CHAPTER 23. Guardianship of a Child
Subchapter II. General Procedures for Appointment of Guardians
Unless otherwise specified in this chapter, any adult person or persons may petition the Family Court for a guardianship order regarding a child not his, hers or theirs. Unless otherwise specified in this chapter, DSCYF, the Division, a licensed agency, the guardian ad litem or a hospital that has an interest in the health, education or welfare of a child or children may petition the Family Court for a guardianship order so long as the proposed guardian or guardians consent to the appointment.73 Del. Laws, c. 150, § 1; 70 Del Laws, c. 186,, § 1; 73 Del. Laws, c. 360, § 1; 79 Del. Laws, c. 246, § 1;
Unless otherwise provided by this chapter, the parent or parents may voluntarily consent to the guardianship.73 Del. Laws, c. 150, § 1;
Every petition for guardianship of a child filed under this chapter shall contain:
(1) Name and place of residence of the petitioner or petitioners;
(2) Name, sex, date of birth and place of birth of the child;
(3) Relationship of the petitioner or petitioners to the child or the fact that no such relationship exists;
(4) The name and address of the mother and the name and address of the father, alleged father or presumed father;
(5) In addition to other pertinent information, the petition, if either the name or address of the parent or parents is not included, shall furnish detailed information concerning the efforts made to locate the parent or parents;
(6) The name and last known address of the person or persons or organization holding parental rights and the name and address of the person or persons or organization having the care, control or custody of the child;
(7) The name or names and residence of the person or persons to whom guardianship shall vest, if different from the petitioner or petitioners;
(8) If the child is 14 years of age or older, an affidavit that the child consents to the guardianship or, if the child does not consent, just cause why the guardian should be appointed;
(9) A statement regarding each parent that:
a. The child is dependent, neglected or abused, and the reasons therefore; or
b. The proposed guardian is a stepparent and meets the requirements of § 733 of this title; or
c. The parent consents to the guardianship and an accompanying affidavit indicating same;
(10) Certified copies of the death certificate or such other proof as the Court may require, if 1 or more parents is deceased; and
(11) A statement setting forth the reasons why the petition is in the child’s best interest.73 Del. Laws, c. 150, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 73 Del. Laws, c. 360, §§ 2, 3; 79 Del. Laws, c. 246, § 1;
(a) The Court, in its discretion, may order a social study and report (hereinafter “social report”) for any petition filed under this chapter. The social report, if ordered, shall be prepared by a licensed child-placing agency retained by petitioner.
(b) The social report shall include:
(1) Information regarding the child and that child’s background;
(2) Information regarding the guardian or guardians and the proposed home;
(3) Information regarding the physical and mental condition of the child;
(4) Information regarding the suitability of the placement;
(5) A statement as to whether all requirements of this chapter have been met; and
(6) A recommendation.
(c) If a social report is ordered under this section, the person or persons or organization so ordered shall file the social report within 4 months, subject to such additional time as the Court shall determine is reasonably required.73 Del. Laws, c. 150, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1;
(a) When a guardianship petition is filed, the petition shall be served upon the parent or parents, person or persons or organization holding parental rights at the respondent’s last known address.
(b) If the Court finds that personal service within the State cannot be accomplished upon the parent or parents, person or persons, or organization holding parental rights, the petitioner shall cause notice to be published either on a legal notices website established by the Court or in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the respondent is most likely to be residing.
(c) Personal service at any time prior to the hearing shall be sufficient to give jurisdiction.
(d) Notice provided pursuant to this section shall constitute conclusive evidence of service and a hearing will then proceed at the time and date set, with or without the appearance of the parent or parents, person or persons, or organization so notified.73 Del. Laws, c. 150, § 1; 76 Del. Laws, c. 95, §§ 1-3; 79 Del. Laws, c. 246, § 1; 83 Del. Laws, c. 96, § 5;
The Court shall issue a decision and order on a petition for guardianship under this chapter within 30 days following the conclusion of the proceedings, or if no hearing is necessary, within 30 days of the petition and social report, if applicable, being filed.73 Del. Laws, c. 150, § 1;
All proceedings under this chapter shall be held before the Court privately, but for reasons appearing sufficient to the Court, the hearing in any particular case may be public.73 Del. Laws, c. 150, § 1;
The petitioner, if the petition is not granted, or any person or organization who does not prevail in a petition for guardianship under this chapter, may, at any time within 30 days after the entry of an order by the Court, take an appeal therefrom to the Supreme Court.73 Del. Laws, c. 150, § 1;