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Process for Establishing a Child Support Order

In Delaware, the Family Court decides what is in the best interest of a child and applies the law regarding child support to the case. Most child support matters are handled at the mediation level. At the mediation meeting, the parties try to reach an agreement based on the Delaware Child Support Formula Calculation (also called the Melson Formula). If an agreement is reached, a wage attachment is ordered.

If the child was born out of wedlock and the named father denies that he is the child's father, both parents and the child(ren) are ordered to undergo genetic (DNA) testing to establish paternity. Genetic (DNA) tests determine whether or not the man tested is the child's father. If the man is found not to be the father, he is excluded and the mother is asked to name another man that she believes could have fathered the child, and the process repeats.

In cases where the identity of the father is questioned, and in those cases where one or both parties do not agree with the Delaware Support Formula, the case goes to the Family Court Commissioner's level for a decision. If you are a client of the Division, a Deputy Attorney General will appear to prosecute the case. At this hearing, the Commissioner looks at the facts and circumstances and decides the proper support amount. In addition to deciding on the support amount, the Commissioner will also issue a wage and medical support attachment for the non-custodial parent's employer. You will be required to attend all Family Court proceedings on your case.