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Delaware State Courts.  The Official Website of the Delaware Judiciary
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New Castle County
New Castle County Courthouse
500 North King Street
Wilmington, DE 19801

302-255-0300
Kent County
400 Court Street
Dover, DE 19901
302-672-1000
Sussex County
22 The Circle
Georgetown, DE 19947
302-855-7400



Welcome to the Family Court of the State of Delaware






Overview
  The Family Court has extensive jurisdiction over all domestic matters. Information about the most frequently heard matters can be found to the right. These links provide information on each of the topic areas as well as instruction books and forms to assist in filing with the Court. For complete information on the jurisdiction of the Family Court, see Jurisdiction.

question Frequently Asked Questions:
 

The Family Court Website does not contain any personal case information and your Family Court file cannot be accessed electronically. For those inquiries, please contact Family Court at 302-255-0300 in New Castle County, 302-672-1000 in Kent County and 302-855-7400 in Sussex County.

Access to Family Court MattersThis document outlines the current laws and rules related to access to Family Court hearings and records.  Any member of the public is permitted to attend any Family Court matter that is not closed by law or court rule, unless a Judge or Commissioner presiding over a particular matter makes a ruling to close a proceeding in accordance with the relevant legal authority.  If you believe that you have been denied access to an open court matter, please contact the Office of the Court Administrator at 302-255-0077. 
**Please note the Lawyer Referral Service/DVLS phone number has changed for Kent and Sussex Counties.  That number is 1-888-225-0582.
ADOPTION Instruction Packetpdf icon
Adoption Forms
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The intent of an adoption is to legally and permanently create a new relationship between a minor child and a new parent(s).  The law about Adoption is found within Chapter 9 of Title 13 of the Delaware Code.  (view more)

child support icon CHILD SUPPORT Child Support FAQ Packetpdf icon
Child Support FAQ Packet (Spanish)pdf icon
+Click to expand window for an overview Child Support Forms

Under Delaware law, both parents have a duty to support their child until the child is 18 years of age, or, if the child is still in high school, until the child graduates or turns 19 years of age, whichever comes first.  A support action begins when one parent files a support petition, requesting the Court to order the other parent to pay child support. After the petition is filed, the Court may order genetic testing to establish paternity, if necessary.  Most parents seeking support are represented by the Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE). In those cases, DCSE files all actions and pursues administrative remedies also. The Court encourages all parents seeking support to explore the services of DCSE.  (view more)

custody icon CUSTODY Instruction Packetpdf icon
Custody Forms
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Under Delaware law, parents are joint natural custodians of their children. When parents live separate and apart, either or both parents may file a petition in Family Court asking that the court award custody to him/her. (view more)

custody modification icon CUSTODY MODIFICATION Instruction Packetpdf icon
Custody Modification Forms
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You may only file to change custody if a custody order has already been issued by the Court.  If you have not been to the Court before regarding custody, please see the Custody Instruction Pages.  (view more)

criminal icon CRIMINAL The Juvenile Process
The Adult Process
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Under Delaware law, charges may be brought by a complaint. A complaint is a written statement of the alleged key facts that forms the charges. Complaints are appropriate for Family Court when the defendant is less than 18 years old or when it is alleged that an adult has committed a misdemeanor crime against a child or family member. Complaints appropriate for Family Court may be filed in Family Court itself or in a Justice of the Peace Court for Family Court. A complaint filed in a Justice of the Peace Court for Family Court will be sent to Family Court. (view more)

divorce/annulment icon DIVORCE / ANNULMENT Instruction Packet
Divorce Forms
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Getting a divorce or an annulment is an important decision.  A divorce is the way to legally end your marriage.  An annulment is the way to have the Court declare that your marriage never existed.  Before you decide to get a divorce or annulment, you may want to meet with a family counselor.  A counselor can help you identify problem areas in your marriage and help you decide whether you should get a divorce or annulment. If you do decide to get a divorce or annulment, we recommend that you speak to an attorney to find out about your rights. (view more)

guardianship icon GUARDIANSHIP Instruction Packetpdf icon
Guardianship Forms
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Guardianship is the possession by a non-parent of the powers, rights, and duties which are necessary to protect, manage and care for a child. A Guardian has the legal authority to take care of the child as if he/she were the child’s parent until the child turns 18 years of age.  Included in a Guardianship Order is a Custody Order. Therefore, a Guardian has the same legal authority to care for the child as a parent would. However, unlike a parent, the Guardian cannot be held liable by a third party for something the child has done wrong simply because he/she is the guardian. Additionally, the Court also has the right to limit any of the powers and duties granted to a Guardian.  (view more)

guardianship, permanent icon GUARDIANSHIP, PERMANENT Instruction Packetpdf icon
Permanent Guardianship Forms
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The intent of Permanent Guardianship is to create a relationship between a child and a caretaker which is permanent and self-sustaining and creates a permanent family for the child without having to terminate the parental rights of the child’s parents.  Only a blood relative or foster parent(s) of the child may serve as a Permanent Guardian. (view more)

guardianship, standby icon GUARDIANSHIP, STANDBY Instruction Packetpdf icon
Standby Guardianship Forms
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Standby Guardianship is a means of establishing guardianship quickly to enable a parent or guardian suffering from a progressive chronic condition or terminal illness to make plans for the permanent future care or the interim care of a child without terminating parental or legal rights.  Included in a Standby Guardianship Order is a Custody Order.  Therefore, a Standby Guardian has the same legal authority to care for the child as a parent would.  However, the Court also has the right to limit any of the powers and duties granted to a Standby Guardian.  (view more)

motions icon MOTIONS Instruction Packetpdf icon
Motions Forms
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A motion is a way to request that the Court take a specific action in a case or grant specific relief in a case.  (view more)

protection from abuse icon PROTECTION FROM ABUSE (PFA) Process
PFA Forms
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An Order of Protection From Abuse is an order of Family Court ordering someone to stop abusing another person, and may include other relief, such as ordering the abuser to stay away from the person being abused. Abuse is defined as any threatening or harmful conduct including serious emotional harm.  (view more)

termination of parental rights icon TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS (TPR) Instruction Packetpdf icon
TPR Forms
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The intent of Termination of Parental Rights (“TPR”) is to legally and permanently terminate the relationship between a child and his/her parent.  The law about TPR is found within Chapter 11 of Title 13 of the Delaware Code. After the Court issues a TPR Order, parental rights are usually then transferred to another person through an Adoption Order.  The prospective adoptive parent must file a Petition for Adoption.  Once an Adoption Order is issued, the adoptive parent then becomes the permanent legal parent of the child and will have all of the rights, duties, privileges and obligations recognized by the law between parents and their children.   The law about adoption is embodied within Chapter 9 of Title 13 of the Delaware Code.  (view more)

visitation icon VISITATION (Parent) Instruction Packetpdf icon
Parent Visitation Forms
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When parents live separate and apart, either or both parents may file a petition in Family Court asking that the court award custody to him/her.  A visitation schedule is usually determined along with a custody decision.  If there is not a pending Petition for Custody and if a parent desires to have a specific contact schedule with the child, a Petition for Parental Visitation (form #350) may be filed.  (view more)

visitation 3rd party icon VISITATION (3rd Party/Grandparent) Instruction Packetpdf icon
Visitation (3rd party) Forms
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Any non-parent, including grandparents may file for visitation with a child if they:

    1)  have a substantial and positive prior relationship with the child OR
    2)  are a relative of the child

If a non-parent wishes to have visitation with a child, a Petition for 3rd Party/Grandparent Visitation (Form #172) may be filed.  (view more)

Links of Interest:
Bail Bond Policy and Registration
CASA
Child Support Calculation
Court Hearing Information
Employment
Family Court Forms
For Attorneys
Fees
Legal Care of a Child Chart
Parenting Education
Public Policies
Hours and Locations
Additional Parking for NCCCH
Statute and Rule Changes

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Emergency or Expedited relief image link
What will my filing cost? image link
Recognize Family Court staff for quality service
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