Delaware Same Sex Marriage & Divorce Lawyer

Same Sex MarriageSame Sex Marriage and Divorce in Delaware

Under Delaware's previous law, a civil union was a legally recognized relationship of two people. Only same-sex couples could enter into a civil union in Delaware. A couple in a civil union will receive all the legal benefits and protections, and be subject to the same legal responsibilities, as are provided under Delaware law to married couples.

To get a divorce from a civil union in Delaware, you needed to file a petition for dissolution or divorce of your civil union using the same procedures that married spouses use to file for divorce. Civil union partners in Delaware will be eligible for maintenance (like alimony) and court assistance in allocating child custody, awarding visitation and support, and dividing property on the same terms as Same Sex Marriagespouses.

An out-of-state marriage to a same-sex partner was treated as a civil union under Delaware law, so you could seek to dissolve the marriage in Delaware. However, you should consult with an attorney regarding whether and how other states, including the one in which you married, will recognize a dissolution obtained in the Delaware courts under the civil union law.

What happens if I want to dissolve our Delaware civil union when my partner and I do not live in Delaware?

If both civil union partners live in a state where the courts will not grant a divorce of your civil union, the new law gives the Delaware Family Court the ability to grant a divorce of a civil union entered in Delaware.

2013 Update

As of 2013, Delaware performs same-sex marriages. House Bill 75, titled An act to amend Title 13 of the Delaware code relating to domestic relations to provide for same-gender civil marriage and to convert existing civil unions to civil marriages, was signed into law by Governor Jack Markell hours after its passage in the Delaware House of Representatives and Senate.

If either you or your spouse resides in Delaware, you will be able to obtain a divorce in your home state and will already have satisfied the residency requirements.  The legislation also gave Delaware courts authority over divorce proceedings in the case of a same-sex couple married in Delaware who reside in a state that will not grant them a divorce because it does not recognize their marriage. In such cases, if you were married in Delaware and are no longer (or have never been) a resident, you may obtain your divorce in Delaware without being subjected to its residency requirements.

Ways to Reduce Some of the Costs

There are ways to reduce the costs of same-sex divorce and to make the process somewhat easier. For example, you can avoid much of the contention and cost associated with the distribution of your property by entering into a prenuptial agreement before you marry or a property settlement agreement when you decide to divorce. Your attorney can help you determine which assets you and your spouse would like to co-own and how you would like them to be divided.

Contact An Experienced Same Sex Divorce Lawyer in Delaware

If you are in a same sex union in Delaware and have questions regarding your rights in a divorce or marriage dissolution please call 302-658-2834 to schedule your initial consultation today. The initial consultation fee is $300.00.