You and your spouse are at your wits end with one another. You know your marriage is over and you just want to divorce quickly and move on with your life. Still, for most people, it is not advisable to rush into divorce. You need time to plan for your post-divorce life and you need time to resolve any divorce disputes you and your spouse may have before you can agree on a settlement and legally end your marriage.
The state of Delaware recognizes that getting divorced should be a carefully thought-out decision and has in place a waiting period that must be met before you and your spouse can divorce.
The separation period before divorce
Under Delaware Code, separation from your spouse, however informal, is necessary to divorce. Whether you have a separation agreement or not, you and your spouse must live separately for at least six months before you can legally divorce. There are some exceptions to this requirement for marital misconduct.
Living separately can either mean you and your spouse have completely different residences or, if you still share a home, you have different bedrooms and do not engage in sexual intercourse during the six-month period. A six-month separation shows to the court that your marriage has satisfied the element of irretrievable breakdown, a ground for divorce, allowing your divorce to move forward.
So, even if you and your spouse agree on the divorce and have all of your divorce issues resolved in a settlement agreement, six months of separation still must pass before your divorce can be finalized.
Do not lose hope. It can take a while to negotiate a settlement and if you are going through the entire divorce litigation process, it could possibly take more than six months to complete. So, once settled or ruled upon, the six-month separation period may have already passed and your divorce can be finalized.