Changes to Custody and Visitation in Delaware
There have been several recent changes to the way Custody disputes in Delaware are addressed by the Court. The Family Court in Delaware has always promoted an equitable arrangement that fits the needs of the parents and their children. However, what is considered equitable has changed and has now been provided for in the new contact guidelines. The stated goal with this recent approach is to have the children spend as much quality time with each parent as possible.
For illustration purposes, the old Standard Visitation Guidelines should be compared to the newer Contact Guidelines. Under the old Standard Visitation Guidelines, the presumptive arrangement would be that one parent would have primary placement while the other would have visitation every other weekend and one evening per week for a few hours. Holidays and school breaks would be split and the visiting parent would have up to five weeks of visitation in the summer. Transportation would be the responsibility of the visiting parent.
Under the new Contact Guidelines, the presumptive arrangement depends on the age of the child.
From Birth to 18 months, the starting point is that one parent would have primary placement and the other parent would have visitation every other weekend and two weeknights per week for a minimum of three hours. In addition, the parent seeking visitation would be entitled to two non-consecutive weeks of vacation visitation.
From 18 Months to Five years, the parent seeking visitation would have every other weekend as well as two overnights per week. They would also get two non-consecutive weeks of vacation visitation.
From 5 years and up, the presumptive custody arrangement is that contact should be shared equally, which could include alternating weeks or some other visitation arrangement as can be agreed upon or that fits the family schedule. Summer visitation is presumed to alternate every other week as well.
The final big change is that both parents are equally responsible for transportation rather than having the parent seeking visitation responsible for all of the transportation.
For more information contact Ronald D. Phillips Jr. at MurrayPhillips P.A. 302-855-9300