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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


Types of Legal Care of a Child:

Custody
Who can file: What it provides: Standard:
  • parent
  • step-parent
  •  

  • a decision making power related to the child
  • with whom the children will live
  • how much visitation the other parent will have
  • best interests of the child OR
  • consent of the parties
  • A parent education class is required.
    After the Petition for Custody is filed, the parties are prohibited from removing the child out of State.

    Visitation
    Who can file: What it provides: Standard:
  • any adult
  • grandparent*
  • *Special standards apply to grandparents. See visitation instruction packet.

  • a schedule of contact with the child
  • best interests of the child OR
  • consent of the parties
  • A parent education class may be required.
    After the Petition for Visitation is filed, the parties are prohibited from removing the child from the State.
    Parties may file a Motion for Temporary Contact.

    Guardianship
    Who can file: What it provides: Standard:
  • any adult (non-parents)
  • legal authority to care for a child as if you were a parent
  • parental rights not terminated
  • parents may be liable to pay support
  • contact with parent may be ordered
  • child is dependent or neglected and guardianship is in the child's best interests OR
  • parent(s) consent

  • Permanent Guardianship
    Who can file: What it provides: Standard:
  • a blood relative
  • foster parent
  • legal authority to care for a child as if you were a parent
  • parental rights not terminated
  • parents may be liable to pay support
  • contact with parent may be ordered
  • adoption is not possible
  • permanent guardianship is in the child's best interests
  • one ground for TPR is met OR
  • parents(s) consent
  • A social report is required.
    Permanent guardianship is very difficult to modify or terminate.