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Delaware Family Law

Delaware Family Law

Delaware Family Law: Understanding the Basics

Family law has always been a sensitive and emotional topic, one that possesses a broad range of legal implications and is constantly subject to changes. Delaware family law incorporates a set of various rules, policies, and court decisions regulating family-related matters such as divorce, child custody, adoption, and domestic violence. This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of Delaware family law, highlighting the essential principles, guidelines, and statutory provisions associated with family law matters.

Overview of Delaware family law

Delaware family law is mainly guided by the Delaware Code, which comprises a series of legal provisions that regulate family laws. These provisions cover areas such as domestic relations, marriage, alimony, separation, child custody, adoption, and child support. The purpose of these laws is to ensure that families, particularly children, are protected, and that their legal rights are upheld.

Domestic relations

A significant portion of family law in Delaware is dedicated to domestic relations, which refer to the legal and emotional relationships between people who live together. Incidents of domestic violence, abuse, harassment, or neglect, especially among spouses, can be reported and addressed through the courts. Delaware has enacted several laws aimed at protecting individuals and family members from the negative impacts of domestic violence, including the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban and the Protection From Abuse Act.

Marriage and Divorce

Marriage has long been recognized as one of the fundamental institutions of society. In Delaware, marriage laws regulate who may legally marry, what requirements must be met, and how to obtain a marriage license. The state also recognizes the institution of common law marriage, which is formed by mutual agreement and mutual conduct between two individuals. The Delaware Code provides that common-law marriages will only be recognized if they were formed before July 1, 2010. Delaware offers two types of divorces: Absolute divorce and Limited Divorce. Absolute Divorce is the dissolution of the marriage, and it can be obtained on the grounds of adultery, willful desertion, physical abuse, or extreme cruelty. Limited Divorce is typically an interim step towards obtaining absolute divorce and addresses financial and other support issues, but does not dissolve the marriage.

Alimony and Spousal Support

Alimony, also called spousal support, is the financial support typically awarded by a court to an ex-spouse after a divorce. In Delaware, spousal support is typically awarded to help a lesser-earning spouse transition to post-divorce financial independence. The court may consider the standard of living during the marriage, the length of the marriage, the age and health of each spouse, and other relevant factors. Recently, the laws regarding spousal support have been amended in Delaware, providing that alimony payments will be tax-free for recipients and tax-deductible for payers, as of January 1, 2019.

Child Custody and Visitation

Child custody is the legal arrangement of parental responsibility and decision-making authority for a minor, covering several critical issues such as living arrangements, healthcare, education, and religious upbringing. In Delaware, child custody is usually awarded based on the best interest of the child, and can be modified if there is a substantial change in circumstances. Delaware has different types of custody arrangements, including legal custody, physical custody, joint custody, sole custody, and shared custody. Visitation rights, also known as parenting time, are typically granted to the non-custodial parent, to ensure that they maintain an ongoing relationship with their children.


Adoption is the legal process whereby the rights of natural parents are transferred to other individuals or couples who then become the legal parents of the child. In Delaware, adoptions can be facilitated by licensed adoption agencies, private adoptions, or through the Delaware Division of Family Services. The state’s adoption laws require consent to be given by the child’s natural parents or, if they are not legally able to give consent, the court may terminate their parental rights in certain circumstances. Delaware adoption laws require a mandatory post-placement assessment of at least six months, ensuring the child’s well-being, stability, and attachment with the adoptive parents.

Child Support

Child support is the financial assistance paid by one parent to another, usually the parent who has primary physical or legal custody of the child. Child support is intended to cover the child’s expenses such as food, clothing, housing, medical care, and education. In Delaware, child support is calculated using a Child Support Guidelines Formula based on the income of both parents, the number of children, and other expenses. Delaware has recently increased its child support guidelines to reflect the cost of living in the state.


Family law is a multi-faceted and sometimes complex subject. It has evolved over time in response to changing social norms and values, and legal rulings. Delaware family law, in particular, has seen new developments in alimony, child support, and other areas over the years. Familiarizing oneself with the basics of Delaware family law is essential, particularly when dealing with family-related matters. Seeking the help of a knowledgeable family lawyer can help guide you through this complex legal system and ensure that your rights are protected. Ultimately, the purpose of Delaware family law is to provide appropriate and just legal resolutions to family-related disputes whilst preserving the welfare and well-being of all family members concerned.

What to Know about Delaware Family Law

What is Delaware Family Law?

Delaware Family Law collects all statutes with importance to the American family, ranging from criminal investigations to administrative law. Some individuals are confused by the concept of Delaware Family Law, and indeed it can be somewhat nebulous, including several different areas of law. Thankfully, in Delaware, Family Law is somewhat more specific, not including probate which is sometimes included.

What types of cases are included in Delaware Family Law?

Adoption—Even though adopting a child in need is one of the most noble actions a person can take, Delaware Family Law doesn’t make it easy. That’s why individuals who are considering adoption should hire an attorney right aware and petition for legal recognition of their parental rights in a Delaware Family Law Court.

Child Support—According to Delaware Family Law, child support is decided upon according to a Delaware Child Support Calculator. This calculation is based on the amount a child spend’ with each parent and the income of each parent, among other factors. Delaware Family Law makes it almost impossible to challenge a calculation. However, you can petition for a change to your Child Support Order if your relative incomes have changed.

Custody—Child custody is usually decided first in a legal separation, and Delaware Family Law emphasizes a child spending time with both parents. Just as with most states, the typical result for qualified parents in Delaware Family Law is the father spending one weeknight and every other weekend with the child and the mother having custody at all other times. Of course, there are many, many exceptions to this in the annals of Delaware Family Law.

Criminal—There are two situations in which Delaware Family Law has jurisdiction when it comes to criminal cases. The first is domestic violence, which you can read more about below, and the second is when the defendant in a case is a juvenile. Juvenile defendants are somewhat unique, with special concerns as opposed to adult defendants. Delaware Family Law helps defendants to stay in school whenever possible, and stresses reform and not punishment when it isn’t possible.

Divorce—Not only is divorce the most popular reason to step into a Delaware Family Law Court, but it is one of the most common reasons to step into any courts at all. Most divorces are uncontested, with spouses agreeing on how to divide their property. Contested divorces and bitter arguing between Delaware Family Lawyers raises prices incredibly high for this legal action.

Domestic Abuse—Victims of Domestic Abuse can get an Order of Protection from Abuse, which is a document from the Delaware Family Law Court stating that the abuser must legally stay away from the abused.

Guardianship—Guardianship comes in several different guises in Delaware Family Law. For most, it means taking legal rights over a child under eighteen. However, you can also request a Standby Guardianship which enables a person suffering from a chronic illness to arrange for custody of their child after their death.