Wednesday, March 15, 2006

New Family Court Rule 16.2

Rule 16.2 of the Family Court Civil Rules has been amended, effective March 1, 2006.

Here is a link to the new rule: Rule 16.2(a)(4)

The amendment added the language "for the petitioner and children." This relates to Rule 16.2(a)(2) that states that "Children between the ages of eight and sixteen at the time of filing shall participate in a Court approved education program with either parent." Normally when a parent completes the Parenting Education Course, they receive a certificate that is filed with the Court. According to the amended rule, that certificate must now also state that the children attended the course if they are between the ages of eight and sixteen.

I don't think that this new rule will affect parents taking the course pursuant to 13 Del. C. Section 1508(h). Under that section, when there are children of a marriage under 17, and the parents are getting divorced, the parents must attend the Parenting Education Course. If neither party is seeking custody or visitation, then the children would not have to attend the course.

The strange section is 13 Del. C. Section 1508(g) also known as the Affidavit of Children's Rights. This section requires that a divorcing parent sign an affidavit showing that the parent has read or been advised of certain children's rights. The strange thing is that there is no age cut-off for this rule. Therefore, even if the children are grown, the parent still needs to file the Affidavit of Children's Rights before the Court will grant a divorce.

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