Who May Adopt, Be Adopted, or Place a Child for Adoption - Delaware

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Who May Adopt

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13, §§ 903; 951

To be eligible to petition the family court for an order authorizing the petitioner or petitioners to adopt a child not his, hers, or theirs, the petitioner or petitioners must satisfy the three following requirements:

  • Be either of the following:
    • A resident of Delaware at the time of filing the petition
    • A person with whom a child has been placed for adoption under § 904 of this title
  • Be any of the following:
    • An unmarried person petitioning individually
    • A divorced or legally separated person petitioning individually
    • A married couple petitioning jointly, provided they are not legally separated or living apart from each other
    • A nonmarried couple petitioning jointly, provided that they are cohabiting, as that term is defined in § 1512(g) of this title
  • Be older than age 21 at the time of filing the petition

Nothing herein shall affect the right of any person to adopt a person who has reached age 18, as provided in subchapter II of this chapter.

The following persons who desire to adopt any person or persons older than age 18 shall file a petition in the family court of the county in which any of the petitioner(s) or the person(s) to be adopted resides:

  • Any person petitioning individually
  • A married couple petitioning jointly
  • A nonmarried couple petitioning jointly, provided that they are cohabiting

Who May Be Adopted

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13, §§ 908; 953

The child who is to be adopted must be legally free for adoption.

Persons who are age 18 or older may be adopted, subject to their consent to the adoption and their appearance at the adoption hearing.

Who May Place a Child for Adoption

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13, § 904

Any child sought to be adopted must be placed for adoption by the Department of Children, Youth, and Their Families or a licensed or authorized agency, and the placement must be supervised by the department or licensed agency. Such placement or supervision shall not be necessary in the case of any of the following:

  • Adoption by a stepparent
  • Adoption by a blood relative
  • Adoption by a guardian or permanent guardian as long as guardianship or permanent guardianship has been granted for at least 6 months prior to filing the adoption petition

No placement for an identified adoption in which an intermediary has been involved shall be approved or permitted by the department or a licensed agency.

In any case in which the child to be adopted is from out of State, pursuant to § 926 of this title, the placement must be approved and supervised by the department or a licensed agency.