amount of child support at their discretion to fit the situation of a particular family. For example, when the non-custodial parent participates in childcare on par with the custodial parent, the judge might reduce the amount of child support to factor in what the non-custodial parent spends directly caring for the child.

Whereas college tuition payments are voluntary, Delaware Family Law has provisions to account for extraordinary medical care and childcare expenses. Under a “mandatory deduction,” such costs are either deducted from the noncustodial parent’s monthly child support payment (if the non-custodial parent pays) or are paid in addition to basic child support (if the custodial parent pays).

In child support arrears, the Delaware child support enforcement agency is authorized to locate non-custodial parents and withdraw due amounts from paychecks and benefits, etc.

Unlike alimony, child support payments are not taxed in New Castle County.

Fill out a short questionnaire and get an estimation of your monthly child support payment in New Castle County, Delaware.

Rules for spousal support in New Castle County

Rules for spousal support in New Castle County

Also known as alimony, spousal support in Delaware may be awarded from the higher-earning spouse to the lower-earning spouse if (1) the latter cannot provide for himself or herself financially even if the court awards him or her marital property; (2) is the custodial parent of a child with special needs requiring constant child care; (3) or is unable to support himself or herself due to some circumstances.

Delaware courts typically do not award alimony in very short marriages (unless there are some extraordinary circumstances) and typically restrict the duration of alimony payments by half of the marriage’s length. However, in any case, the judge must consider all the factors before deciding on alimony. Here is a list of relevant factors, according to DE CODE Tit 13 § 1512:

  • (1) The financial resources of the party seeking alimony, including the marital or separate property apportioned to him or her, and his or her ability to meet all or part of his or her reasonable needs independently;
  • (2) The time necessary and expense required to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking alimony to find appropriate employment;
  • (3) The standard of living established during the marriage;
  • (4) The duration of the marriage;
  • (5) The age, physical and emotional condition of both parties;
  • (6) Any financial or other contribution made by either party to the education, training, vocational skills, career or earning capacity of the other party;
  • (7) The ability of the other party to meet his or her needs while paying alimony;
  • (8) Tax consequences;
  • (9) Whether either party has foregone or postponed economic, education or other employment opportunities during the course of the marriage; and
  • (10) Any other factor which the Court expressly finds is just and appropriate to consider.

Ultimately, alimony aims to help the lower-earning spouse get financially independent by getting training or finding employment throughout the alimony period.

In New Castle County, alimony determination may use the evidence of marital misconduct but is usually only applicable in fault-based divorces.

Unlike child support, alimony payments are taxed in Delaware. The payor deducts the amount of alimony from their taxes while the payee pays taxes on alimony as it is taxable income.

Estimate your monthly alimony payment by using an alimony calculator.

Uncontested New Castle County divorce with children

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Property division in New Castle County

Property division in New Castle County

If both parties agree, they can divide assets the way they deem fair and submit a divorce settlement agreement with property division clauses. If the court finds their variant of property distribution unjust, or the spouses cannot settle, the court suggests a variant of property division following equitable distribution principles after distinguishing separate property from marital property.

According to DE CODE Tit 13 § 1513, the court usually considers all additional factors, including:

  • (1) The length of the marriage;
  • (2) Any prior marriage of the party;
  • (3) The age, health, station, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities and needs of each of the parties;
  • (4) Whether the property award is in lieu of or in addition to alimony;
  • (5) The opportunity of each for future acquisitions of capital assets and income;
  • (6) The contribution or dissipation of each party in the acquisition, preservation, depreciation or appreciation of the marital property, including the contribution of a party as homemaker, husband, or wife;
  • (7) The value of the property set apart to each party;
  • (8) The economic circumstances of each party at the time the division of property is to become effective, including the desirability of awarding the family home or the right to live therein for reasonable periods to the party with whom any children of the marriage will live;
  • (9) Whether the property was acquired by gift;
  • (10) The debts of the parties;  and
  • (11) Tax consequences.

Unlike some other US states, Delaware does not consider a spouse’s contribution to the other spouse’s education or earning capacity and spouse’s financial misconduct when determining how to split marital assets.

Mediation support in New Castle County

In New Castle County, Delaware, mediation is not mandatory, but the court may suggest mediation for divorcing spouses who contest custody or property division. Mediation functions as an alternative to taking divorce proceedings to trial. Divorcing couples can also choose mediation on their own to assist with resolving all divorce-related issues before or during the 6-month waiting period.

How to file for divorce in New Castle County | Step-by-Step

1

Meet the filing requirements for a Delaware divorce. Residency requirements refer to the length of time either spouse must reside in a state before filing the divorce paperwork. New Castle County requires: (1) Living in the state for 6 or more months immediately preceding the filing of a civil action (See DE CODE Tit 13 § 1504); (2) Unless your ground for divorce is abuse, you and your spouse must have separated for at least six months before filing for divorce in New Castle County (See DE CODE Tit 13 § 1507).

2

Find out where to file and complete the court forms. In Delaware, divorce papers are filed in the county where either the petitioner (the spouse who initiates a divorce action) or the respondent (the other spouse) resides. Check out the Delaware Court website to locate a courthouse in your area and learn its address.
If you obtained the divorce forms in the courthouse, you should fill them out in legible handwriting. If you got printable forms online, you could complete them by typing your answers on the computer and then printing them. Some of the documents must be signed in the presence of a notary (it is called notarization and is a chargeable service). Make at least two copies of all forms.

3

File the court forms. Take the copies and the original of the documents to the court for filing. The court’s clerk will tell you how much you should pay in filing fees, give your case a number, and stamp the copies.
One of the forms the petitioner files with the court is a Request for Notice requesting the court to serve the spouse (respondent) with the divorce paperwork. If the respondent resides within the state, and his or her address is known, the court will arrange documents delivery on the other spouse. If you cannot locate your spouse, you request the court to serve by publishing and file an Affidavit that the Party’s Address is Unknown. There is an option of serving by certified mail or notice of the petition in the newspaper for recipients residing out-of-state.

4

Be “Trial Ready”. In New Castle County, ‘trial readiness’ means that the divorcing spouses have met all the filing requirements and submitted all the required forms and papers:

-  You have been separated for at least six months;

-  The respondent was served the divorce papers;

-  The respondent either files an Answer agreeing with the divorce within 20 days of service OR doesn’t file an Answer;

-  You and your spouse have attended a parenting class and filed a certificate of completion;

-  You filed all the required paperwork (Parenting Plan, Settlement Agreement, Request to Proceed without a Hearing).

5

Finalize your divorce. After requesting a hearing, the court will send you and your spouse notice of the hearing date and time. You must attend and answer the judge’s brief questioning about the terms of your divorce. Your spouse may also participate, but it is not required. In case of the judge’s approval, you will receive an Order and Decree of Divorce. A hearing is mandatory for both spouses if the spouses ask the court to determine custody and divide assets.
Alternatively, you may waive a hearing by filing a Request to Proceed without a Hearing and an Affidavit in Support of the Request to Proceed Without a Hearing. Then the court may grant you a divorce based on the documents you had filed with the court. If some documents are missing or if the court finds the terms of custody, alimony, support, or property division unfair and inequitable, the divorce is denied, and a new hearing may be scheduled to finalize your dissolution of marriage. If your paperwork is in order, you and your spouse will receive a divorce decree by mail.

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Filing fees for divorce in New Castle County

In New Castle County, the court charges for filing a civil case (divorce) $165. There are also other court costs involved. For example, making a certified copy will cost you $4 a page.

Low-income individuals may apply for a fee waiver. Submit your request to the judge. If your income qualifies for a fee waiver, you will not have to pay any filing fees throughout divorce proceedings.

How long will it take?

In New Castle County, the actual divorce proceedings can take 2 to 3 weeks. However, the length of divorce process typically spans over six months because of the mandatory separation and waiting period. First, one of the filing requirements is living separately and apart for at least six months before filing for divorce. Next, there is a waiting period of six months after a recipient is served with the Petition for Divorce, and the court schedules a hearing. If the spouses cannot settle divorce-related matters in time for a hearing, their divorce can take longer.

Filing for divorce in New Castle County | Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a divorce cost in New Castle County?
In Delaware, as much as in any other part of the US, hiring an attorney doesn’t come cheap. If you opt to have legal representation for your uncontested divorce, mind that an hour session’s average rate is $250 or more. Mediation can be an inexpensive alternative in case of disputes. Thus, the real cost of divorce can hardly be lower than at least $1,000 if a couple need to handle custody issues and property division.
For this reason, many couples in New Castle County opt for a DIY divorce hoping to understand the intricacies of the Delaware legal system on their own. It is possible if the spouses agree to settle their issues amicably. You may expect to pay only a filing fee of $165 and some additional expenses in such a case.

How to file for divorce in New Castle County without a lawyer?
In New Castle County, filing without legal representation is possible. Each courthouse has self-help resources. The Delaware Court website has printable court forms and filing instructions available for petitioners. OnlineDivorce.com provides assistance with paperwork preparation. Mediation can help to resolve contested issues. Finally, pro bono programs and legal aid is available in every US state (although your case must qualify for pro bono requirements).

What are the required forms for an uncontested divorce in New Castle County?
The following list includes the most common court forms:

  • Petition for Divorce/Annulment
  • Information Sheet Form
  • Certificate of Divorce or Annulment, Division of Public Health
  • Request for Notice
  • Affidavit of Children's Rights
  • Stipulation to Incorporate the Separation Agreement
  • Affidavit in Support of Request to Proceed without a Hearing
  • Rule 16(c) Financial Report
  • Answer to Petition For Divorce/Annulment
  • Affidavit of Appearance in Divorce/Annulment and Notice of Injunction,
  • Affidavit of Appearance in Divorce/Annulment and Waiver of Rights Forms

Can I file for legal separation in New Castle County, DE?
There is no concept of legal separation in Delaware. However, spouses are required to separate before filing for divorce. Delaware permits spouses to share living arrangements during separation but sleep separately and have no sexual relationship.

When is it allowed to remarry after a divorce?
Right away. Delaware has no restrictions for remarriage after divorce is granted.

Divorce in New Castle County online

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  • We complete the necessary forms for clients based on their answers given in a simple guided online interview - clients do not need to understand family law or read through complicated instructions to figure out how to fill out the forms themselves.
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Divorce Courts in New Castle County, Delaware

Delaware Family Court, New Castle County
Court Address:
500 N King, Wilmington, Delaware 19801
Phone:
302-255-0300