Delaware Family Law Attorney

Family disputes are never easy to endure. Having someone on your side who will have the best interests of you and your children in mind can be extremely beneficial to your case. For representation in your upcoming proceedings, contact a Delaware family attorney.

Having to go through the court system to establish the rights and responsibilities of each parent is no easy feat. Frankly, it can be quite an ugly process for many parents. Some parents wrongfully drag each other’s names through the mud in the hope of winning sole custody of the children, while in other cases the process can run rather smoothly.

If you bring your case to court so you and your children have some clarity now that you and their other parent are no longer together, or if you’re dealing with any other sort of family law dispute, contact a Delaware family law attorney at Barros, McNamara, Malkiewicz & Taylor. We will advocate for you and your family through the entire process.

Going Through Mediation

Before bringing your case in front of a judge, in most cases, you will be expected to attend mediation with your former partner or other family member to see if you are able to come to an agreement you can both be happy with.

You will each have the opportunity to present your case to the mediator, who will not choose sides and will remain neutral in his or her opinion of the matters at hand. Then, the mediator will try to work with you both to determine whether you are able to give and take a little on each area you formerly disagreed about. If you are able to reach an agreement, it may still be subject to a judge’s approval.

Child Custody and Visitation in Delaware Family Law Disputes

If you are unable to reach an agreement in mediation, the court will help determine which parent will receive primary custody, which will be the non-custodial parent (the one with which the child does not primarily reside), and, in some cases, a reasonable visitation schedule.

The court hopes for children to spend as much quality time with both parents as possible and will take into consideration the child’s opinion in regard to which parent he or she is more inclined to spend time with.

In addition, the court will have a predetermined schedule of arrangements as long as both parents are deemed competent. An example of such a schedule is detailed below:

One parent receives two overnights in the middle of the week and every other weekend from 6 p.m. on a Friday until Monday morning. He or she will also receive two weeks of nonconsecutive vacation time with the child. Holidays are divided where one parent is assigned both even- and odd-numbered yearly holidays (one parent receives children for Christmas and Thanksgiving in 2018, the other in 2019).

Understandably, you want to spend as much time with your child as possible. A family law attorney in Delaware can help you maximize the time the court gives you.

Establishing Child Support

Determining child support payments is done through one of several formulas designed to allow the non-custodial parent to retain the portion of his or her income needed to cover his or her basic needs first.

Then, the formula will consider the weekly wages of both parents and child care costs, school tuition, and the time spent with the non-custodial parent to determine how much income will go toward child support.

The child’s wellbeing will be the first priority. A family lawyer in Delaware can help you advocate for fair child support for your children.

What Are Your Parental Rights?

As a fit parent, you should have the right to see your child and maintain a relationship with him or her. However, there are circumstances in which a court may determine that a parent’s rights should be terminated. Some of these circumstances include the following:

  • Child abandonment through failure to visit or provide support
  • Failure to communicate with the child regularly
  • Failure to petition for visitation or paternity status
  • Exposure to the parent putting the child at risk

The person filing the petition for the termination of parental rights (TPR) will need to establish that one or more of these criteria have been met in order to have the parent stripped of his or her right to a relationship with the child. Additionally, the other parent has the option of consenting to the TPR and signing his or her parental rights away.

Domestic Violence and Delaware Family Law Cases

Domestic violence is taken very seriously in Delaware. It is defined as the coercion, abusive intimidation, or threatening behavior of one member of the household to another. If domestic violence is an issue in your home, you can request an Order of Protection from Abuse which is a restraining order that will mandate that the person must keep away from you.

These cases can have a dramatic and devastating impact on your family and children, as well as on the life of the person the restraining order is being taken out against, and should not be taken lightly. If domestic violence is involved in your family law dispute in Delaware, a qualified lawyer can help make sure you and your children are protected.

Delaware Family Law FAQ

We understand that going through the courts to retain the rights to your family can be a painful process. We have gathered some of the most common questions our clients have had about family law in the hopes that these answers can help put your mind at ease while you consider working with a family lawyer in Delaware.

What happens if the non-custodial parent fails to pay the mandated child support?

Delaware is strict in its laws regarding non-custodial parents who do not pay their child support. When the parent gets behind on payments, the custodial parent can file a Petition for Child Support Arrears. The courts will then determine how to get the non-custodial parent caught up on his or her payments and may even subject him or her to jail time as punishment.

Do grandparents have a right to visitation?

Grandparents can petition the court to have visitation in special circumstances. If one parent has no objection to the visits that the other parent has cut off and the grandparent-grandchild relationship will not negatively impact the relationship between child and parent, the court may allow the grandparents to have court-ordered visitation.

What is a guardian ad litem?

This is a court-appointed official who will advocate on behalf of the child. Such advocates are used when parents are battling in court, seemingly without regard for the children’s wants or needs. The guardian ad litem will often review both sides and compile a recommendation for the court that he or she feels will be most beneficial for the child or children in question.

Meet with a Delaware Family Lawyer

When you need representation in a family dispute and are looking for someone who will fight for both your interests and those of your children, consult with a qualified Delaware family law attorney at Barros, McNamara, Malkiewicz & Taylor. You can schedule a case evaluation by filling out the contact form below or giving us a call at 302-734-8400.