TITLE 16

Health and Safety

Vital Statistics

CHAPTER 31. REGISTRATION OF BIRTHS, DEATHS, MARRIAGES, DIVORCES, ANNULMENTS AND ADOPTIONS

Subchapter II. Registration Requirements and Procedures


(a) A certificate of birth for each live birth which occurs in this State shall be filed with the Office of Vital Statistics, or as otherwise directed by the State Registrar, within 10 days after such birth and shall be registered if it has been completed and filed in accordance with this section.

(b) When a birth occurs in an institution or en route thereto, the person in charge of the institution or the person's designated representative shall obtain the personal data, prepare the certificate, secure the signatures required, and file the certificate as directed in subsection (a) of this section or as otherwise directed by the State Registrar within the required 10 days. The physician or other person in attendance shall provide the medical information required by the certificate and certify to the facts of birth within 72 hours after the birth. If the physician, or other person in attendance, does not certify to the facts of birth within the 72-hour period, the person in charge of the institution shall complete and sign the certificate.

(c) When a child is born to an unmarried woman in an institution, the person responsible for completing the birth certificate, or the person's designated representative, shall:

(1) Provide written information prepared by the Division of Child Support Enforcement to the mother and the putative father, if he is present, explaining the rights and responsibilities of acknowledging paternity;

(2) Provide the mother and the putative father the opportunity to sign an acknowledgment of paternity as described in subsection (d) of this section and provide notary public services for this purpose;

(3) Provide the mother and the putative father with a copy of the signed and notarized acknowledgment; and

(4) File the signed and notarized acknowledgment with the Office of Vital Statistics within 10 days after execution. The Office of Vital Statistics shall send a copy of the acknowledgment to the Division of Child Support Enforcement within 7 days after it receives the acknowledgment.

(d) The acknowledgment provided for in subsection (c) of this section shall contain:

(1) The mother's address and Social Security number, her statement that the putative father is the only possible father and her consent to the acknowledgment of paternity;

(2) The putative father's address and Social Security number and his statement that he is the biological father of the child;

(3) Subject to the provisions of § 804(c) of Title 13, their acknowledgment of a right to blood, tissue or other genetic testing to determine paternity or nonpaternity and of the right to otherwise dispute paternity in any civil or criminal action in which the paternity of the child by the putative father is an element of the claim for relief or a defense;

(4) A statement of the presumptive effect of the acknowledgment of paternity under § 804(c) of Title 13;

(5) A statement of the rights and responsibilities of acknowledging paternity, including that the acknowledgment of paternity establishes the duty of both parties to support the child, is the basis for the entry of a child support order without further proceedings to establish paternity, may be the basis for the putative father establishing custody and visitation rights, establishes inheritance rights and may be the basis for requiring notice to the putative father prior to an adoption; and

(6) Instructions for filing the acknowledgment with the Office of Vital Statistics; and

(7) The acknowledgment of both the putative father and the mother that they have been notified, orally and in writing of each of the items listed in paragraphs (1) through (6) of this subsection before signing the acknowledgment of paternity.

(e) When a birth occurs outside an institution, the certificate shall be prepared and filed by one of the following in the indicated order of priority:

(1) The physician in attendance at or immediately after the birth, or in the absence of such a person;

(2) Any other person in attendance at or immediately after the birth, or in the absence of such a person;

(3) The father, the mother, or, in the absence of the father and the inability of the mother, the State Registrar or a duly authorized representative.

(f) When a birth occurs on a moving conveyance within the United States and the child is first removed from the conveyance in this State, the birth shall be registered in this State and the place where it is first removed shall be considered the place of birth. When a birth occurs on a moving conveyance while in international waters or air space or in a foreign country or its air space and the child is first removed from the conveyance in this State, the birth shall be registered in this State but the certificate shall show the actual place of birth insofar as can be determined.

(g)(1) If the mother was married at the time of either conception or birth, or between conception and birth, the name of the husband shall be entered on the certificate as the father of the child unless paternity has been determined otherwise by Family Court.

(2) If the mother was not married at the time of either conception or birth or between conception and birth, the name of the father shall not be entered on the certificate without a court order from Family Court or an acknowledgment of paternity which is signed by both parents and their signatures notarized.

(3) In any case in which paternity of a child is determined by Family Court, the name of the father and surname of the child shall be entered on the certificate of birth in accordance with the finding and order of the court.

(4) If the father is not named on the certificate of birth, no other information about the father shall be entered on the certificate.

(h) Either of the parents of the child, or other informant, shall attest to the accuracy of the personal data entered on the certificate in time to permit the filing of the certificate within 10 days prescribed in this section.

(i) The time within which a supplementary report furnishing information omitted from the original certificate may be returned for the purpose of completing the certificate shall not be more than 6 months from the date of birth. Certificates of birth completed by a supplementary report shall not be considered delayed or altered.

27 Del. Laws, c. 84, § 5; 27 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 10; Code 1915, § 802; Code 1935, § 785; 44 Del. Laws, c. 69, § 1; 16 Del. C. 1953, § 3122; 68 Del. Laws, c. 274, § 1; 69 Del. Laws, c. 296, §§ 22, 23; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 216, §§ 102, 103.;

(a) When the State assumes the custody of a live born infant of unknown parentage, an officer of the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families shall report on a form and in a manner prescribed by the State Registrar within 5 days to the Office of Vital Statistics the following information:

(1) The date and place of finding;

(2) Sex, race and approximate age of child;

(3) Name and address of the person or institution with whom the child has been placed for care;

(4) Name given to the child by the custodian of the child;

(5) Other data required by the State Registrar.

(b) The place where the child was found shall be known as the place of birth and the date of birth shall be determined by approximation.

(c) The report shall constitute the certificate of birth.

(d) If the child is identified and a regular certificate of birth is found or obtained, the report shall be sealed and filed in the Office of Vital Statistics and may be opened only by court order.

27 Del. Laws, c. 84, § 6; 27 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 12; Code 1915, § 803; 33 Del. Laws, c. 57, § 4; 34 Del. Laws, c. 64, § 1; 34 Del. Laws, c. 69, § 1; Code 1935, § 786; 44 Del. Laws, c. 69, § 1; 16 Del. C. 1953, § 3123; 68 Del. Laws, c. 274, § 1.;

(a) A certificate of death for each death which occurs in this State shall be filed with the Office of Vital Statistics, or as otherwise directed by the State Registrar, within 3 days after death and prior to final disposition, and shall be registered if it has been completed and filed in accordance with this section.

(1) If the place of death is unknown but the dead body is found in this State, the certificate of death shall be completed and filed in accordance with this section. The place where the body is found shall be shown as the place of death. If the date of death is unknown, it may be determined by approximation.

(2) When death occurs in a moving conveyance in the United States and the body is first removed from the conveyance in this State, the death shall be registered in this State and the place where it is first removed shall be considered the place of death. When a death occurs on a moving conveyance while in international waters or air space or in a foreign country or its air space and the body is first removed from the conveyance in this State, the death shall be registered in this State but the certificate shall show the actual place of death insofar as can be determined.

(b) The funeral director who assumes custody of the dead body shall file the certificate of death. The funeral director shall obtain the personal data from the next-of-kin or best qualified person or source available and shall obtain the medical certification from the attending physician or Medical Examiner.

(c) The medical certification shall be completed, signed and returned to the funeral director within 48 hours after death by the attending physician, except when an official death investigation is required by the Division of Forensic Science. In the absence of the attending physician the certificate may be completed and signed by the attending physician's designated physician or the chief medical officer of the institution in which death occurred provided such individual has knowledge about the medical history of the case.

(d) When an official death investigation is required pursuant to § 4706(a) of Title 29, the Medical Examiner shall determine the manner and cause of death and shall complete and sign the medical certification.

(e) If the cause of death cannot be determined within 48 hours after death, the attending physician or medical examiner shall file with the Office of Vital Statistics a pending certificate of death and a toxicology study shall be performed. If a cause of death cannot be determined after the toxicology study is performed, the remains and all reports and/or studies shall be turned over to the Division of Forensic Science for review. When the cause of death is determined a revised certification of death shall be issued and presented to the funeral director or the funeral director's agent, who in turn shall file the certificate with the Office of Vital Statistics.

(f) When a death is presumed to have occurred within this State but the body cannot be located, a death certificate may be prepared by the State Registrar upon receipt of a court order which shall include the finding of facts required to complete the death certificate. Such a death certificate shall be marked "By Court Order'' and shall show on its face the date of registration and shall identify the court and the date of decree.

25 Del. Laws, c. 66, § 3; 27 Del. Laws, c. 84, § 7; 27 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 13; Code 1915, § 804; 35 Del. Laws, c. 55; Code 1935, § 787; 44 Del. Laws, c. 69, § 1; 48 Del. Laws, c. 319, § 1; 16 Del. C. 1953, § 3125; 52 Del. Laws, c. 88, § 2; 68 Del. Laws, c. 274, § 1; 69 Del. Laws, c. 146, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 320, § 1; 79 Del. Laws, c. 265, § 14.;

Each spontaneous fetal death of 350 grams or more, or in the absence of weight, of 20 completed week's gestation or more, calculated from the date the last normal menstrual period began to the date of delivery, which occurs in this State shall be reported within 3 days after delivery to the Office of Vital Statistics by filing a fetal death certificate. Induced terminations of pregnancy shall not be reported as spontaneous fetal deaths.

(1) When a fetal death occurs in an institution, the person in charge of the institution or a designated representative shall prepare and file a Certificate of Fetal Death.

(2) When a fetal death occurs outside an institution, the physician in attendance at or immediately after delivery shall prepare and file a Certificate of Fetal Death. No person other than a physician may sign a Certificate of Fetal Death.

(3) When a fetal death occurs without medical attendance at or shortly after the delivery, or when a fetal death occurs in a moving conveyance and the fetus is first removed from the conveyance in this State or when a fetal death occurs in this State and the place of fetal death is unknown, an investigation by the Division of Forensic Science shall be conducted to determine the cause and manner of the fetal death.

25 Del. Laws, c. 66, § 3; 27 Del. Laws, c. 84, § 7; 27 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 13; Code 1915, § 804; 35 Del. Laws, c. 55; Code 1935, § 787; 44 Del. Laws, c. 69, § 1; 48 Del. Laws, c. 319, § 1; 16 Del. C. 1953, § 3125; 52 Del. Laws, c. 88, § 2; 68 Del. Laws, c. 274, § 1; 79 Del. Laws, c. 265, § 15.;

(a) A record of each marriage performed in this State shall be filed with the Office of Vital Statistics and shall be registered if it has been completed and filed in accordance with this section.

(b) The official who issues the marriage license shall prepare the record on the form prescribed and furnished by the State Registrar upon the basis of information obtained from the parties to be married.

(c) The person who performs the marriage ceremony shall certify the fact of marriage and, within 5 days following the day on which the marriage was solemnized, file the marriage license/certificate with 1 of the 3 vital statistics offices in this State.

27 Del. Laws, c. 84, § 15; Code 1915, § 816; Code 1935, § 799; 44 Del. Laws, c. 69, § 1; 16 Del. C. 1953, § 3126; 68 Del. Laws, c. 274, § 1.;

(a) Upon the issuance of a final decree of adoption or of an order certifying the validity of a foreign adoption, the clerk of the court in which the decree of adoption was made, or filed in the case of a foreign adoption under § 927 of Title 13, shall immediately file in the office of the State Registrar, on forms provided by the State Registrar for this purpose, a report setting forth the information required by § 921 of Title 13, together with a certified copy of the final decree of adoption.

(b) Upon receipt of the information, the State Registrar shall remove from the files the original certificate of birth and, after proper identification, shall place it in a confidential file. The State Registrar shall file a new certificate setting forth the adopted name and sex of the child, together with the names of the adopting parents and the actual birth date and birthplace of the child. Certificates may be issued in accordance with § 3110 of this title.

(c) The State Registrar shall file a new certificate of birth for any child born in Delaware who is legally adopted in another state upon receipt of a certified or exemplified copy of the court order of adoption from the clerk of the court of such other state, and shall issue a certificate as provided under § 3110 of this title.

(d) In the event of a child born outside of the United States and who is adopted in Delaware and for whom no certificate of birth can be secured from the nation of birth, the State Registrar may file and issue a special certificate of birth in accordance with this chapter, provided the adopting parents can furnish evidence considered satisfactory by the State Registrar of the facts and circumstances surrounding the birth of the child.

27 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 11; Code 1915, § 811; 33 Del. Laws, c. 57, § 4; 34 Del. Laws, c. 69, § 1; Code 1935, § 794; 44 Del. Laws, c. 69, § 1; 16 Del. C. 1953, § 3127; 52 Del. Laws, c. 88, § 3; 62 Del. Laws, c. 157, § 1; 68 Del. Laws, c. 274, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 481, § 2; 72 Del. Laws, c. 306, § 3.;

In cases of acknowledgment or establishment of paternity, the State Registrar, upon receipt of a court order, an administrative order or a properly executed acknowledgment of paternity, executed or issued in this State or any other state, which establishes paternity or creates a presumption of paternity under the law of the state in which it was executed or issued, shall prepare an amended or new certificate of birth, as the case may be, consistent with the document. The fact that the father-and-child relationship was declared after the child's birth shall not be ascertainable from the amended or new certificate, but the actual place and date of birth shall be shown. The evidence upon which the amended or new certificate was made and the original birth certificate shall be sealed and filed and may be opened only upon court order or upon application of the Division of Child Support Enforcement certifying that the child for whom information is sought is the subject of a child support case administered by the Division under Title IV-D of the federal Social Security Act [42 U.S.C. § 651 et seq.]

25 Del. Laws, c. 66, §§ 7, 8; Code 1915, § 812; 33 Del. Laws, c. 57, § 4; 34 Del. Laws, c. 69, § 1; 40 Del. Laws, c. 99, § 1; Code 1935, § 795; 44 Del. Laws, c. 69, § 1; 16 Del. C. 1953, § 3128; 68 Del. Laws, c. 274, § 1; 69 Del. Laws, c. 296, §§ 24, 25.;

(a) A record of each divorce or annulment granted by the Family Court in this State shall be filed by that court with the Office of Vital Statistics and shall be registered if it has been completed and filed in accordance with this section. The record shall be prepared by the petitioner or the petitioner's legal representative on a form prescribed and furnished by the State Registrar and shall be presented to the Family Court with the petition. In all cases the completed record shall be a prerequisite to the granting of the final decree.

(b) The Family Court shall complete and forward to the Office of Vital Statistics on or before the 15th day of each calendar month the records of each divorce or annulment decree granted during the preceding calendar month.

(c) Records of divorce are collected by the Office of Vital Statistics for statistical purposes only. Certified copies of a divorce decree may be issued by Family Court in the county in which the decree was granted.

25 Del. Laws, c. 66, § 11; 27 Del. Laws, c. 84, § 12; 27 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 9; Code 1915, § 817; Code 1935, § 800; 44 Del. Laws, c. 69, § 1; 16 Del. C. 1953, § 3129; 68 Del. Laws, c. 274, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, the State Registrar, on the production of evidence satisfactory to the State Registrar relative to a birth, death, marriage, divorce or fetal death, if for any reason registration has been neglected or omitted, may register any birth, death, marriage, divorce or fetal death which may have occurred when registration was not effective or which may from any cause have escaped registration.

27 Del. Laws, c. 84, §§ 23, 24; 27 Del. Laws, c. 85, §§ 23, 24; Code 1915, §§ 823, 824; Code 1935, § 805; 44 Del. Laws, c. 69, § 1; 16 Del. C. 1953, § 3131; 68 Del. Laws, c. 274, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

Certificates filed within 6 months after the time prescribed therefor shall be prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated. Data therein pertaining to the father of the child are prima facie evidence only if the alleged father is the husband of the mother. The data pertaining to the father of the child are not evidence in any proceeding adverse to the interests of the alleged father or of his heirs, next-of-kin, devisees, legatees or other successors in interest if the father is not the husband of the mother and the paternity is not acknowledged.

27 Del. Laws, c. 84, § 9; 27 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 14; Code 1915, § 806; Code 1935, § 789; 44 Del. Laws, c. 69, § 1; 16 Del. C. 1953, § 3135; 68 Del. Laws, c. 274, § 1.;

(a) A person born in this State may file or amend a certificate of birth after the time prescribed by this chapter upon submitting such evidence relative to the circumstances surrounding the birth as may be required by the State Registrar. In the case of a correction to the birth record of an American Indian, the substantiating documentary proof may include, but shall not be limited to, an affidavit satisfactory to the State Registrar or any local registrar and signed by the chief of the tribe that according to tribal records the person whose certificate is to be amended is a member of the tribe of the chief whose signature appears on the affidavit.

(b) Any certificate in the custody of the State Registrar upon which the information thereon is charged to be in error may be corrected or amended upon submitting such proof of error as may be required by the State Registrar.

(c) Certificates accepted subsequent to 6 months after the time prescribed in this chapter for filing or certificates which have been amended after being filed with the State Registrar shall contain the date of the delayed filing or the date of amendment and shall be marked "delayed'' or "amended'', respectively.

(d) A summary statement of the evidence submitted in support of the acceptance for delayed filing or amendment shall be endorsed on the certificate.

(e) Such evidence submitted in support of a delayed or amended registration as may be retained by the State Registrar shall be kept in special permanent file.

(f) The probative value of a delayed or amended certificate shall be determined by the judicial or administrative body or official before whom the certificate is offered for evidence.

27 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 8; Code 1915, § 809; 38 Del. Laws, c. 164; Code 1935, § 792; 44 Del. Laws, c. 69, § 1; 16 Del. C. 1953, § 3136; 68 Del. Laws, c. 274, § 1.;

(a) The State Registrar shall receive a fee not to exceed $25 for each certified or noncertified copy of a certificate or record, or for a search of the files or records when no copy is made, or for a copy or information provided for research, statistical or administrative purposes. The fee shall be established by the State Board to reflect the costs of doing such work.

(b) The fee charged for each certified copy of a marriage license/certificate shall be $25, except that upon production of a valid military identification card, active members of the military and their spouses shall be exempt from paying such fee. This fee shall be collected by the Bureau of Vital Statistics or the Clerk of the Peace, whichever agency issues the certified copy. Each Clerk of the Peace and the Bureau of Vital Statistics shall file a semi-annual report of the fees collected with the Department of Revenue and shall deposit $15 from each fee for a certified marriage license/certificate copy into the Domestic Violence Fund, to be administered by the Criminal Justice Council. The Criminal Justice Council shall receive 5% of the annual revenues generated by the fee for administrative costs.

(c) The State Registrar shall upon request furnish any applicant with an heirloom certificate of birth for births registered in this State. Heirloom certificates shall be specially designed for framing and display. The name of the person shall be calligraphed on the heirloom certificate. The State Board shall receive a fee of $35 for heirloom certificates. The sum of $12.50 shall be retained by the Department of Health and Social Services to offset the cost of certificates in the Office of Vital Statistics. Any excess funds shall be deposited in a special account to be used for the Delaware Health Statistics Center.

(d) The State Registrar shall furnish free of charge to the relative of a veteran, 1 time, a certified copy of the veteran's certificate of death providing that said certified copy is essential to the settlement of a claim involving the settlement of the veteran's affairs. All other copies shall be issued at the statutory fee.

(e) Subject to § 3110 of this title, the federal agency responsible for national vital statistics and other vital statistics offices outside this State may obtain transcripts or copies of certificates, without payment of fees.

(f) The State Registrar shall keep an account of all fees received and turn the same over to the State Treasurer.

27 Del. Laws, c. 85, §§ 6, 7; Code 1915, §§ 807, 808; 32 Del. Laws, c. 41, §§ 1, 2; 34 Del. Laws, c. 65, § 1; 38 Del. Laws, c. 165; Code 1935, §§ 790, 791; 44 Del. Laws, c. 69, § 1; 46 Del. Laws, c. 259, §§ 1, 2; 16 Del. C. 1953, §§ 3134, 3137, 3138; 50 Del. Laws, c. 313, §§ 1, 2; 57 Del. Laws, c. 489, §§ 1-5; 62 Del. Laws, c. 332, § 1; 63 Del. Laws, c. 105, § 1; 67 Del. Laws, c. 383, § 1; 68 Del. Laws, c. 274, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 481, § 3; 76 Del. Laws, c. 317, § 2; 76 Del. Laws, c. 375, §§ 1-3; 77 Del. Laws, c. 62, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 80, §§ 1, 2.;

Each induced termination of pregnancy which occurs in this State, regardless of the length of gestation, shall be reported to the Delaware Health Statistics Center within the Division of Public Health by the person in charge or a designated representative of the institution or abortion facility in which the induced termination of pregnancy was performed. If the induced termination of pregnancy was performed outside an institution or abortion facility, the attending physician shall prepare and file the report. Such reporting shall occur within 30 days after the end of the month in which the induced termination of pregnancy was performed. These reports are to be used only for purposes of statistical analysis and shall not be incorporated into the permanent official records of the system of vital statistics. The reporting form shall include only those items recommended by the federal agency responsible for national vital statistics except that it shall not include any item that allows identification of patients or physicians. Furthermore, no statistical analysis shall be released which identifies the reporting institution or abortion facility.

70 Del. Laws, c. 378, § 2; 76 Del. Laws, c. 194, § 3.;