TITLE 10

Courts and Judicial Procedure

Organization, Powers, Jurisdiction and Operation of Courts

CHAPTER 9. THE FAMILY COURT OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE

Subchapter I. Organization, Administration and Operation


For the purpose of this chapter, unless the context indicates differently:

(1) "Abuse" or "abused child" means that a person:

a. Causes or inflicts sexual abuse on a child; or

b. Has care, custody or control of a child, and causes or inflicts:

1. Physical injury through unjustified force as defined in § 468 of Title 11;

2. Emotional abuse;

3. Torture;

4. Exploitation; or

5. Maltreatment or mistreatment.

(2) "Adult" means a person who has reached his or her eighteenth birthday.

(3) "Care, custody and control" or "those responsible for care, custody and control" shall mean a person or persons in a position of trust, authority, supervision or control over a child. It may include:

a. A parent, guardian, or custodian;

b. Other members of the child's family or household, meaning persons living together permanently or temporarily without regard to whether they are related to each other and without regard to the length of time or continuity of such residence, and it may include persons who previously lived in the household such as paramours of a member of the child's household;

c. Any person who, regardless of whether a member of the child's household, is defined as family or relatives in this section or as an adult individual defined in § 1009(b)(3)a. [repealed] of this title;

d. Persons temporarily responsible for the child's well-being or care such as a health-care provider, aide, teacher, instructor, coach, sitter, day care or child care provider, or any other person having regular direct contact with children through affiliation with a school, church, or religious institution, health-care facility, athletic or charitable organization or any other organization whether such a person is compensated or acting as a volunteer; or

e. Any person who has assumed control of or responsibility for the child.

For the purpose of investigation of child abuse, dependency or neglect, the Department of Services for Children and Their Families (DSCYF) may investigate any allegation of child abuse, dependency or neglect committed by persons identified herein, but shall only be responsible for the investigation of intrafamilial and institutional child abuse, dependency or neglect. Where the DSCYF is not responsible for the investigation of such child abuse or neglect, it shall immediately refer such report to the appropriate police authorities or child protective services agencies within or without the State.

(4) "Child" means a person who has not reached his or her eighteenth birthday.

(5) "Court" means the Family Court of the State of Delaware, and "court" refers to other courts of the State.

(6) "Custodian" means any person who is charged by law with or who has assumed responsibility for a child's care.

(7) "Delinquent child" means a child who commits an act which if committed by an adult would constitute a crime.

(8) "Dependency" or "dependent child" means that a person:

a. Is responsible for the care, custody, and/or control of the child; and

b. Does not have the ability and/or financial means to provide for the care of the child; and

1. Fails to provide necessary care with regard to: food, clothing, shelter, education, health care, medical care or other care necessary for the child's emotional, physical or mental health, or safety and general well-being; or

2. The child is living in the home of an "adult individual" who fails to meet the definition of "relative" in this section on an extended basis without an assessment by DSCYF, or its licensed agency; or

3. The child has been placed with a licensed agency which certifies it cannot complete a suitable adoption plan.

In making a finding of dependency under this section, consideration may be given to dependency, neglect, or abuse history of any party.

(9) "DSCYF" or "Department" means the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families.

(10) "Emotional abuse" means threats to inflict undue physical or emotional harm, and/or chronic or recurring incidents of ridiculing, demeaning, making derogatory remarks or cursing.

(11) "Exploitation" means taking advantage of a child for unlawful or unjustifiable personal or sexual gain.

(12) "Family" means husband and wife; a man and woman cohabiting in a home in which there is a child of either or both; custodian and child; or any group of persons related by blood or marriage who are residing in 1 home under 1 head or where 1 is related to the other by any of the following degrees of relationship, both parties being residents of this State:

a. Mother;

b. Father;

c. Mother-in-law;

d. Father-in-law;

e. Brother;

f. Sister;

g. Brother-in-law;

h. Sister-in-law;

i. Son;

j. Daughter;

k. Son-in-law;

l. Daughter-in-law;

m. Grandfather;

n. Grandmother;

o. Grandson;

p. Granddaughter;

q. Stepfather;

r. Stepmother;

s. Stepson;

t. Stepdaughter.

The relationships referred to in this definition include blood relationships without regard to legitimacy and relationships by adoption.

(13) "Institutional child abuse or neglect" is child abuse or neglect which has occurred to a child in the DSCYF's custody and/or placed in a facility, center or home operated, contracted or licensed by the DSCYF.

(14) "Intrafamilial child abuse or neglect" is any child abuse or neglect committed by:

a. A parent, guardian, or custodian;

b. Other members of the child's family or household, meaning persons living together permanently or temporarily without regard to whether they are related to each other and without regard to the length of time or continuity of such residence, and it may include persons who previously lived in the household such as paramours of a member of the child's household;

c. Any person who, regardless of whether a member of the child's household, is defined as family or a relative in this section or as an adult individual as defined in § 1009(b)(3)a. [repealed] of this title.

(15) "Law" means the common law and statutes of this State, the laws of any subdivision thereof, and regulations promulgated by a governmental agency having the force and effect of law.

(16) "Mistreatment" or "maltreatment" are behaviors that inflict unnecessary or unjustifiable pain or suffering on a child without causing physical injury. Behaviors included will consist of actions and omissions, ones that are intentional and ones that are unintentional.

(17) "Necessary care" means a type and degree of personalized attention that will tend to advance a child's physical, mental, emotional, moral and general well-being.

(18) "Neglect" or "neglected child" means that a person:

a. Is responsible for the care, custody, and/or control of the child; and

b. Has the ability and financial means to provide for the care of the child; and

1. Fails to provide necessary care with regard to: food, clothing, shelter, education, health, medical or other care necessary for the child's emotional, physical, or mental health, or safety and general well-being; or

2. Chronically and severely abuses alcohol or a controlled substance, is not active in treatment for such abuse, and the abuse threatens the child's ability to receive care necessary for that child's safety and general well-being; or

3. Fails to provide necessary supervision appropriate for a child when the child is unable to care for that child's own basic needs or safety, after considering such factors as the child's age, mental ability, physical condition, the length of the caretaker's absence, and the context of the child's environment.

In making a finding of neglect under this section, consideration may be given to dependency, neglect, or abuse history of any party.

(19) "Nonamenable child" means any child who is not amenable to the rehabilitative processes of the Family Court.

(20) "Relative" means any person within the immediate family, and any grandparent, uncle, aunt, first cousin, great-grandparent, grandaunt or granduncle, half brother or half sister.

(21) "Sexual abuse" means any act against a child that is described as a sex offense in § 761(h) of Title 11.

(22) "Truancy" or "truant" shall refer to a pupil enrolled in grades kindergarten through 12 inclusive who has been absent from school without valid excuse, as defined in rules and regulations of the district board of education of the school district in which the pupil is or should be enrolled pursuant to the provisions of Title 14, or in the case of a pupil enrolled in a charter school, by the board of directors of the charter school, with the approval of the State Board of Education, for more than 3 days or the equivalent thereof during a given school year.

10 Del. C. 1953, § 901; 58 Del. Laws, c. 114, § 1; 60 Del. Laws, c. 449, § 1; 61 Del. Laws, c. 334, § 1; 63 Del. Laws, c. 73, § 1; 63 Del. Laws, c. 290, § 7; 64 Del. Laws, c. 108, § 4; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 176, § 2; 73 Del. Laws, c. 65, § 8; 74 Del. Laws, c. 175, § 12; 76 Del. Laws, c. 136, §§ 1-5; 77 Del. Laws, c. 43, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 70, § 1; 79 Del. Laws, c. 206, §§ 1, 2.;

(a) In the firm belief that compliance with the law by the individual and preservation of the family as a unit are fundamental to the maintenance of a stable, democratic society, the General Assembly intends by enactment of this chapter that 1 court shall have original statewide civil and criminal jurisdiction over family and child matters and offenses as set forth herein. The court shall endeavor to provide for each person coming under its jurisdiction such control, care, and treatment as will best serve the interests of the public, the family, and the offender, to the end that the home will, if possible, remain unbroken and the family members will recognize and discharge their legal and moral responsibilities to the public and to one another.

(b) This chapter shall be liberally construed that these purposes may be realized.

10 Del. C. 1953, § 902; 58 Del. Laws, c. 114, § 1.;

This Court shall be a court of record and shall be known as "the Family Court of the State of Delaware." It may be briefly cited as "the Family Court." Its offices, forms, and processes in New Castle County shall be subtitled "for New Castle County," in Kent County "for Kent County," and in Sussex County "for Sussex County."

10 Del. C. 1953, § 903; 58 Del. Laws, c. 114, § 1.;

The State shall provide for the Court at the county seat in each county and in such other places as may be designated by the Chief Judge, adequate quarters properly furnished, consistent with the dignity of and suitable for the purposes of the Court.

10 Del. C. 1953, § 904; 58 Del. Laws, c. 114, § 1.;

The Court shall operate financially in accordance with its budget as enacted by the General Assembly and within this limit the Secretary of Finance shall pay the Court's salaries and expenses upon the warrant of the Administrator or an assistant administrator countersigned by the Chief Judge, if available, or, if not, by any Judge.

10 Del. C. 1953, § 905; 58 Del. Laws, c. 114, § 1.;

(a) The Judges of the Family Court of the State in and for New Castle County and of the Family Court for Kent and Sussex Counties shall continue to serve as Judges of this Court for the remainders of their present terms. The enactment of this chapter ratifies their respective appointments and confirmations as Judges of this Court with statewide jurisdiction. All further appointments of Judges of this Court from time to time hereafter shall be made by the Governor, by and with the consent of a majority of all the members elected to the Senate. Appointments, including appointments to fill vacancies which may occur during a term, shall be for a term of 12 years.

(b) The Court shall be composed of 17 Judges of equal judicial authority. One Judge shall be the Chief Judge. No more than a majority of 1 Judge shall be members of the same political party.

(c) Appointees shall be duly admitted to the practice of law before the Supreme Court of this State for a period not less than 5 years prior to their appointment and shall be selected because of their knowledge of the law and interest in and understanding of family and child problems. They shall not practice law during their tenure and may be reappointed.

(d) One of the Judges shall be designated by the Governor as Chief Judge to hold office during the term of his or her appointment.

(e) All of the Judges shall be residents of the State for a period of 5 years immediately prior to their appointment. The Chief Judge may reside in any county of the State. After appointment, 10 of the Judges shall reside in New Castle County, 3 Judges shall reside in Kent County, and 3 Judges shall reside in Sussex County.

(f) The Chief Judge and each of the Judges of the Family Court shall receive such compensation as shall be provided by law.

10 Del. C. 1953, § 906; 58 Del. Laws, c. 114, § 1; 59 Del. Laws, c. 472, § 4; 60 Del. Laws, c. 47, §§ 1, 2; 61 Del. Laws, c. 541, §§ 1, 2; 62 Del. Laws, c. 12, § 4; 64 Del. Laws, c. 217, §§ 1, 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 72 Del. Laws, c. 238, §§ 1, 2; 75 Del. Laws, c. 89, § 50; 76 Del. Laws, c. 213, §§ 28-32.;

The Court shall hold meetings when and where called by the Chief Judge or, in the Chief Judge's absence, by the senior Judge on duty, but in no event less often than semiannually. By vote of a majority of its members it shall:

(1) Adopt a seal.

(2) Establish a uniform schedule of deposits, costs, and service fees.

(3) Provide for the safeguarding of the Court's records.

(4) Require employee bonds as shall seem proper.

(5) Make and publish Court rules governing policies, processes, practices, and procedures, which shall be uniform throughout the State.

(6) Publish annual reports of the Court's activities, findings, and recommendations.

10 Del. C. 1953, § 907; 58 Del. Laws, c. 114, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 76 Del. Laws, c. 213, § 33.;

The Chief Judge, or in the Chief Judge's absence the senior Judge on duty, shall:

(1) Be the Chief Executive Officer of the Court and preside at meetings thereof.

(2) Prepare and present to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and the General Assembly the estimated budget of the Court for the ensuing fiscal year.

(3) Assign Judges to the several Courts.

(4) Approve the travel and other expenses incurred by the Judges and all employees in the performance of their duties.

(5) Establish, when necessary, a Judge's vacation schedule.

(6) The Chief Judge shall create a Judicial Council for a term of 3 years which shall be composed of the Chief Judge and 2 Judges, both of whom shall be appointed by the Chief Judge, and 1 of whom shall reside in Kent or Sussex County. No more than a bare majority of the Judges on the Judicial Council shall be affiliated with any 1 major political party. The Judicial Council shall determine the organization and structure of the Court; establish the procedure for appointment and dismissal; the classification, titles, duties, and salaries of the Administrator, the Director of Treatment Services, the respective Chief Supervisors for the Court in each of the 3 counties, and the personal secretaries of the Administrator and all Judges. All of the aforementioned individuals shall be specifically exempt from the state merit system. All other employees of the Court shall be included within the state merit system in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 59 of Title 29 of the Delaware Code.

(7) Establish a procedure for the assignment of cases to the Judges.

(8) Provide for payment of the Court's expenses.

(9) Appoint and remove at the judge's pleasure peace officers who shall be selected from among the employees of the Court and who, while so appointed shall have such powers normally incident to peace officers, including but not limited to, the power to make arrests in a criminal cases, provided that the exercise of such powers shall be limited to any building or real property maintained or used as a courthouse or in support of judicial functions.

10 Del. C. 1953, § 908; 58 Del. Laws, c. 114, § 1; 63 Del. Laws, c. 75; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 88, § 21(5); 76 Del. Laws, c. 213, §§ 34, 35; 78 Del. Laws, c. 79, § 2.;

There shall be an Administrator who shall possess an earned bachelor's degree and who shall have 3 years of supervisory experience in either governmental or private business administration or its equivalent. Under the Chief Judge's supervision, he or she shall:

(1) Be secretary to the Court in matters that pertain to the business administration of the Court.

(2) With the Director of Treatment Services, integrate into 1 harmonious whole the judicial, social, legal, clerical and administrative services of the Court.

(3) Submit to the Court a proposed budget for the ensuing fiscal year showing the total number of employees needed, classifications of employees and proposed salaries, and other anticipated expenses of the Court.

(4) Prepare the vouchers for salaries and expenses of the Court, which shall be signed by the Administrator and countersigned by the Chief Judge, or in the Chief Judge's absence, by any Judge, and forward them to the Secretary of Finance for payment.

(5) Prepare and keep current an inventory of the Court's capital assets.

(6) Regularly and frequently visit the Court in each county.

(7) Perform all duties prescribed by the Chief Judge.

10 Del. C. 1953, § 909; 58 Del. Laws, c. 114, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

There shall be a Director of Treatment Services who shall possess an earned postgraduate degree in either criminology, and/or corrections, sociology, psychology, social work, or social sciences; and shall have had experience in administration and counseling in a judicial or correctional agency. Under the Chief Judge's supervision, the Director shall:

(1) Be secretary to the Court in matters that pertain to the Court's counseling services;

(2) Direct the Court's counseling services and personnel;

(3) With the Administrator, integrate into 1 harmonious whole the judicial, social, legal, clerical and administrative services of the Court;

(4) Direct the clerical and stenographic personnel who are assigned to work with the counseling personnel;

(5) Develop and maintain a training program for counseling of personnel;

(6) Perform all duties prescribed by the Chief Judge.

10 Del. C. 1953, § 910; 58 Del. Laws, c. 114, § 1; 66 Del. Laws, c. 233, § 4.;

There shall be a Chief Supervisor for the Court in each county who shall possess an earned graduate degree in either criminology, and/or corrections, sociology, psychology or social work, and such other supervisors as shall have an earned graduate degree in social work, and such counselors as deemed necessary who shall possess earned bachelor's degrees. Other counselors may be appointed by the Chief Judge who shall possess such qualifications as the Chief Judge shall prescribe. They shall perform such duties as may be assigned to them.

10 Del. C. 1953, § 911; 58 Del. Laws, c. 114, § 1; 64 Del. Laws, c. 108, § 19.;

(a) There shall be a Clerk of Court appointed for the Court in each county and such Deputy Clerks as the Chief Judge deems necessary.

(b) The Clerks and Deputy Clerks of the Court shall give bond to the State in the amount of $200,000 for the Clerk and Deputy Clerks of New Castle County and in the amount of $100,000 for the Clerk and Deputy Clerks of Kent and Sussex Counties to execute faithfully their duties while in office. The State shall bear the cost of the bond premiums required hereunder.

(c) The Clerk, or, in the Clerk's absence, the Deputy Clerk, shall have care of the legal records of the Court which the Clerk or Deputy Clerk serves and shall receive all fees, fines, costs, restitution and cash bail arising out of any proceeding in said Court. The Clerk or Deputy Clerk shall administer all necessary oaths, enter the judgments, issue commitments and executions to enforce the same and make up and keep the records of the Court in all cases therein. The Clerk or Deputy Clerk shall issue all process under his or her hand and the seal of the Court, and shall attest the same in the names of the Judges, or any of them, signing the same by the title of office, and shall tax costs. The Clerk or Deputy Clerk may take bail from persons arrested whether or not the Court is in session, subject to revision by a Judge, and shall do all other acts which the Court shall prescribe.

10 Del. C. 1953, § 912; 58 Del. Laws, c. 114, § 1; 63 Del. Laws, c. 141, § 4; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) The Chief Judge, after consultation with other Judges on the Court, may appoint, commission, set salaries for and discharge Masters in the Court. A Master, at the time of appointment and thereafter, shall be a suitable person who has been a resident of the State for at least 5 years immediately preceding the appointment. The salaries so set shall be a part of the annual budget of the Court and shall reflect the experience and time commitment of the person appointed to such office.

(b) The Court as to all cases in a class or type of proceeding designated in the Court Rules, or the Chief Judge as to any individual case or proceeding, may direct that a hearing be held in the first instance by a Judge or Master; except, however, a Master shall not conduct adult bail and juvenile detention hearings or any hearings involving charges against juveniles which are classified as felonies when committed by an adult. The Department of Justice with respect to all other delinquency and adult misdemeanor charges, shall have the discretion, unless it has entered an appearance, whether to participate in delinquency and adult misdemeanor proceedings assigned by the Court to a Master, or, within a reasonable time, to transfer any delinquency or adult misdemeanor matter for consideration by a Judge.

(c) Masters shall regulate all of the proceedings in every hearing before them. All proceedings before Masters shall be recorded. Masters shall have full authority to order the issuance of legal process to compel the attendance of necessary parties and witnesses; to administer oaths in the discharge of their official duties; to examine the parties and witnesses; to pass upon all questions of competency of witnesses and admissibility of evidence; to require the production of all books, papers, writings, vouchers and other documents applicable thereto; to grant adjournments and extensions of time; and generally to do all other acts, and direct all other inquiries and proceedings in the matters before them, which they may deem necessary and proper, including appropriate sanctions except incarceration, subject at all times to the revision and control of the Court.

(d)(1) At the end of any hearing or within a reasonable time thereafter, a Master shall enter the order in writing which shall announce the result and provide an explanation therefor. Every written order by a Master shall inform all parties that, as provided in this section, there is an absolute right to a review de novo by a Judge and that in the absence of a request within 15 days for de novo review, the written order of a Master shall become enforceable by any legal means. Any party may obtain a review de novo of any Master's written order by a Judge by filing with the Court a written request therefor within 15 days from the date of a Master's written order; except, however, there shall be no review by a Judge in contravention of any state or federal constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy.

(2) The time period for requesting a review de novo shall not begin to run until the Master has entered the order in writing and Family Court has issued said order to the parties and attorneys. If either party has requested a new trial, reargument, or an alteration or amendment of judgment, the time period for requesting a review de novo shall not begin to run until the Master has ruled on said request in writing and Family Court has issued that ruling to the parties and attorneys. If any order or ruling is sent by mail, an additional 3 days to request a review de novo shall be allowed.

(e) Upon request for review de novo, the case shall be placed upon the calendar of the Court and treated for all purposes as if it had not been referred to a Master. Upon review de novo, unless otherwise stipulated by the parties the Court shall not admit evidence that there has been a proceeding before a Master, the nature of the Master's written order, nor any other matter concerning the conduct or outcome of the Master's proceeding; except, however, recorded sworn testimony and other evidence admitted at a Master's hearing may be used as the basis for an interim order of the Court, and generally in the same manner as sworn testimony given at a deposition in the case.

(f) A request for a review de novo shall be the sole remedy of any party with respect to a Master's written order, except for posthearing motions before the Master. A Master's written order shall become an enforceable judgment of the Court only after the time for requesting a review de novo has expired without any such request. A judgment derived from a Master's written order shall have the same force and effect as any other judgment of the Court, except that it shall not be subject to appeal.

(g) The Court may adopt appropriate and specific rules to effectuate the intent and purpose of these statutory provisions relating to Masters.

10 Del. C. 1953, § 913; 58 Del. Laws, c. 114, § 1; 67 Del. Laws, c. 158, § 1; 68 Del. Laws, c. 194, §§ 1, 2.;

Pursuant to any requirement of federal law, the Court may designate the Child Placement Review Board to serve as the arm of the Court for the purpose of monitoring the progress of children in foster care.

62 Del. Laws, c. 170, § 2; 72 Del. Laws, c. 338, § 2.;

(a) The Governor shall appoint, with the consent of a majority of all members elected to the Senate, suitable persons to act as Commissioners of the Family Court, all of whom shall hold office for a term of 4 years and shall be residents of the State for at least 5 years immediately preceding their appointment. Upon second and subsequent appointments and confirmations, a Commissioner of the Family Court shall hold office for a term of 6 years. An incumbent Commissioner and/or Master of the Family Court may be appointed as a Commissioner, so long as the person is duly admitted to practice before the highest court of any State of the United States. Other appointees shall be duly admitted to practice law before the Supreme Court of this State.

The number of Commissioners appointed shall not be less than 5, with at least 1 Commissioner assigned to each county.

The salaries of such Commissioners shall be part of the annual budget of the Family Court and shall reflect the educational background and experience of the appointees.

(b) Individuals appointed as Commissioners under this section shall take the oath of office or affirmation prescribed in article XIV, § 1 of the Delaware Constitution before they enter upon the duties of their office.

(c) The Chief Judge shall assign Commissioners to the several courts and shall establish a procedure for the assignment of cases to the Commissioners. Each Commissioner serving under this chapter shall have:

(1) All powers and duties conferred or imposed upon Commissioners by law or by the Rules of Criminal and Civil Procedure for the Family Court;

(2) The power to hear any civil case within the jurisdiction of the Family Court, as designated by the Chief Judge;

(3) The power to order the issuance of legal process to compel the attendance of necessary parties and witnesses;

(4) The power to administer oaths and affirmations, and take acknowledgements, affidavits and depositions;

(5) The power to examine the parties and witnesses; to pass upon all questions of competency of witnesses and admissibility of evidence; to require the production of all books, papers, writings, vouchers and other documents applicable thereto; to grant adjournments and extensions of time; and generally to do all other acts, and direct all other inquiries and proceedings in the matters before them, which they may deem necessary and proper, including appropriate sections;

(6) The power to conduct juvenile detention hearings and to commit or bind, with or without surety, as a committing magistrate, for appearance at the proper court, persons charged with having violated the law together with material witnesses. A Commissioner shall assess the seriousness of the charge(s), the record, the factors stated in § 1007 of this title and the best interest of the juvenile in order to determine whether the juvenile shall be detained in secure detention or placed in a nonsecure detention alternative or other alternative as stated in § 1007(b) of this title. If a Commissioner places a juvenile in secure detention, the Commissioner shall state on the record the reasons for said detention;

(7) The power to conduct adult bail hearings and to commit or bind, with or without surety, as a committing magistrate, for appearance at the proper court, persons who have failed to appear for a prior court hearing, either civil or criminal, or who are charged with having violated the law together with material witnesses and impose conditions pursuant to this chapter;

(8) The power to conduct all delinquency and criminal proceedings, including but not limited to, amenability hearings, arraignments, preliminary hearings, case reviews and trials;

(9) The power to accept pleas (including, but not limited to, pleas of guilty, not guilty and nolo contendere) to any offense within the jurisdiction of the Family Court and to appoint counsel to represent indigent defendants;

(10) The power to enter sentence or disposition for criminal misdemeanors, criminal violations, criminal violation of probation and criminal contempt of court, whether the person has pleaded guilty to or has been convicted of 1 or more of the above offenses or whether the person has been adjudicated delinquent as a result of acts which would constitute such offenses if committed by an adult;

(11) The power to enter sentence, including incarceration, for criminal felonies, whether the person has pleaded guilty to or has been convicted of such an offense or whether the person has been adjudicated delinquent as a result of acts which would constitute a felony if committed by an adult; and

(12) The power to impose sanctions, including incarceration, for civil contempt.

(d) A Commissioner's order, including emergency ex parte orders, shall be an enforceable order of the Court.

(1) Any party, except a party in default of appearance before a Commissioner, may appeal a final order of a Commissioner to a judge of the Court by filing and serving written objections to such order, as provided by rules of the Court, within 30 days from the date of a Commissioner's order. A judge of the Court shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the Commissioner's order to which objection is made. A judge of the Court may accept, reject or modify in whole or in part the order of the Commissioner. The judge may also receive further evidence or recommit the matter to the Commissioner with instruction.

(2) Any party, except a party in default of appearance before a Commissioner, may appeal an interim order of a Commissioner to a judge of the Court by filing and serving written objections to such order, as provided by rules of the Court, within 30 days from the date of a Commissioner's order. A judge of the Court may reconsider any interim order of a Commissioner, where it is shown that the Commissioner's order is based upon findings of fact that are clearly erroneous, contrary to law, or an abuse of discretion.

(e) No appeal of a Commissioner's order shall stay execution of the order unless such stay shall be specifically ordered by a judge of the Court.

(f) A Commissioner may be assigned such additional duties by the Chief Judge as are not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws of this State.

67 Del. Laws, c. 388, § 1; 68 Del. Laws, c. 356, §§ 1-7; 69 Del. Laws, c. 122, §§ 1-11; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 74 Del. Laws, c. 165, § 2; 76 Del. Laws, c. 212, § 1; 76 Del. Laws, c. 266, § 1.;

(a) Any retired Commissioner may be designated by the Chief Judge, with the approval of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, to serve temporarily in any Family Court in the State; provided, however, that the retired Commissioner:

(1) Was serving in good standing as a Commissioner at the time of retirement;

(2) Assents to such designation; and

(3) Is not involved or employed in any position which would create a conflict of interest with the position of Commissioner, including, but not limited to: the private practice of law; the holding of any state office; or employment by the State in any capacity.

(b) Any retired Commissioner accepting an active duty designation shall be compensated on a per diem basis on the formula representing 1/260 of the annual salary for a Commissioner. In no event shall the per diem pay for a retired Commissioner exceed the maximum per diem pay for retired judges as provided in § 5610(b) of Title 29, nor shall the total annual compensation of the retired Commissioner equal or exceed the current annual salary for a Commissioner. Each retired Commissioner serving shall also be reimbursed for travel necessarily incurred for the performance of such active duty as approved by the Chief Judge.

(c) Expenditures for work performed under this section shall be made from funds appropriated for this purpose, or from other Court funds approved to be expended for this purpose.

78 Del. Laws, c. 315, § 1.;

Law clerks hold major, nontenured advisory positions for the Judges of the Court. The Family Court may appoint and remove at pleasure such judicial law clerks as shall be necessary for the proper operation of the Court.

78 Del. Laws, c. 51, § 4; 78 Del. Laws, c. 315, § 1.;