Step 1: Go to court to file the petition.
As soon as possible after the abuse occurs, go to the Family Court nearest to where you live. You can find contact information for courthouses on the DE Courthouse Locations page. You can also get the forms online at our DE Download Court Forms page.
On the petition, you will be the “petitioner” and the abuser will be the “respondent.” When writing about the incidents of violence, use descriptive language - words like “slapping,” “hitting,” “grabbing,” “threatening,” “choking,” etc., - that fits your situation. Include details and dates, if possible. Be specific.
You may also have to fill out an information sheet, but you are not required to provide your residence or phone number if it will put you in danger to reveal that information (you can ask that the information be kept confidential).1
If you need assistance filling out the form, you can ask the clerk for help2 or a local domestic violence program may be able to help you.
Note: Be sure to wait to sign the forms in front of the court clerk since your signature may have to be notarized. Remember to bring some form of identification (a driver’s license or other identification that includes your picture) to show the clerk.
1 10 Del.C. § 1042(b)
2 10 Del.C. § 1042(d)