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Delaware Family Law – Time Period For Requesting Review Of A Commissioner’s Order

Posted in Civil Procedure, Delaware Family Court, Family Law

The Commissioners of the Delaware Family Court hear and determine a multitude of cases each year.  For litigants seeking to have a Commissioner’s decision reviewed by a Family Court Judge, Delaware law provides that a party may file this internal appeal “within 30 days from the date of [the] Commissioner’s order.”  See 10 Del. C. § 915(d)(1) and Family Court Rule of Civil Procedure 53.1.   This appeal period is very important since failure to timely file may result in the dismissal of the appeal.

In order to comply with the thirty day time period, however, a party must understand when it begins.  Is it the date the order is issued by the Commissioner?  Is it the date the parties receive the order or the date the order is docketed by the Court?  The recent Family Court decision in the case of S.E.V. v. S.D.V., 2013 WL 1749525 (Del. Fam. Ct. Mar. 28, 2013), holds that the 30 day period begins to run on the date the Commissioner’s Order is docketed.  

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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 lspoltore@foxrothschild.com.