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Legal Information: Delaware

Statutes: Delaware

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March 26, 2024

§ 2353. Standard for permanent guardianship

(a) The Court shall grant a permanent guardianship if it finds by clear and convincing evidence all of the following:

(1) One of the statutory grounds for termination of parental rights as set forth in § 1103(a) of this title has been met or the parent consents to permanent guardianship.

(2) Adoption of the child is not possible or appropriate.

(3) Permanent guardianship is in the best interests of the child.

(4) The proposed permanent guardian meets all of the following requirements:

a. Is emotionally, mentally, physically and financially suitable to become the permanent guardian.

b. Is an individual with whom a child in DSCYF custody is placed, a relative, a foster parent, or a guardian.

c. Has expressly committed to remain the permanent guardian and assume the rights and responsibilities for the child for the duration of the child’s minority.

d. Has demonstrated an understanding of the financial implications of becoming a permanent guardian.

e. Has had the child placed with them for at least 6 months immediately preceding the filing of the petition. The Court may waive this requirement if the petitioner is a relative and the Court finds just cause.

(5) If the child is age 14 or over, the child consents to the permanent guardianship or, if the child does not consent, just cause why the permanent guardian should be appointed.

(6) If the proposed permanent guardian is not a relative or current guardian, at least 1 of the following:

a. The child is at least 12 years of age.

b. The proposed permanent guardian is the permanent guardian of 1 of the child’s siblings.

c. The child receives substantial governmental benefits for a serious physical or mental disability which would no longer be available to the child if parental rights were terminated or the child was adopted.

d. Extraordinary circumstances that support granting the permanent guardianship exist.

(b) If the Court determines that the elements of subsection (a) of this section have been met, the Court shall then also determine by a preponderance of evidence, the nature and extent, if any, of any contact, sharing of information, or visitation between the parent and the child. In making such a determination, the Court shall apply the best interests of the child standard.

(c) Repealed by 84 Laws 2023, ch. 128, § 16.