Divorce Lawyers in Dover, DE

Emotional Family Matters Demand Experienced Family Law Advocates

Few events in life can be more emotionally fraught than divorce. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the decision for spouses to end their marriage, there are many issues that need to be addressed in and out of court. Decisions will have to be made on contested divorce versus uncontested divorce; property division; alimony; spousal support; and if there are children – child custody and support.

In the best of cases, you and your spouse are on the same page and the divorce will be amicable. Even then you will need a Dover divorce lawyer to provide advice and be there to effectuate the divorce on your behalf. However, this is rarely the case and each party will need their own divorce attorney to manage disputes on each aspect of the marriage dissolution.

Schmittinger & Rodriguez has the experienced divorce lawyer you will require to end your marriage. There are many forks in the road while going through the process, however, we have been providing support to clients for decades and working with each unique set of facts and circumstances. We can best lead you down the right road to arrive at the best outcome possible.

 

Delaware Divorce Laws

In Delaware, divorce is governed by the Delaware Code, specifically Title 13, Chapter 15. The first two key aspects of the law are residency and grounds for the divorce:

Residency Requirement

Either spouse must have been a resident of Delaware for at least six months before filing for divorce.

Grounds for Divorce

To legally file for divorce, the grounds recognized by the law is that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” This phrase conveys that the relationship has irrevocably failed and cannot be repaired.

There are two types of divorce: fault and no-fault.

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Contact Schmittinger & Rodriguez

At Schmittinger & Rodriguez, we understand how difficult and stressful it can be to deal with a family law matter. It can be traumatic and emotionally charged.

Our team has decades of combined experience handling family law issues. We have a deep understanding of Delaware law and will provide dedicated legal representation throughout your case. Our experienced attorneys are committed to providing you with personalized attention and will fight hard to get you the best possible outcome for your case. If you or someone you love has a family law matter, contact Schmittinger & Rodriguez today and let us help you through this difficult time. We will work hard to get you the justice, security, and peace of mind that you deserve.

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What Our Clients Say

Brian Jenkins
2023-10-05
Mr Catts went above and beyond to handle my complicated case. The level of professionalism is second to none. The staff and Mr. Catts were kind, courteous, and listened to my concerns with compassion. I would recomend this firm to anyone needing legal help. They earned my trust in am amazing way.
Linda Wilson
2023-10-04
Mr Catts and his legal team went above and beyond for me. They never stopped pursuing all avenues to get the compensation that I deserved. The staff was courteous and showed compassion. I felt like they really cared about my injuries. I highly recommend their services to anyone
Tatiana Sida-Amor
2023-09-17
I was recommended to this law office by my doctor after my car accident in the summer of 2021. I ended up working with Mr. Catts. I appreciate how forthcoming and hardworking he was about my case. The office is extremely professional to ensure that I got the best settlement that I could get. The open communication eased my mind and allowed me to handle things I needed to for myself. Definitely recommend them if you want lawyers that give you results.
Kathyjo Mays
2023-09-07
I recommend them highly and have referred them to many of my friends and family. Very informative and def kept me up to date about my case. Schmittinger & Rodriguez def worked very hard for me.
Mary Zober
2023-09-06
The staff is friendly and makes you feel comfortable. The firm worked on getting my settlement and kept me informed every step of the way.
Sharonda goode
2023-08-15
Great experience! Doug Catts, Ryan and Ms. Kaye are awesome to work with. Very professional, friendly & knowledgeable. They are expensive. But get the job done & in a timely manner. I use Mr. Catts for all my legal needs.
Hot Box237
2023-08-15
I will recommend this lawyer to any one, I feel like crying. He is kind, patient and a good listener. He solved your problem and at the end advice you. Thank you very much.
Cheryl Rowe
2023-08-15
Doug is personable…assertive and he will get the job done!
Patsy Ware
2023-08-14
Schmittinger and Rodriquez attorney Doug Catts is the best, I highly recommend him. As an attorney he is forthright, honest, transparent and sincere. Doug Catts and his staff are amazing.

Fault vs. No-Fault Divorce

In Delaware, divorces can be classified as either fault-based or no-fault divorces.

Fault-Based Divorce

In a fault-based divorce, one spouse alleges that the other spouse is responsible for the breakdown of the marriage due to specific reasons recognized by Delaware law including:

  • Adultery

  • Desertion

  • Cruelty or excessively vicious conduct

  • Drug or alcohol addiction

  • Mental illness

To obtain a fault-based divorce, the accusing spouse must provide evidence to support their claims. Fault-based divorces often involve a more adversarial and contentious process, as the accusing spouse is attempting to prove that the other spouse is at fault for the marriage’s failure.

No-Fault Divorce

In a no-fault divorce, neither spouse is required to prove that the other spouse is responsible for the marriage’s breakdown. Instead, the spouses can seek a divorce based on the grounds of separation. Delaware allows for a no-fault divorce if the spouses have lived separately and apart for at least six months before filing for divorce. A separation-based no-fault divorce focuses on the fact that the spouses have been living apart for an extended period, indicating the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

If you are considering divorce in Delaware and are unsure whether to pursue a fault-based or no-fault divorce, it is recommended to consult with our knowledgeable divorce lawyers. They can assess your specific circumstances, explain the advantages and disadvantages of each approach, and guide you through the divorce process based on your goals and interests.

Property Division In Delaware Divorce

In Delaware, marital property is divided based on the principle of equitable distribution. Equitable distribution means that the court strives to divide marital property in a manner that is fair and just, though not necessarily equal, to both parties.

When making property division decisions, the court considers various factors which include:

  1. Length of the marriage

    The duration of the marriage is an important factor in property division. Typically, longer marriages may result in a more equal distribution of marital assets.

  2. Contribution of each spouse

    The court considers the contributions made by each spouse to the acquisition, preservation, or appreciation of marital property. This includes financial contributions, as well as non-financial contributions such as homemaking or child-rearing.

  3. Economic circumstances of each spouse

    The court takes into account the financial situation of each spouse, including their earning capacity, income, and potential for future financial security.

  4. Age and health of each spouse

    The age and health of the spouses are considered to assess their ability to support themselves and their future financial needs.

  5. Standard of living during the marriage

    The lifestyle and standard of living enjoyed by the spouses during the marriage are factors the court may consider when determining the division of property.

  6. Tax consequences

    The court may consider the tax implications of property division decisions, such as the potential capital gains tax or other tax liabilities associated with certain assets.

  7. Custodial arrangements and child support obligations

    If there are minor children involved, the court may take into account the custodial arrangements and the financial obligations of each spouse toward support.

It’s important to note that marital property typically includes assets acquired during the marriage, such as real estate, vehicles, bank accounts, retirement accounts, and personal property. Separate property, which includes assets acquired before the marriage or through inheritance or gifts, is generally not subject to division.

The court has discretion in determining the division of marital property based on these factors, aiming to achieve a fair outcome for both parties. At Schmittinger & Rodriguez our divorce lawyers understand how these principles and factors may apply to your specific situation.

How Are Child Custody Cases Resolved in Delaware?

Child custody cases in Delaware can be complex and emotionally charged. When parents cannot come to an agreement on child custody and visitation arrangements, the family court will step in to make decisions based on the best interests of the child. Here are the steps involved in resolving custody cases in Delaware:

    1. Mediation: In Delaware, parents are required to participate in mediation before a custody case can go to trial. During mediation, a neutral third-party mediator helps the parents reach a mutually acceptable agreement on custody and visitation.

    2. Custody Evaluation: If mediation is unsuccessful, the court may order a custody evaluation. A custody evaluation typically involves interviews with the parents, children, and other relevant parties, as well as observations of the children with each parent. The evaluator will then make recommendations to the court on custody and visitation arrangements.

    3. Trial: If mediation and a custody evaluation fail to produce a resolution, the case will go to trial. At trial, each parent will present evidence and arguments in support of their desired custody arrangement. The judge will then make a decision based on the best interests of the child.

    4. Modification: Custody arrangements can be modified if there is a significant change in circumstances, such as a parent relocating or a child’s needs changing. The court will again consider the best interests of the child when making modifications to custody arrangements.

It is important to work with experienced family law attorneys when dealing with child custody cases. Our outstanding lawyers can help you navigate the legal process, protect your rights, and work toward a custody arrangement that is in the best interests of your child.

How Are Child Custody Cases Resolved in Delaware?

Child custody cases in Delaware can be complex and emotionally charged. When parents cannot come to an agreement on child custody and visitation arrangements, the family court will step in to make decisions based on the best interests of the child. Here are the steps involved in resolving custody cases in Delaware:

    1. Mediation: In Delaware, parents are required to participate in mediation before a custody case can go to trial. During mediation, a neutral third-party mediator helps the parents reach a mutually acceptable agreement on custody and visitation.

    2. Custody Evaluation: If mediation is unsuccessful, the court may order a custody evaluation. A custody evaluation typically involves interviews with the parents, children, and other relevant parties, as well as observations of the children with each parent. The evaluator will then make recommendations to the court on custody and visitation arrangements.

    3. Trial: If mediation and a custody evaluation fail to produce a resolution, the case will go to trial. At trial, each parent will present evidence and arguments in support of their desired custody arrangement. The judge will then make a decision based on the best interests of the child.

    4. Modification: Custody arrangements can be modified if there is a significant change in circumstances, such as a parent relocating or a child’s needs changing. The court will again consider the best interests of the child when making modifications to custody arrangements.

It is important to work with experienced family law attorneys when dealing with child custody cases. Our outstanding lawyers can help you navigate the legal process, protect your rights, and work toward a custody arrangement that is in the best interests of your child.

How Are Child Custody Cases Resolved in Delaware?

Child custody cases in Delaware can be complex and emotionally charged. When parents cannot come to an agreement on child custody and visitation arrangements, the family court will step in to make decisions based on the best interests of the child. Here are the steps involved in resolving custody cases in Delaware:

    1. Mediation: In Delaware, parents are required to participate in mediation before a custody case can go to trial. During mediation, a neutral third-party mediator helps the parents reach a mutually acceptable agreement on custody and visitation.

    2. Custody Evaluation: If mediation is unsuccessful, the court may order a custody evaluation. A custody evaluation typically involves interviews with the parents, children, and other relevant parties, as well as observations of the children with each parent. The evaluator will then make recommendations to the court on custody and visitation arrangements.

    3. Trial: If mediation and a custody evaluation fail to produce a resolution, the case will go to trial. At trial, each parent will present evidence and arguments in support of their desired custody arrangement. The judge will then make a decision based on the best interests of the child.

    4. Modification: Custody arrangements can be modified if there is a significant change in circumstances, such as a parent relocating or a child’s needs changing. The court will again consider the best interests of the child when making modifications to custody arrangements.

It is important to work with experienced family law attorneys when dealing with child custody cases. Our outstanding lawyers can help you navigate the legal process, protect your rights, and work toward a custody arrangement that is in the best interests of your child.

Why Schmittinger & Rodriguez
Is Right For You

At Schmittinger & Rodriguez, our experienced team of divorce lawyers strive to provide the highest quality legal assistance and representation for our clients. Our attorneys have decades of combined experience in family law matters, including divorce, child custody and support, alimony, property division, prenuptial agreements and post-decree modifications. We understand that each situation is unique and our attorneys are committed to providing personalized service and attention to each case.

Our attorneys have a thorough understanding of Delaware family law, enabling us to provide the best possible advice and strategies for your individual situation. We provide straightforward legal counsel that is tailored to your specific needs, while focusing on protecting your rights and long-term interests. Our goal is always to resolve disputes without going to court, utilizing alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation or collaborative law when appropriate.

If a trial is necessary, our attorneys are ready and able to zealously advocate for your interests in court. We have extensive experience litigating divorce and family law matters before Delaware courts, and we are confident in our ability to provide strong representation for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to get a divorce in Delaware?

The timeline for a divorce in Delaware can vary depending on several factors, such as the complexity of the issues involved and the level of cooperation between the parties. On average, it takes around three to six months to finalize an uncontested divorce, while a contested divorce can take significantly longer.

Can I modify a divorce decree or custody order?

Yes, it is possible to modify a divorce decree or custody order if there has been a significant change in circumstances since the original order was issued. Changes in income, relocation, or a substantial change in the child's needs may warrant a modification. However, it is important to consult with an attorney to assess the validity and feasibility of a modification request.

Can I seek a divorce if my spouse is missing or unreachable?

Yes, Delaware allows for divorce by publication if you have made diligent efforts to locate your spouse but have been unsuccessful. Through a legal process, you can provide notice of the divorce through publication in a local newspaper, and the court can proceed with the divorce based on the information provided.

Can I seek a divorce if my spouse is in the military and stationed overseas?

Yes, you can seek a divorce in Delaware even if your spouse is in the military and stationed overseas. Special provisions, such as the Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA), may apply to protect the rights of military members in divorce proceedings.

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