The Rights of Unmarried Parents - Delaware

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Definitions

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13, § 8-102

An acknowledged other parent is a person who has established a parent-child relationship under subchapter III of this chapter. An adjudicated other parent is a man who has been adjudicated by a court of competent jurisdiction to be the parent of a child.

An alleged other parent is a person who alleges to be the genetic parent or a possible genetic parent of a child but whose parentage has not been determined. The term does not include the following:

  • A presumed other parent
  • A person whose parental rights have been terminated or declared not to exist
  • A male donor

A presumed other parent is a person who, by operation of law under § 8-204 of this title, is recognized as the parent of a child until that status is rebutted or confirmed in a judicial proceeding.

The term 'determination of parentage' means the establishment of the parent-child relationship by the signing of a valid acknowledgment of parentage under subchapter III of this chapter or adjudication by the court.

Use of Parentage Registries

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13, §§ 8-401; 8-402; 8-405

A registry of parentage is established in the Office of Vital Statistics.

Except as otherwise provided in § 8-405, a person who desires to be notified of a proceeding for adoption of, or termination of parental rights regarding, a child for whom they may be the genetic parent must register with the registry of parentage before the birth of the child or within 30 days after the birth of the child. A person is not required to register if either of the following applies:

  • A parent-child relationship between the person and the child has been established under this chapter or other law.
  • The person commences a proceeding to adjudicate their parentage before the court has terminated their parental rights.

If a child has reached age 1 year, notice of a proceeding for adoption of or termination of parental rights regarding the child must be given to every alleged other parent of the child, regardless of whether they have registered with the office.

Alternate Means to Establish Parentage

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13, §§ 8-201; 8-204

The parent-child relationship is established between a person and a child by any of the following:

  • An unrebutted presumption of the person's parentage of the child under § 8-204
  • An effective acknowledgment of parentage by the person, unless the acknowledgment has been rescinded or successfully challenged
  • An adjudication of the person's parentage
  • Adoption of the child by the person
  • The persons' consent to assisted reproduction that resulted in the birth of the child
  • A determination by the court that the person is a de facto parent of the child

A person is presumed to be the parent of a child if any of the following applies:

  • The parents of the child are married to each other and the child is born during the marriage.
  • The parents of the child were married to each other and the child is born within 300 days after the marriage is terminated by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity, or divorce.
  • Before the birth of the child, the parents of the child married each other in apparent compliance with law, even if the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid, and the child is born during the invalid marriage or within 300 days after its termination by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity, or divorce.
  • After the birth of the child, the parents of the child married each other in apparent compliance with law, regardless of whether the marriage is or could be declared invalid, and the person voluntarily asserted parentage of the child, and any of the following applies:
    • The assertion is in a record filed with the office.
    • The person agreed to be and is named as the child's other parent on the child's birth certificate.
    • The person promised in a record to support the child as their own.
  • For the first 2 years of the child's life, the person resided in the same household with the child and openly held out the child as their own.

Required Information

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13, § 8-411

The office shall prepare a form for registering with the agency. The form must require the signature of the registrant. The form must state that the form is signed under penalty of perjury. The form also must state the following:

  • A timely registration entitles the registrant to notice of a proceeding for adoption of the child or termination of the registrant's parental rights.
  • A timely registration does not commence a proceeding to establish parentage.
  • The information disclosed on the form may be used against the registrant to establish parentage.
  • Services to assist in establishing parentage are available to the registrant through the support-enforcement agency.
  • The registrant should also register in another State if conception or birth of the child occurred in the other State.
  • Information on registries of other States is available from the office and the support-enforcement agency.
  • Procedures exist to rescind the registration of a claim of parentage.

Revocation of Claim to Parentage

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13, § 8-413

A registrant may rescind their registration at any time by sending to the registry a rescission in a record signed or otherwise authenticated by them and witnessed or notarized.

Access to Information

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13, § 8-412(b)

Information contained in the registry is confidential and only may be released on request to the following:

  • A court or a person designated by the court
  • The birth parent of the child who is the subject of the registration
  • An agency authorized by other law to receive the information
  • A licensed child-placing agency
  • A support-enforcement agency
  • A party or the party's attorney in a proceeding under this chapter, or in a proceeding for adoption, or for termination of parental rights regarding a child who is the subject of the registration
  • The registry of parentage in another State