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District of Columbia Divorce Definitions

This collection of definitions will help clarify some unique characteristics to the Delaware Divorce laws, process and paperwork which is filed with the court.

Filing Party Title:
Petitioner

The spouse who will initiate the Divorce by filing the required paperwork with the court.

Non-Filing Party Title:
Respondent

The spouse who does not initiate the Divorce with the court.

Court Name:
The Family Court of the the State of Delaware, In and for __________ County

The proper name of the court in which a Divorce is filed in the state of Delaware. Each jurisdictional court typically has a domestic relations or a family law department or division.

Child Support Enforcement Website:
http://www.state.de.us/dhss/dcse/index.html

The state run office devoted to enforcing existing child support orders and collecting any past due child support.

Document Introduction:
In Re the Marriage of:

The lead-in verbiage used in the legal caption or header of the documents filed with the court. The introduction typically prefaces both spouse’s names.

Initial Divorce Document:
Petition for Divorce

The title and name of the legal document that will initiate the Delaware Divorce process. The filing spouse is also required to provide the non-filing spouse a copy of this document.

Final Divorce Document:
Decree of Divorce

The title and name of the legal document that will finalize the Delaware Divorce process. This document will be signed by the judge, master, or referee of the court to declare your marriage officially terminated.

Clerk’s Office Name:
County Clerk’s Office of the Family Court

The office of the clerk that will facilitate the Divorce process. This is the title you would address letters to or ask for when contacting the courthouse.

Legal Separation:

The respondent may file an appearance which will fulfill the requirement of service of process. In addition, a sample Petition for Divorce is contained in Delaware Code Annotated; Title 13, Chapter 1507. [Delaware Code Annotated; Title 13, Chapter 1508].

Property Distribution:
Equitable Distribution

The applicable Delaware law that will dictate how property and debt is to be divided upon Divorce.