TITLE 13

Domestic Relations

CHAPTER 24. THIRD-PARTY VISITATION

Subchapter II. Third-Party Visitation Proceedings


(a) Unless otherwise specified in this chapter, any adult person or persons may file a petition for a third-party visitation order regarding a child not his, hers, or theirs against the child's guardians, parents, or DSCYF, provided that the adult person or persons can establish that the adult person or persons petitioning for visitation:

(1) Has a substantial and positive prior relationship with the child; or

(2) Is a grandparent, aunt, uncle or adult sibling of the child.

(b) Unless otherwise specified in this chapter, a guardian ad litem may petition for a third-party visitation order on behalf of the child against the child's guardian, parent, and/or DSCYF if:

(1) The adult person with whom visitation is sought consents to visitation with the child and;

(2) The adult person with whom visitation is sought:

a. Has a substantial and positive prior relationship with the child; or

b. Is a grandparent, aunt, uncle or adult sibling of the child.

(c) Any child, through a guardian ad litem, may file a petition seeking visitation with any other child with whom they have at least 1 parent in common.

(d) Notwithstanding subsections (a) through (c) of this section, if a parent's rights have been terminated in the child with whom a parent seeks third-party visitation, the terminated parent and the terminated parent's relatives are prohibited from filing for third-party visitation unless:

(1) More than 3 years have passed since the termination of parental rights order was entered and the child has not been adopted; or

(2) The adoptive parent, if there is only 1 adoptive parent, or both adoptive parents have previously entered into a written notarized agreement or court-approved agreement for continued visitation and a copy of the agreement is attached to the petition.

77 Del. Laws, c. 43, § 9; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 337, §§ 2-5.;

Every petition for third-party visitation with a child filed under this chapter shall be verified and contain:

(1) Name and place of residence of the petitioner or petitioners;

(2) Name, sex, and date of birth of the child;

(3) A statement regarding the eligibility requirements set forth in § 2410 of this title;

(4) The name and address of the mother and the name and address of the father, alleged father, and/or presumed father. If either the name and/or address of any parent is not known, the petition shall include detailed information setting forth the efforts made to locate the parent;

(5) The name and last known address of the person or persons or organization holding parental rights, custody, and/or guardianship of the child; and

(6) A statement setting forth the grounds for visitation in § 2412 of this title.

77 Del. Laws, c. 43, § 9; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) Prior to granting a third-party visitation order the Court shall, find after a hearing on the merits, or accept the agreement of the parties that:

(1) Third-party visitation is in the child's best interests; and,

(2) One of the following as to each parent:

a. The parent consents to the third-party visitation;

b. The child is dependent, neglected or abused in the parent's care;

c. The parent is deceased; or

d. The parent objects to the visitation; however, the petitioner has demonstrated, by clear and convincing evidence, that the objection is unreasonable; and has demonstrated, by a preponderance of evidence, that the visitation will not substantially interfere with the parent/child relationship.

(b) Prior to granting an order for third-party visitation between children, the Court shall find after a hearing on the merits, or accept the agreement of the parties, that the visitation is in the best interests of all children subject to the petition.

77 Del. Laws, c. 43, § 9; 77 Del. Laws, c. 337, §§ 6, 7.;

An order granting third-party visitation may be modified at any time if the best interests of any child subject to the order would be served by modification.

77 Del. Laws, c. 43, § 9.;