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State senators pass bill easing financial burden for those navigating Family Court

Joe Irizarry
Delaware Public Media

A bill easing financial burdens on those navigating family legal issues cleared the state Senate Thursday. 


Senate Bill 91 would allow Family Court to create a website where legal notices could be posted in lieu of publishing them in a newspaper.


Delivering legal notices, such as ones terminating parental rights, currently needs to be done in newspapers.  The bill’s sponsor, State Sen. Kyle Evans Gay (D-Brandywine Hundred) says the costs for that reach thousands of dollars in some cases.

Credit Delaware General Assembly
State Sen. Kyle Evans Gay


“You have a Delawarean who is stepping up in a guardianship matter and is willing to take on the costs of raising a child or caring for a child. And now there's an additional publication cost that is incurred by them.”


Gay adds some of those costs also fall on the state.  Family Court pays out around $200,000 per year publishing legal notices in newspapers.


Creating a website would allow the court to publish the notices far cheaper and reduce the financial burden on families who are often already struggling.


Gay says some concerns were raised about people with limited internet access. She says this bill doesn’t remove the option to publish a notice by newspaper, and the court could deem it necessary in certain cases where internet access is limited.


The bill passed with 5 senators opposed and now heads to the House.


Roman Battaglia is a corps member withReport for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.


Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.
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