Many families are built or extended through adoption. Most people are familiar with the purpose and nature of adoption – the creation of a permanent parent/child relationship between a child and the adopting parents. When a child is adopted he or she is thereafter considered the child of the adopting parents and is entitled to the same rights and privileges as if he or she were born to the adopting parents. This includes the right to inherit by or through the adoptive parents. Most people think of this process or are familiar with adoption as it relates to infants or children.
Earlier this year Delaware enacted House Bill 337 regarding child marriage. Previously, Delaware law allowed minors to marry if a Judge of the Family Court signed an order allowing the minor to marry. In rendering a decision the Judge was required to consider the best interest of the minor, the wishes of the minor and the minor’s parents/guardians, the mental and physical health of the individuals to be married, the criminal history of the individuals to be married, and whether the proposed marriage would violate any Delaware laws. According to an article published by NPR, more than 200 minors got married between 2000 and 2017. House Bill 337, was signed into law earlier this year, making Delaware (already known as the First State) the first state in the United States to ban child marriage without exception.
The information contained in this publication should not be construed as legal advice, is not a substitute for legal counsel, and should not be relied on as such. For legal advice or answers to specific questions, please contact one of our attorneys.
Leslie Spoltore focuses her practice on family law, handling all aspects of the Delaware Family Court’s jurisdiction including, divorce, alimony, property distribution, prenuptial agreements, adoption, guardianship, permanent guardianship, child support, child custody, protection from abuse. She works out of the firm’s Wilmington, DE office and can be reached at 302-840-1110 or at Leslie.Spoltore@Obermayer.com
In addition to dividing assets and debts, Delaware Family Court has the authority to divide marital personal property such as furniture, dishes, candlesticks and televisions. If the parties cannot agree on the division of this type of property the Delaware Family Court does not typically hear evidence at trial over which party should receive the living room furniture or the big screen television. Rather, the Court utilizes what it calls the “two-list method.” Continue Reading
Dealing with infertility and assisted reproductive technology is overwhelming. Learning the acronyms (IUI, ART, IVF, ICSI) alone can seem daunting. Then there is the anxiety and fear that come along with the regular testing and attempted cycles. There is the emotion that accompanies the desire for a child. The women start to feel like they are a living science experiment and the men can feel powerless. Yet as intended parents trudge through the medical and laboratory bureaucracy, few think about the legal implications of the medical process. Continue Reading
The marital home is oftentimes a family’s greatest asset and therefore the division/sale of the marital home may become quite contentious. With that being said, there are only a few possible outcomes when discussing the sale/buyout of the marital home as follows: Continue Reading
There is no question that pets can be – and often are – beloved members of the family. Much as we love them, it probably doesn’t surprise anyone to know that in many jurisdictions pets are considered personal property in a divorce. Delaware is one of those jurisdictions. As a prior post explained, the Delaware Family Court favors the dividing personal property by the two-list method. Does that include pets? Continue Reading
Potential new clients often tell me that they want “full custody” of their child/ren when they are facing a possible divorce/separation. When I delve a little further into what these clients are actually looking for, i.e. what they believe “full custody” means, I get a wide array of different answers. My simple answer to their request/question is that we do not have the concept of “full custody” in New Jersey. Instead, New Jersey courts recognize two categories of custody; joint legal custody or sole legal custody. Most individuals believe that sole custody means that the other parent never has parenting time (also called visitation) with their child—this is not accurate. On the other hand, it is also widely believed that joint legal custody means that both parents equally divide parenting time with their children. This too is not accurate. I thought it would be helpful to address both misconceptions in a (hopefully) easy article as follows: Continue Reading
The simple answer is YES! Alimony is always reviewable based upon a substantial change in either party’s financial circumstances. However, in general terms, we usually see the payor spouse (the one paying the alimony) file these applications. As an example, if the payor spouse loses his/her job or suddenly becomes seriously ill, then that spouse may file an application with the Court to review his/her support obligation. (It should be noted that this analysis may be different if the parties specifically agreed in their Marital Settlement Agreement that alimony is non-modifiable in nature, i.e. that they do not want the Court to review alimony now or ever in the future.) Continue Reading
As you may have heard, it just got a bit easier in New Jersey to prove cohabitation, i.e. that your former spouse is in a serious relationship with their new partner! Specifically, now, you no longer need to prove that your former spouse is living with their new love interest on a full-time basis. This is huge! So, what evidence do you need to present to the Court to evidence that your former spouse has entered into more than a causal dating relationship?! The simple answer: as many proofs as you can find to meet your initial burden as follows: Continue Reading
With summer time right around the corner, many divorced and separated parents have questions about what summer parenting time (does the school year parenting time schedule change or stay the same?), vacations with the children (who gets to take the children on vacation and when?), and summer camp for the children (who enrolls and pays for summer camp or daycare?). Generally, the answer to all of these questions is: “It depends.” Because the summer time can bring about changes in the schedules of children and parents alike, it is essential to make sure that you and your ex are on the same page about the children’s summer schedule. Continue Reading