Legal Information: Delaware

Statutes: Delaware

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Updated: 
September 13, 2023

§ 1513. Disposition of marital property; imposition of lien; insurance policies

(a) In a proceeding for divorce or annulment, the Court shall, upon request of either party, equitably divide, distribute and assign the marital property between the parties without regard to marital misconduct, in such proportions as the Court deems just after considering all relevant factors including:

(1) The length of the marriage;

(2) Any prior marriage of the party;

(3) The age, health, station, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities and needs of each of the parties;

(4) Whether the property award is in lieu of or in addition to alimony;

(5) The opportunity of each for future acquisitions of capital assets and income;

(6) The contribution or dissipation of each party in the acquisition, preservation, depreciation or appreciation of the marital property, including the contribution of a party as homemaker, husband, or wife;

(7) The value of the property set apart to each party;

(8) The economic circumstances of each party at the time the division of property is to become effective, including the desirability of awarding the family home or the right to live therein for reasonable periods to the party with whom any children of the marriage will live;

(9) Whether the property was acquired by gift, except those gifts excluded by paragraph (b)(1) of this section;

(10) The debts of the parties; and

(11) Tax consequences.

(b) For purposes of this chapter only, “marital property” means all of the following:

(1) All property acquired by either party subsequent to the marriage, except any of the following:

a. Property acquired by an individual spouse by bequest, devise, or descent or by gift, including a gift in trust and excluding gifts between spouses, if any of the following apply:

1. The gifted property is titled and maintained in the sole name of the donee spouse;

2. The gifted property is held in a trust created by another person, of which trust the donee spouse is a beneficiary, regardless of whether other individuals are beneficiaries of the same trust;

3. A gift tax return is filed reporting the transfer of the gifted property in the sole name of the donee spouse or in a trust of which the donee spouse is a beneficiary; or

4. A notarized or other validly executed document, executed before or contemporaneously with the transfer, is offered demonstrating the nature of the transfer.

(2) All jointly-titled real property acquired by the parties prior to their marriage, unless excluded by valid agreement of the parties. For purposes of this paragraph, “jointly-titled real property” includes joint tenancy, tenancy in common, and any other form of co-ownership.

(c) All property acquired by either party subsequent to the marriage is presumed to be marital property regardless of whether title is held individually or by the parties in some form of co-ownership such as joint tenancy, tenancy in common or tenancy by the entirety. The presumption of marital property is overcome by a showing that the property was acquired by a method listed in paragraphs (b)(1)a. through d. of this section. Property transferred by gift from 1 spouse to the other during the marriage is marital property.

(d) The Court may also impose a lien or charge upon the marital property assigned to a party as security for the payment of alimony or other allowance or award for the other party.

(e) The Court may also direct the continued maintenance and beneficiary designations of existing policies insuring the life of either party. The Court’s power under this subsection shall extend only to policies originally purchased during the marriage and owned by or within the effective control of either party.

(f) The Court may order a party to execute and deliver any deed, document or other paper necessary to effectuate an order entered under this chapter, and if the party so ordered fails to do what he or she has been ordered to do, the Court, in addition to any penalty or sanction it may decide to impose upon that party for such disobedience, may direct the Clerk of the Court to do what the party was ordered to do, and such performance by the Clerk shall be as effective as the performance of the party would have been.

(g)(1) If the court finds that a companion animal of the parties is marital property, it shall award ownership of and responsibility for the companion animal to 1 or both of the parties and may include responsibility for veterinary or other extraordinary expenses.

(2) In issuing an order under paragraph (g)(1) of this section, the Court shall take into consideration the well-being of the companion animal. In determining the well-being of the companion animal, the Court may consider factors such as:

a. The ability of each party to own, support, and provide necessary care for the companion animal.

b. The attachment between the companion animal and each of the parties.

c. The time and effort each party spent with the companion animal during the marriage tending to the companion animal’s needs.

(3) If the parties are awarded a shared interest in a companion animal, the Court shall limit the subsequent disposition of the companion animal to the following:

a. The parties may jointly transfer their combined interests to a third party.

b. One party may in writing irrevocably surrender their interest to the other party.

c. Upon the death of one party, all interest shall transfer to the surviving party.

d. Upon a substantial change of circumstances, either party may petition the Family Court to be awarded sole ownership based upon the welfare of the companion animal and the totality of the circumstances.

(h) A spouse’s beneficial interest in property held in a trust created by another person, which property interest is described in § 3315(b) of Title 12, is not property acquired by the spouse.

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