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Legal Statutes: Delaware

UPDATED April 12, 2017

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Subchapter II. Jurisdiction and Powers

back to top§ 921. Exclusive original civil jurisdiction

The Court shall have exclusive original civil jurisdiction in all proceedings in this State concerning:

(1) Any child found in the State who is alleged to be dependent, neglected, abused or delinquent except as otherwise provided in this chapter;

(2)a. Any child charged in this State with delinquency by having committed any act or violation of any laws of this State or any subdivision thereof, except murder in the first or second degree, rape in the first degree, rape in the second degree, unlawful sexual intercourse in the first degree, assault in the first degree, robbery in the first degree, (where such offense involves the display of what appears to be a deadly weapon or involves the representation by word or conduct that the person was in possession or control of a deadly weapon or involves the infliction of serious physical injury upon any person who was not a participant in the crime, and where the child has previously been adjudicated delinquent of 1 or more offenses which would constitute a felony were the child charged under the laws of this State), kidnapping in the first degree, or any attempt to commit said crimes; any child 16 years of age or older charged with violation of Title 21, except as provided in paragraph (16) of this section or § 927 of this title; or any other crime over which the General Assembly has granted or may grant jurisdiction to another court.

b. Any child charged in this State with delinquency by having committed, after reaching his or her sixteenth birthday, murder in the second degree, manslaughter, robbery in the second degree, attempted murder (first or second degree), home invasion, burglary in the first degree or arson in the first degree; provided, however, that such child shall, after his or her first appearance in the Court, be given a hearing as soon as practicable to determine his or her amenability to the processes of the Court. The Court shall give immediate notice of such hearing in writing to the Department of Justice and to the child's custodian, near relative, attorney or other interested person, if known, and then the Court shall proceed in accordance with the provisions of § 1010 of this title. The Attorney General or 1 of his or her deputies shall be present at any such hearing.

 

Superior Court shall retain jurisdiction for purposes of sentencing and all other postconviction proceedings if any judge or jury shall find the child guilty of a lesser included crime following a trial or plea of guilty in any prosecution for 1 of the crimes specifically defined in this subsection or for any crime where the child has been transferred to the Superior Court by the Family Court pursuant to § 1010 of this title;

(3) Enforcement of any law of this State or any subdivision or any regulation promulgated by a governmental agency, or any petitions or actions, for the education, protection, control, visitation, possession, custody, care, or support of children; provided however, that the Justice of the Peace Court shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over truancy matters as set forth in Chapter 27 of Title 14, and the Family Court shall assume exclusive jurisdiction over those matters transferred or appealed from the Justice of the Peace Court in accordance with §§ 2731 and 2732 of Title 14;

(4) Judicial consent to employment, medical care, or enlistment in the armed services of a child when such consent is required by law;

(5) Actions to terminate compulsory school attendance by a child who has not attained his or her sixteenth birthday;

(6) Actions and proceedings wherein:

a. A member of a family alleges that some other member of the family is by their conduct imperiling any family relationship and petitions the Court for appropriate relief.

b. The Division of Child Protective Services or a licensed youth service agency alleges that the conduct of a child, or of the parents or custodians, or members of a family, imperils any family relationship or imperils the morals, health, maintenance or care of a child and petitions the Court for appropriate relief; provided, however, that where a parent, to ensure the safety or welfare of the child, fails to cause the child to attend school, such parent has not imperiled the family relationship, nor has imperiled the morals, health, maintenance or care of the child.

c. In such actions and proceedings the Court may make such adjudications and dispositions as appear appropriate;

(7) Liability of relatives to support a poor person under § 501 of Title 13, and §§ 2830 and 2831 of Title 31;

(8) Execution of forms consenting to marriages under § 123 of Title 13;

(9) Reciprocal support proceedings by or against nonresidents under Chapter 6 of Title 13;

(10) Any child in the State under the age of 16 years charged with delinquency by having committed a violation of any provision of Title 21; and any child in the State 16 years of age or older charged with having violated any of the provisions specified in § 927 of this title;

a. The court having jurisdiction of violations of Title 21, not covered above, shall not proceed, except to continue the case, without the presence of a custodian, near relative, attorney or other interested person.

b. Any judge of a court of proper jurisdiction, if the judge determines the existence of circumstances beyond the violation of Title 21, which indicates that the child 16 or 17 years old may be dependent, neglected or delinquent, shall, in addition to hearing the violation of Title 21, cause a complaint to be filed charging dependency, neglect or delinquency.

c. Any sentence imposed against any child 16 or 17 years old by a court having jurisdiction of the offenses in Title 21, except those offenses within the jurisdiction of the Family Court, shall be limited to a fine and costs. No court shall detain a child 16 years of age or older in a jail or adult correctional institution or jail pending trial on any violation of Title 21. Any child pending trial shall, in the default of bail, be detained only in a juvenile correctional facility.

d. Any child 16 or 17 years old who fails or refuses to pay a fine imposed by a court having jurisdiction of the offenses in Title 21, except those offenses within the jurisdiction of the Family Court, and after exhaustion of all other legal remedies for collection provided by the State, shall be charged with delinquency and referred to the Family Court;

(11) All proceedings relative to divorce and annulment under Chapter 15 of Title 13;

(12) Actions concerning the education of the handicapped and the enforcement of rights guaranteed by Chapter 31 of Title 14;

(13) Actions concerning appeals from administrative decisions of the Division of Child Support Services, in accordance with the Delaware Administrative Procedures Act, Chapter 101 of Title 29;

(14) Petitions by persons formerly married to each other seeking an interest in or disposition of jointly titled real property, where such property was not disposed of (i) by agreement of the parties, or (ii) by virtue of ancillary proceedings pursuant to § 1513 of Title 13. In dividing said property the Family Court shall apply equitable principles unless there is a written agreement signed by the parties regarding the disposition of said property. Unless there is a written agreement signed by the parties the Family Court shall not consider the factors enumerated in § 1513 of Title 13. This paragraph shall apply to all actions filed after July 11, 1989;

(15) Proceedings relative to parental notice of abortion under subchapter VIII, Chapter 17 of Title 24;

(16) Notwithstanding any provision of this title to the contrary, charges of delinquency based upon an alleged violation of any provision of Title 11, 16 or 21 which would otherwise be within the original civil jurisdiction of Family Court shall instead be within the original criminal jurisdiction of Superior Court if said charges may be joined properly with a felony pending against the same child in Superior Court, as determined pursuant to the relevant rules of the Superior Court;

(17) Actions concerning child support liens pursuant to § 519 of Title 13;

(18) Child Protection Registry proceedings pursuant to Chapter 9 of Title 16.

Added by 58 Laws 1971, ch. 114, § 1. Amended by 58 Laws 1971, ch. 116, § 1; 58 Laws 1972, ch. 497, § 4; 60 Laws 1975, ch. 297, § 14; 60 Laws 1976, ch. 708, §§ 1, 2; 61 Laws 1978, ch. 334, § 7; 64 Laws 1983, ch. 63, §§ 5, 6; 64 Laws 1983, ch. 108, § 4; 65 Laws 1986, ch. 228, § 5; 66 Laws 1988, ch. 269, § 12; 67 Laws 1989, ch. 89, § 1; 69 Laws 1994, ch. 213, § 1; 70 Laws 1995, ch. 186, § 1, eff. July 10, 1995; 70 Laws 1995, ch. 238, § 2, eff. Oct. 15, 1995; 70 Laws 1995, ch. 261, §§ 1, 2, eff. July 19, 1995;70 Laws 1995, ch. 262, § 1, eff. July 19, 1995; 70 Laws 1995, ch. 288, § 8, eff. Jan. 1, 1996; 70 Laws 1996, ch. 596, § 1, eff. July 31, 1996; 71 Laws 1998, ch. 285, § 24, eff. Sept. 9, 1998; 72 Laws 2000, ch. 346, § 16, eff. June 28, 2000; 73 Laws 2002 (3rd Sp. Sess.), ch. 412, § 21, eff. Feb. 1, 2003; 74 Laws 2003, ch. 106, §§ 25, 26, eff. June 30, 2003; 75 Laws 2005, ch. 195, § 1, eff. July 12, 2005; 77 Laws 2009, ch. 43, § 2, eff. June 16, 2009; 78 Laws 2012, ch. 252, § 2, eff. June 1, 2012; 80 Laws 2016, ch. 234, § 2, eff. May 19, 2016; 80 Laws 2016, ch. 236, § 1, eff. May 19, 2016.