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Delaware Family Law & Trial Practice Blog
Join Leslie and other Wilmington-based Fox Rothschild litigators as they navigate through Delaware’s Family Court, Superior Court and Court of Common Pleas, providing analysis on matters, identifying new cases and developments, detailing the implications of court decisions and offering step-by-step commentary of the trial process.
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Delaware Chancery Law Blog
The Delaware Court of Chancery is widely considered the preeminent forum for resolving disputes involving the internal affairs of the multitude of Delaware corporations and other business entities through which a vast amount of the world's commercial affairs is conducted. Join Leslie as she helps guide you through the complex landscape of legal issues and analysis arising before this Court.
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Recent Blog Posts

  • Want To Modify Your Custody Order? The Timing Of The Filing Could Make A Difference . . . The date of the filing of a petition for modification of a custody order can be important for many reasons.  For example, it sets the burden of proof.  It can also provide parameters for the arguments at trial.  Consider the recently decided case of  Newman v. Newman, No. 119, 2016 (Nov. 29, 2016). Michael Newman and Sarah Newman are the parents of two children.  After their divorce in 2010 the Newman’s were party to a series of child custody orders. These orders include a stipulation... More
  • Supreme Court Reverses and Remands Default Judgment Background Mr. Davis and Ms. Davis are the parents of two children.  On February 14, 2016, Mr. Davis was personally served with a petition for custody of the children at an address provided by Ms. Davis.  As provided in Family Court Civil Rule 16, the case was then scheduled for mediation.  On February 23, 2016, the Family Court issued a notice to Mr. Davis, which was addressed to him at the same address where he received service of the petition for custody. The notice... More
  • Appellate Practice – What Tolls The Appeal Period? When filing an appeal timing can be everything.  A prior post explored a Delaware Supreme Court decision that held that a motion for clarification does not toll the appeal period. The recent Order issued by the Supreme Court in the case of Scott v. Adams, No. 383, 2016 (Nov. 9, 2016) reminds us that motions for reargument or for a new trial do toll that period. Background On June 28, 2016, the Family Court issued its decision on ancillary matters (“Ancillary Order”) in the divorce of Laura... More
  • Supreme Court Upholds Termination Of Parental Rights In the case of George v. Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families (DSCYF/DFS), No. 134, 2016 (Oct. 27, 2016), Ms. George filed an appeal challenging the Family Court’s decision to terminate her parental rights in her twins, M.G. and M.G.  Although appeals are not unusual in cases of termination of parental rights (“TPR”), Ms. George’s appeal presented an interesting argument. The background and history of the case is set forth in greater detail in the Opinion and are... More
  • Supreme Court Upholds Family Court’s Award Of Attorney’s Fees For Excessively Litigious Behavior The case of Tanner v. Allen recently made its second appearance in the Delaware Supreme Court. The first appeal resulted in a decision in which the Supreme Court upheld the Family Court order finding Mr. Tanner in contempt of that Court’s property division order. Following that appeal, on February 22, 2016, Ms. Allen filed a motion seeking reimbursement of a portion of the attorney’s fees incurred to enforce the property division orders. After considering 13 Del. C. § 1515 and... More
  • Social Media And Protective Orders – Lessons From Pennsylvania A prior post on this blog explored the use of social media to in custody cases.  As the  recent post by Mark Ashton, a Partner in our Exton office, points out social media to can have an even greater significance in the context of a protection from abuse order.  His post, entitled “Posts on Social Media, Go to Jail – How a Facebook Post Violated a Court Order” discusses a recent Pennsylvania action in which a contempt order issued for violation of... More
  • Alimony And Cohabitation – Timing Matters For many people facing the possibility of paying alimony after separation and/or divorce, the thought that their ex may cohabit makes them positively giddy. There is an expectation that cohabitation will prevent any future obligation to pay alimony. This expectation may be based on the language of Section 1512(g) of Title 13, which provides: Unless the parties agree otherwise in writing, the obligation to pay future alimony is terminated upon the death of either party or the remarriage or cohabitation of the party receiving alimony. As used in... More
  • Family Court Begins Publishing Opinions Online! The Family Court of the State of Delaware recently announced that it will make opinions available on the Delaware Judiciary website.  The September 15th announcement of this significant policy change states: As of today, written decisions from the Family Court of the State of Delaware will be available on the Delaware Judiciary’s website. The first opinion was published today and can be found on the opinions page at http://courts.delaware.gov/opinions/.  The publishing of decisions on the Delaware Judiciary’s website will bring greater awareness... More
  • Governor Jack Markell Announces Nominations To The Family Court Bench Governor Jack Markell has announced the nomination of James G. McGiffin, Jr., Gretchen C. Gilchrist and Theresa A. Sedivec to the Family Court bench.  James McGiffin, Jr. has been nominated to serve as an Associate Judge in Kent County.  He has been nominated to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge William J. Walls, Jr.  Gretchen C. Gilchrist has been nominated to serve as a commissioner in the Kent County Family Court.  Theresa A. Sedivec has been nominated... More
  • Prohibition Of Gender Bias In Custody Cases I often hear parents express a belief or a fear that the law is biased in custody cases.  Most often I hear concerns that the Delaware Code presumes that mothers are better parents.  Perhaps this fear comes from talking with parents in other states where this may occur. For example, a recent article in Southeast Missourian noted that prior to an amendment in that state’s law the standard custody arrangement in Missouri typically allowed for a mother to have primary... More
  • Court Issues Sanctions In The Case Of In Re Shawe & Elting LLC The Court of Chancery recently issued its latest decision in the contentious case captioned In re Shawe & Elting LLC.  This decision addresses Elizabeth Elting’s motion seeking the imposition of sanctions against Philip Shawe.  After conducting a hearing on the request, the Court found, clear evidence adduced at the sanctions hearing establishes that Shawe acted in bad faith and vexatiously during the course of the litigation in three respects: (1) by intentionally seeking to destroy information on his laptop computer after the... More
  • Delaware Supreme Court Denies Request For Writ Of Mandamus, Prohibition, Or Certiorari A matter recently decided by the Delaware Supreme Court addressed a petition seeking the issuance of a writ of mandamus, prohibition, or certiorari.  Matter of Philip R. Shawe, No. 673, 2015 (Jan. 22, 2016).  The petition, filed by Philip R. Shawe (“Shawe”), sought a writ that would direct the Court of Chancery to vacate an order which compelled Shawe to return certain privileged documents.  It was Shawe’s contention that the order issued by the Court of Chancery violated his First... More
  • Delaware Supreme Court Adopts Rules To Govern Arbitrations Conducted Pursuant To The Delaware Rapid Arbitration Act By Order dated June 17, 2015, and in accordance with Section 5804(a) of the Delaware Rapid Arbitration Act, the Delaware Supreme Court adopted Rules to govern arbitrations conducted pursuant to that Act.  The Rules, which may be viewed here, become effective on June 22, 2015. _____________ Leslie Spoltore is a Partner with the law firm Fox Rothschild LLP.  Leslie practices in Fox Rothschild’s Wilmington, Delaware office.  You can reach Leslie at (302) 622-4203, or [email protected]... More
  • Implementation of the Delaware Rapid Arbitration Act The Delaware Supreme Court and the Court of Chancery have each amended their Rules to implement the Delaware Rapid Arbitration Act.  The announcement of these amendments provides, Amendments to the Delaware Supreme Court Rules and the Court of Chancery Rules Related to the Delaware Rapid Arbitration Act To implement aspects of the recently-enacted Delaware Rapid Arbitration Act, 10 Del. C. § 5801 et seq. (“DRAA”), the Delaware Supreme Court and the Court of Chancery have amended their rules. These amendments are... More
  • Supreme Court Addresses Motion To Dismiss On May 6, 2015, the Delaware Supreme Court heard oral argument on two cases that presented the same question: “In an action for damages against corporate fiduciaries, where the plaintiff challenges an interested transaction that is presumptively subject to entire fairness review, must the plaintiff plead a non-exculpated claim against the disinterested, independent directors to survive a motion to dismiss by those directors?”  The Court responded in the affirmative stating, “A plaintiff seeking only monetary damages must plead non-exculpated claims against... More