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Child Custody in Delaware

Familiarize Yourself with Child Custody Laws

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Family courts in Delaware do not discriminate against a parent's gender for child custody purposes. When responding to a parent's request for child custody in Delaware, the court will determine custody based on the best interests of the child, in addition to several additional factors. Parents who wish to file for child custody in Delaware should first become familiar with the child custody laws in this state.

Related: Help our readers by sharing your experience with child custody in Delaware.

Best Interests of the Child

A court in Delaware will determine physical and legal child custody based on the best interests of the child. Factors included in best interests of the child are:

  • The child's wishes
  • Each parent's wishes
  • The child's adjustment to home, school, and community life
  • Any evidence of domestic violence
  • The mental and physical health of all involved parties
  • The child's relationship with his/her parents, siblings, and extended family members
  • Any criminal history related to either parent

Child Custody Orders in Delaware

An order of child custody in Delaware may include:

  • A temporary joint or sole custody order for up to 6 months to give the parents the chance to demonstrate their ability to cooperate with the custodial order. After the expiration of the temporary order, the court can decide to make the temporary order permanent
  • Court-ordered counseling for the parents and the children
  • A court order shall include a schedule, including when each parent will have contact with the child

Delaware Child Custody Arrangements

A court in Delaware prefers a joint custody arrangement where both parents have equal access to the child. However, a Delaware court will grant sole custody if it determines that contact with a parent will endanger the child's physical or emotional well-being.

Military and Child Custody

A custody order by a person in the military shall be considered a temporary order until the military servicemember returns from active duty.

Modification of Child Custody in Delaware

A party who wants to modify the current child custody arrangement in Delaware should file a petition with the family court. A Delaware court will modify child custody if it is in the best interests of the child. In determining whether to agree to a custody modification, a Delaware court will ponder:

  • Whether there will be harm caused by the custody modification and whether any harm caused by a modification will be outweighed by the advantages
  • Whether the child's parents have complied with the current custody and visitation order

For more information about child custody in Delaware, speak with a qualified attorney in Delaware or refer to the Delaware Domestic Relations statute.

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