Dover Divorce Lawyer

When your marriage has come to an end and you’re prepared to get a fresh start by filing for divorce, reach out to a qualified Dover divorce attorney who will represent your interests throughout the process.  

Many marriages simply don’t end well. Sometimes, the longer spouses remain together, the more obvious it becomes that their lives are incompatible. Divorce becomes an option when one or both of you starts to consider the possibility of life without the other.

If you’ve come to the decision that it might be time to think about filing for divorce, consult with a Dover divorce lawyer at Barros, McNamara, Malkiewicz & Taylor. We will work to make sure you aren’t taken advantage of during the divorce process.

Getting Your Marriage Annulled in Dover

An annulment takes divorce one step further. When a marriage is annulled, it means the marriage is void and technically never existed. There is no specific time limit you’ll need to adhere to if you’re seeking an annulment, but it stands to reason that, once you discover that your marriage has grounds for an annulment, you should act quickly.

Despite the fact that marriage annulments are uncommon in Dover and Delaware as a whole, there are cases in which a marriage could be dissolved. A few examples could be if one or both spouses were inebriated during the marriage ceremony or in the event that either spouse was under the age of consent and therefore not legally able to marry.

Is a Legal Separation Right for You?

Separations are required for spouses who hope to get a divorce. The separation must take place for at least six months before the court will consider granting you a no-fault divorce. A separation means that not only are you and your spouse no longer living together, but you are also abstaining from sexual relations with each other.

You will not be obligated to adhere to the six-month time frame if your divorce is being sought for misconduct on the part of your spouse. Domestic violence and adultery are some of the most commonly seen grounds for divorces in Dover.

Filing for Divorce in Dover

Once you’ve completed the six-month separation, you’ll be able to file for divorce in a Kent County court. You’ll need to determine which type of divorce you’re involved in—a contested divorce or an uncontested one.

A contested divorce is when your spouse challenges the information you provide in the official divorce papers. Once a divorce has been contested, you’ll need to attend a hearing where a judge will listen to both spouses’ opinions on the dissolution of the marriage.

In an uncontested divorce, the other party has chosen not to respond to the papers or is consenting to the terms of the documents you sent, and the court will concede your request for a divorce. A divorce attorney in Dover can help you with both types of divorce.

Setting Up Spousal Support

In a divorce, particularly one where there is a higher-earning spouse and a lesser-earning spouse, the judge may make the decision to award the lesser-earning spouse alimony. Also known as spousal support, this is designed to ensure that both spouses are able to walk away on equitable financial ground.

Upon the judge’s determination that alimony is appropriate, he or she will establish which spouse will be responsible for providing support, how much will be given each month, and for how long. This time period will not be longer than half the duration of the marriage if the marriage lasted for a period of twenty years or fewer.

During the time when the other spouse is receiving alimony, he or she will be expected to work toward being able to support himself or herself financially, whether that’s through finding employment or taking part in job training.

Property and Asset Division

A common point of contention in most Dover divorce proceedings is the way the properties and assets you’ve obtained together throughout the years will be split. In Dover and across the state, this division of assets needs to be done reasonably and fairly. For example, if one spouse is going to be receiving alimony, he or she doesn’t necessarily deserve to also receive half of the marital assets.

If you owned property before you were married or specifically bought something you always intended to be “yours” and not a part of the marriage, it should remain yours within the division of your belongings.

After you’ve been able to establish which property is separate or joint, each item will be given a value and both you and your spouse will attempt to divide the items as you see fit. If you cannot come to an agreement, the court can make the determination for you. If you acquired any debts as a couple, they will also be divided among the two of you.  

Debts that you came into together to further your marriage, such as the purchase of a home or vehicle, will be divided. You can expect to be responsible for any debts you incurred prior to your marriage. For this part of the divorce process in particular, a divorce lawyer in Dover can be helpful in making sure you aren’t left empty-handed.

Dover Divorce FAQ

Once you’ve decided that divorce is the best choice for you and your family, you’ll more than likely have numerous questions about what you can expect moving forward. There are many items to be aware of in family law, some of which will pertain to you and others that will not. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions our clients have about their impending divorces in Dover:

Is it expensive to get a divorce?

Kent County Court has a fee of approximately $150 for each petition you file. This could include a petition for alimony, property division, and, of course, the divorce itself. You should also budget for your attorney’s rate, which will be agreed upon prior to the start of the divorce process.

What do I do if I can’t find my spouse to serve him the divorce papers?

If we can demonstrate that we have made multiple attempts to find your spouse and have been unable to, we can request that the court allow for a divorce by publication. This is when we publish your intent to divorce in the local paper of the missing spouse’s last known location. After twenty days, if your spouse has not attempted to contest your request for a divorce, your request should be granted.

Do I need to go to court?

You’ll be able to avoid going to court if you and your spouse are able to work together to divide your property and assets amicably, reach an agreement about child custody and support, and file your petition for divorce online. However, if your spouse contests the divorce at any time, you will likely need to go to court for a hearing in front of a judge.

Reach Out to a Dover Divorce Attorney

If you would like to discuss the specific details of your upcoming divorce or secure an experienced legal ally as you begin the process, get in touch with the attorneys at Barros, McNamara, Malkiewicz & Taylor.

You can contact a Dover divorce lawyer at our firm by filling out the quick contact form we’ve provided below or giving us a call at 302-734-8400. Schedule your consultation today.