1. Obtain the necessary forms:
In Delaware, couples need to obtain the Petition for Divorce, Affidavit of Corroborating Witness and Financial Information Sheet from the court clerk’s office. These documents must be completed and filed with the court. The Affidavit of Corroborating Witness requires a third-party witness (anyone over 18 years of age) to testify that the marriage has irrevocably broken down.
2. Research your rights under Delaware law:
Couples should brush up on their rights under Delaware divorce law and be familiar with relevant matters such as equitable distribution, alimony, and child custody/support issues.
3. File your petition with the court clerk:
Once all documents are completed and signed, couples must file their Petition for Divorce along with the Affidavit of Corroborating Witness in the court clerk’s office. The filing fee is typically $165 but may vary depending on local regulations.
4. Serve your spouse with copies of all documents:
Once the paperwork has been filed, couples must provide their spouse with copies of all documents. This may be done in person or by certified mail. The court will need to receive proof that your spouse has received the documents before they can move forward with your divorce proceedings.
5. Attend required hearings/mediations:
If both parties are unable to come to an agreement through mediation, then a hearing is necessary to settle any outstanding issues and make decisions on matters such as alimony payments and asset division. Hearings are held in front of a judge and both parties must present evidence and arguments for their case.
6. Finalize details such as alimony payments and asset division:
Once all hearings are concluded, details such as alimony payments and asset division will need to be finalized. This involves the court issuing a decree that outlines all the details of the divorce judgment.
7. Obtain a divorce decree:
Once all paperwork is signed and finalized, couples must file for their official divorce decree from the court clerk’s office. The final document should include any agreements made during mediation or hearings and provide proof of dissolution of marriage.
8. Finalize any financial paperwork such as tax returns or related documents:
Couples must also make sure they file their taxes separately after the divorce is complete and submit any relevant financial forms needed to update accounts or obtain benefits such as Social Security or disability insurance.
9. Update important documents and accounts:
Couples must update their driver’s licenses, insurance policies, and other official documents as well as change any passwords or account information for joint accounts.
10. Seek counseling if needed:
The divorce process can be a difficult time for couples, so it is important to seek help from professionals such as counselors or therapists when necessary. They can provide guidance and support throughout this challenging transition in life.