Legal Information: Delaware

Statutes: Delaware

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September 13, 2023

§ 2353. Standard for permanent guardianship

(a) The Court shall grant a permanent guardianship if it finds by clear and convincing evidence that:

(1) One of the statutory grounds for termination of parental rights as set forth in § 1103(a) of this title has been met;

(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:

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

b. Is a foster parent or guardian who has been caring for the child for at least 6 months or held guardianship for at least 6 months at the time of the filing of the petition or is a relative;

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; and

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

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

(6) If the proposed permanent guardian is a foster parent or parents:

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

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

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

(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, and/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) The parent or parents may voluntarily consent to the permanent guardianship provided the elements of subsection (a) of this section are met.

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