TITLE 13

Domestic Relations

CHAPTER 23. GUARDIANSHIP OF A CHILD

Subchapter III. Guardian of the Child


(a) Prior to granting an order for guardianship under this chapter, the Court shall find for each parent the following:

(1) The parent voluntarily consents to the guardianship; notwithstanding the consent, if the child is in DSCYF custody, the Court shall also determine whether guardianship is the appropriate permanency plan for the child and whether it is in the best interest of the child for the guardianship to be granted; or

(2) After a hearing on the merits, by a preponderance of the evidence that petitioner has established:

a. The child is dependent, neglected or abused and the reasons therefor; and

b. It is in the best interests of the child for the guardianship to be granted.

(b) When more than 1 petition for guardianship regarding the same child or children has been filed, and the elements of subsection (a) of this section are met regarding the parents, the Court shall determine which petition, if any, is granted based upon the best interests of the child.

(c) When a guardianship petition is filed against a current guardian, and the elements of subsection (a) of this section are met regarding the parents, the Court shall determine whether the petition shall be granted based upon the best interests of the child.

(d) If the child is 14 years of age or older, the Court shall determine whether the child consents to the guardianship, and if the child opposes, if just cause still requires the guardianship to be granted.

(e) If the Court determines that the elements of subsection (a) of this section have been met, the Court shall also determine by a preponderance of evidence the nature and extent, if any, of any contact, sharing of information, and/or visitation between the parent and the child. In making such a determination, the Court shall apply the best interests of the child standard.

73 Del. Laws, c. 150, § 1; 73 Del. Laws, c. 360, §§ 2, 4; 79 Del. Laws, c. 246, § 1.;

(a) While a guardianship is in effect, the parent shall have the following rights:

(1) Visitation, contact and information, to the extent delineated in the guardianship order issued by the Court. A parent may petition the Court for specific enforcement of provisions of the order relating to contact, visitation or information; and

(2) Inheritance by and from the child.

(b) The parent shall have the primary responsibility to support the child financially.

(c) In the event the income and assets of the parent qualify the child for governmental benefits, the benefits may be conferred upon the child with payment to be made to the guardian. The provision of necessities by the guardian shall not disqualify the child for any benefit or entitlement.

(d) If the child has been in the custody of DSCYF immediately prior to the granting of a guardianship order, DSCYF shall have no further duty of support or care for the child after establishment of the guardianship unless DSCYF agrees in writing to that support.

73 Del. Laws, c. 150, § 1; 79 Del. Laws, c. 246, § 1.;

(a) Termination. — Except as otherwise specified in this chapter, guardianship of a child terminates:

(1) Upon the guardian's death;

(2) Upon adoption of the child;

(3) When the child reaches the age of majority; or

(4) As otherwise ordered by the Court.

(b) Modification. — Except as otherwise specified in this chapter, an order of guardianship may be modified regarding contact, visitation or sharing of information at any time if it is in the best interests of the child.

(c) Rescission. — Except as otherwise specified in this chapter, an order of guardianship may be rescinded upon a judicial determination that petitioner has made a preliminary showing the guardianship is no longer necessary for the reason(s) it was established, unless:

(1) The Court finds that the guardian has established, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the child will be dependent, neglected, and/or abused in the care of the parent or parents seeking rescission; or

(2) The Court finds that the guardian has established, by clear and convincing evidence, that the child will suffer physical or emotional harm if the guardianship is terminated.

73 Del. Laws, c. 150, § 1; 79 Del. Laws, c. 246, § 1.;

(a) DSCYF, in its discretion, may award subsidy moneys to guardians of the person of a child where the Court finds:

(1) The grounds for guardianship have been met as set forth in this chapter; and

(2) The child was in the custody of DSCYF and/or the Division for a period of at least 1 year.

(b) The amount and duration of the subsidy shall be in the sole discretion of DSCYF.

73 Del. Laws, c. 150, § 1; 79 Del. Laws, c. 246, § 1.;