Delaware Divorce Checklist in 2024

A woman checks a checklist of completed steps in her divorce process.

If you are reading this article, you probably consider the idea of filing for a divorce. When making a decision to get a marriage dissolution, spouses often feel devastated and confused and do not know where to begin and what to do. We have prepared a step-by-step checklist that will help you navigate the divorce process without extra stress.

Why Does a Divorce Checklist Help?

Overall, having a to-do list will help you prepare for divorce and discover the initial steps you must take and possible pitfalls you may face. If you have never been involved in a marriage dissolution, it’s fine that you know nothing about things to consider when divorcing. Having a guide on actions to take will make you feel more confident.

Finally, it is easier to go through such a complicated legal process when you have a to-do list, especially if you do not involve lawyers in your case. If you are asking yourself, “Should I get a divorce checklist?” the answer is yes since it will save you a lot of time and nerves.

The 10-Point Divorce Checklist for Delaware

We have compiled a divorce preparation checklist so that you can begin this process without any hassle and confusion. You will find information about all the important steps you should take before the divorce below.

1. Consider Whether You Need to Hire a Lawyer

A spouse hires a lawyer to handle her divorce case.
Engaging the services of a lawyer in the contested divorce proceedings in Delaware is highly recommended.

Every divorce case is unique and depends on specific family consequences. Some spouses are able to come to an agreement and work towards an amicable divorce, while others cannot get along and are ready to fight in court to get the outcomes they want.

Consequently, the first thing you should do is analyze your situation and figure out whether you need to hire an attorney to take care of your case. Assistance of a divorce lawyer is required if you have disputes with your spouse on custody over children, don’t know how to divide property, cannot locate your spouse or know that they will refuse to communicate with you, etc.

On the contrary, if you can discuss terms with your spouse and cooperate, you may choose not to hire a lawyer.

2. Ensure the Eligibility for Uncontested Divorce

For now, you probably know that you are ready for divorce, but you should also determine whether you qualify for an uncontested one.

According to Delaware laws, obtaining an uncontested marriage dissolution is possible if there are no disputes between you and your spouse and you can come to a full agreement concerning matters essential for getting divorced. In this case, you won’t necessarily require legal assistance and can proceed with your marriage dissolution on your own.

3. Gather Personal Information Needed for Your Divorce

A woman enters personal information necessary for a divorce
In the divorce process in Delaware, disclosing personal information is often required, as it is crucial for addressing legal and financial aspects.

When filling out divorce papers, you will have to provide a lot of personal details about you and your spouse. These include your date of birth, address, place of employment, the number of children you have, date and place of marriage, etc. You will also have to prepare your SSN, marriage license, tax and medical records, pay stubs, financial and business documentation, etc. The court may request any of this data. If you are not sure that you have your personal paperwork in order, you should definitely check it out before initiating a divorce.

4. Find the Necessary Divorce Documents

If you qualify for an uncontested divorce and prefer not to work with a lawyer and save some money, then you must prepare your divorce kit on your own. You will need to gather any paperwork that may be needed for the court to finalize your case. For example, if you have children, you must collect all the papers related to custody and support.

Ensuring that you have prepared a full set of forms is critical not to get a rejection from the court clerk. If you do not know how to deal with the paperwork, check out here for some useful information.


5. Identify Your Personal Property

Identifying your separate property is an essential step you should take for fair property distribution between you and your spouse during a divorce. Delaware courts base their decision on the principle of equitable distribution. You will likely keep what belongs to you if you wish so, while the marital assets will be fairly divided by the court.

What is considered personal or separate property?

  • Any property that was acquired by you before the marriage.
  • Gifts or inheritance.
  • Any property that was determined as separate by the agreement.

Besides, you can also make a list of the valuable assets that you consider your personal and keep it for future divorce proceedings.

6. Open a New Credit Card in Your Name

A woman holds a new credit card that she made after filing for divorce.
In the context of divorce in Delaware, it is recommended to assess and potentially restructure financial accounts, including credit cards.

You may be surprised by this advice, but such a step is important for securing your financial future. First of all, you will be able to plan your post-divorce needs and expenses, aspects you may not want to disclose to your spouse.

Secondly, by getting a separate credit card, you can make payments and purchases without the second party knowing about that. Finally, opening your own card will give you a sense of control over your financial situation.

7. Take Pictures of Valuable Assets

You may prefer to omit this step, but if you are not completely sure that your assets are in safe hands and would like to protect them, then taking pictures is a vital thing to do.

Divorce experts advise taking photos if you are afraid that your spouse can harm valuable assets. Having such photos will be of great help during the appraisal or if there is a need to record the damage.

8. Change Passwords on Your Accounts

Protecting your personal information should definitely be on the list of things to consider when getting a divorce. It is recommended to change the passwords on your personal bank account, all your social media, and emails. You should also make sure that there is no way for your spouse to recover the passwords. This step is especially important to take if you have concerns about your safety.

9. Prepare for a New Parenting Arrangement

If you and your spouse have kids, the situation may get more complicated for all of you. Before getting a divorce, you must ensure that your children’s interests will be your top priority. Whether you plan to share custody or get a sole one, you will have to discuss all the details with your spouse. It is also a good idea to talk to your kids if they are mature enough and ask their opinion.

10. Take Steps to Separate Your Life from Your Spouse’s

A woman is thinking about how to separate her life from the spouse she wants to divorce.
While physical separation may not be mandatory, in Delaware, it is advisable to establish separate residences during divorce proceedings.

After you have discovered the important things you should take care of before filing, you should also be aware of the actions needed to end your marriage. These are some of the steps to finalize your divorce:

  1. Prepare and file the paperwork with the county court where you or your spouse reside. You must also pay the filing fee or request to waive the costs if you cannot cover them due to your financial situation.
  2. Serve divorce papers to your spouse. In Delaware, divorce documents are usually delivered by a sheriff.
  3. Attend any necessary hearings. In most uncontested cases, spouses are typically not required to be present in court. On the date of the final hearing, the judge will review all the documents and issue the judgment.
  4. Get your divorce decree and begin a new period of your life.

The Bottom Line

Ending a marriage is never easy for all the parties involved. However, being aware of the state laws and things you should take care of before initiating your divorce will help you handle this process as efficiently as possible. A checklist of things to do will simplify your divorce preparations and save you from extra anxiety related to uncertainty about what steps to take and in what order.

Please note that the checklist above is generalized and cannot serve as a reference for all cases, so make sure you have created the one that suits your specific divorce situation and needs.



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  2. Delaware Courts, “Divorce/Annulment Overview,”
  3. eDivorce, “How to Get Divorced in Delaware,”
  4. Justia, “Handling Money and Property Before Divorce Is Legally Granted,”
  5., “Delaware Divorce,”