CHAPTER 402

AN ACT TO ABOLISH THE ORPHANS' COURT; TO TRANSFER ITS JURISDICTION OVER ADOPTIONS AND TERMINATIONS OF PARENTAL RIGHTS TO THE SUPERIOR COURT; TO TRANSFER ITS JURISDICTION OVER ALL OTHER CASES TO THE COURT OF CHANCERY; AND TO ABOLISH THE OFFICE OF CLERK OF THE ORPHANS' COURT.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware:

Section 1. The Orphans' Court is hereby abolished and the jurisdiction and powers heretofore exercised by it are transferred to, and shall hereafter be exercised by, the Superior Court and the Court of Chancery as provided herein. The Judges of the Superior Court and the Orphans' Court shall continue to be the Judges of the Superior Court.

Section 2. The jurisdiction heretofore conferred upon and exercised by the Orphans' Court over adoptions and terminations of parental rights under Title 13, Del. C., Ch. 9 and 13, including all such cases which are pending and uncompleted on the effective date hereof, shall hereafter be vested in and exercised exclusively by the Superior Court. The Superior Court shall have and exercise all the powers heretofore exercised by the Orphans' Court in such proceedings, including the power to hear, determine and dispose of all such cases which are pending and uncompleted on the effective date hereof. All procedures provided in Title 13 Del. C., Ch. 9 and 13, shall continue to be followed. On the effective date of this Act, the Clerks of the Orphans' Court shall deliver all books, papers and records of the Orphans' Court pertaining to adoptions and termination of parental rights, in both pending and completed cases, to the Prothonotary in each County, whereupon they shall become and remain a part of the records of the Superior Court.

Section 3. The jurisdiction heretofore conferred upon and exercised by the Orphans' Court in all types of cases other than adoptions and terminations of parental rights, including all such cases pending and uncompleted on the effective date hereof, shall hereafter be vested in and exercised exclusively by the Court of Chancery, which shall have and exercise all the powers heretofor exercised by the Orphans' Court in such proceedings, including the power to hear, determine and dispose of all such cases which are pending and uncompleted on the effective date of this Act. All books, papers and records of the Orphans' Court, other than those pertaining to adoptions and terminations of parental rights, in both pending and completed matters, shall become and be a part of the records of the Court of Chancery.

Section 4. Appeals from the Register's Court shall be taken to the Court of Chancery. In cases where a Register of Wills is interested in questions concerning the probate of wills, the granting of letters of administration, or executors' or administrators' accounts, the cognizance thereof shall belong to the Court of Chancery. Exceptions to accounts of executors or administrators shall be taken to and heard by the Court of Chancery.

Section 5. The office of Clerk of the Orphans' Court is hereby abolished. After performing the duty required by Section 2 of this Act, each person then holding the office of Register in Chancery and Clerk of the Orphans' Court in the respective Counties shall continue to hold the office of Register in Chancery until the term of office for which he was elected shall terminate. The duties of the Register in Chancery shall include those duties heretofore imposed upon the Clerk of the Orphans' Court. The salaries for the respective Register in Chancery shall continue to be the amount heretofore established for the combined offices of Register in Chancery and Clerk of the Orphans' Court, until changed by law.

Section 6. Any Act or law, or part thereof, inconsistent with the provisions of this Act is hereby repealed.

Section 7. This Act shall become and be effective on the 1st day of July, 1970.

Approved May 6, 1970.