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Delaware Child Custody & Delaware Child Support

UPDATED: March 3, 2020

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Delaware courts, like family courts in all states, prefer that parents cooperatively work out an agreement on the details of raising their children after a divorce because, in the long run, these amicable agreements are in the best interests of the children. If the parents are unable to agree, then the court will step in to decide issues of child custody, visitation, and support. In making these determinations, the court will always look to the best interests of the children. The following are the laws governing Delaware child custody and support.


Delaware Child Custody:

Delaware courts determine all custody issues with the best interests of the children in mind. The court will consider all relevant facts and give the father and mother the same consideration regardless of the child’s sex or age. Either a sole or joint custody decision will be reached. The factors the court will consider include, among others: the children’s age, their health, their wishes, educational and community adjustment issues, parental history of compliance with responsibilities to their children, evidence of domestic violence or criminal history, and more.

Delaware Child Support:

Child support in Delaware is determined by the Melson formula, which is based on both parents’ net income considered in relative proportions, along with the time that each spends with the child and the number of dependants each party has. Whatever the award, it will generally be due and enforceable until the child is 18, 19, and/or graduates from high school.

The Melson formula is not always followed, but a decision to follow a different standard will require supportive evidence showing 1) all the factors that affect the parties’ financial obligations differently, and 2) how applying a standard other than the Melson formula will more effectively preserve the best interests of the child.

The factors that can be considered here are numerous, including, but not limited to:

  1. Monetary support provided for other family members
  2. Debts arising during the marriage for the child’s benefit
  3. Imputed income to a party who is voluntarily unemployed for the child’s benefit
  4. Court-ordered payments for health care and education for the child’s benefit
  5. Children’s independent financial resources, if any
  6. Education, training, and/or career opportunities of the parties and/or ability to pursue those things
  7. A written agreement between the parties including the amount of child support, if one exists

A lawyer can help you sort through your rights and responsibilities when it comes to raising your kids after a divorce, and can also serve as your advocate and/or counsel when negotiating a parenting agreement. You can find a lawyer at:

Delaware Divorce/Child Support/Child Custody Lawyers:

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