The Delaware State Courts will be closed on Monday, December 24th and Tuesday, December 25th for the Christmas holiday. Justice of the Peace Courts 11 (New Castle County), 7 (Kent County) and 3 (Sussex County) will remain open.

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.