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Edward Curley

Edward Curley’s Answers

6 total

  • Emergency custody denied what are my options?

    Edward’s Answer

    The emergency was likely denied because the child was in your care. Therefore, there was no imminent threat of irreparable harm to the child in that moment. You should seek out legal representation and consider refiling the emergency affidavit now that the mother has fled with the child. Attach copies of all evidence in support of the emergency application.

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  • Can either me or my mother sue my father for child support after the age of 18?

    Edward’s Answer

    Delaware limits child support to the age at which the child reaches “age of majority”, defined as when the child turns 18, or, if the child is still in high school, until 19 or graduation, whichever first occurs. Under the current support guidelines, retroactivity is limited to 6 months prior to the date of the filing of the petition for support. Since you are well beyond the age of majority, a new petition will not be successful. Also, any request for retroactivity could be determined based on whether and when the father had notice of an intent by mother to seek support. If mother never gave such notice to father, or gave notice and did nothing to formally pursue support through filing a petition for years, you likely cannot expect it now. I do agree that if a case were established with the Division of Child Support Services before you turned 18, there may be some remedy, but with that passage of time, you may be out of luck.

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  • What should be filed if a father has moved out of state and is not following or exercising his custody and visitation?

    Edward’s Answer

    You may file either of those petitions, or both of them. The Rule to Show Cause is essentially a contempt petition in which you assert the intentional violation and seek sanctions that may include a forfeiture of future visits, an award of attorney fees, etc... The custody modification is appropriate if you want to permanently modify the father's rights to have contact or custody (decision making responsibility). They are not exclusive of each other. To answer more fully, the terms of the existing Order would need to be known.

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  • At what point do I request alimony in a pro se divorce?

    Edward’s Answer

    In order to preserve the interim and/or permanent alimony issue, you must file a formal Answer to the Petition for Divorce. If all allegations are agreed, the Answer should state you admit all agreed allegations and assert a counter-claim for divorce with a request that the Court reserve the Interim/permanent alimony matter for a hearing at a later date. There is a form Answer and Counter-claim on the Court website (if one was not presented when you were served with the petition) or you can get the form from the Family Court Resource Center at the courthouse. There is a filing fee for requesting alimony so be sure it is paid when you file a timely Answer. Failure to pay the fee will likely cause the Court to not reserve your alimony issue. Keep in mind that the request for interim/permanent alimony only preserves the claim for determination later. If you need temporary alimony while the case is pending, you need to file a separate motion for interim alimony.

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  • At what age is it legal for a minor to refuse to attend non court ordered visitation?

    Edward’s Answer

    In DE, there is no age at which a child may refuse visitation. If there is an Order in place regarding a specific visitation schedule, the parties are required to adhere to it unless they otherwise mutually agree to deviate from it. The problem is that the primary placement parent is expected to encourage the child to go on the Ordered visitation if the child opposes the visit. Most standard custody/visitation agreements/Orders have a provision that suggests that any opposition of the child to go on a visit obligates the parents to communicate to try to work out the issue, and, if no resolution, some such agreements/Orders require that the parents seek help from a therapist to resolve the issue. I often advise my client that he/she is not required to force the child to go. If the child still refuses, the problem for the placement parent is that the visiting parent often blames him/her and files for contempt against that parent. You are not likely to be held in contempt if you encouraged the child, if you are otherwise in compliance with the Order, and if you did not interfere with the visit. However, if a 15 year old child states a preference not to go, that is one factor that the Court must consider (among the other statutory factors). The remedy is to file for a modification of visitation and seek an Order that considers the child's ability to weigh in with her preference based upon age, maturity, intelligence, etc... That will place the issue before the Court in a way that shows you to be reasonably interested in dealing with the matter while recognizing your duty to comply with the existing Order pending some change. That will also give the child an audience with the Judge so the Court can interview the child and find out why she opposes (i.e., whether there is a problem with the father-child relationship, or, whether the child is naturally interested in staying home to be near her other interests (friends, activities, etc...)). In my experience, there are Judges in DE that will not force a 15 year old to visit but it depends on the particular circumstances of each case.

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  • Moved from Pennsylvania to Delaware is the pfa I filed in Pennsylvania still active?

    Edward’s Answer

    Yes. The pfa in PA will be given "full faith and credit" in DE. I generally recommend that a certified copy of the PFA Order be registered in DE but even if not registered, it will be enforced. Always have a certified copy with you in case you need to call law enforcement to report a violation.

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