Senate Bill 119
152nd General Assembly (Present)
Becomes effective upon date of signature of the Governor or upon date specified
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 13 AND TITLE 31 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO GUARDIANSHIP OF A CHILD.
This Act amends Chapter 23, Title 13 relating to guardianship and permanent guardianship of a child. The Act does all of the following: 1. Repeals § 351, Title 31, and embeds the requirement for assessments of non-relative guardianship petitioners in Chapter 23, Title 13, the statute for guardianship of a child. 2. Revises the definition of relative for Chapter 23, Title 13, to include the relationships outlined in § 351, Title 31 for whom assessment is not required. This revision also expands eligibility for relative permanent guardianship petitioners. 3. Clarifies that when a parent consents to guardianship, a reason for establishing the guardianship is still required. 4. Moves the parental consent provision previously in § 2353(c) to § 2353(a)(1). 5. Creates separate grounds for granting guardianship when parental rights have been terminated and are vested in DSCYF or a licensed agency. 6. Requires parental consent or a Court order for a guardian or permanent guardian to relocate a child if it will materially affect a parent’s visitation. This provision mirrors the relocation provision in § 734, Title 13. 7. Adds an individual with whom a child in DSCYF custody is placed as a person eligible to serve as a permanent guardian. 8. Clarifies that either a TPR ground or a parent’s consent is required to grant a permanent guardianship. 9. Clarifies that a permanent guardianship petitioner must have the child placed with them for 6 months immediately preceding the filing of the petition. This requirement is also expanded to include relatives, unless the court finds just cause to waive the requirement for a relative petitioner. 10. Provides judicial discretion, where extraordinary circumstances are found, to grant permanent guardianship to a foster parent or individual with whom a child in DSCYF custody is placed when none of the other exceptions apply. 11. Makes minor technical changes to conform existing law to the standards of the Delaware Legislative Drafting Manual, including replacing "and/or" with the appropriate conjunction and using gender silent language.