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With seven different courts each with its own jurisdiction, Delaware's courts can be confusing to citizens going through the system. That being said, there are four levels of the court system in Delaware: the local courts, the misdemeanor/small courts, the felony/large courts and the appellate court.
The local courts consist of alderman's courts and Justice of the Peace courts. These hear minor civil cases, petty offenses, traffic offenses, landlord/tenant disputes and local ordinance violations.
The misdemeanor/small courts consist of the family courts and the Courts of Common Pleas. Family courts handle divorce, adoption, child support issues, domestic violence and all juvenile matters except those involving murder, rape or kidnapping. The Courts of Common Pleas deal with mid-level civil cases up to $50,000 and misdemeanor trials as well as appeals from the lower courts.
The felony/large courts consist of the Superior Court and the Court of Chancery. The Court of Chancery exclusively handles corporate and business legal affairs such as trusts, real estate and fiduciary law. The Superior Court is a trial court for felonies and large civil cases, and it may also hear appeals from the Courts of Common Pleas.
Finally, the Supreme Court of Delaware hears appeals from the Superior Court and the Court of Chancery. It may also hear appeals from the family courts. It also sets administrative policy for the entire Delaware court system.
When faced with a legal issue, contacting an experienced attorney is always the best bet. At LawInfo you can search for a skilled, Lead Counsel Rated Delaware attorney by location and by practice area. We have Delaware attorneys who dedicate their practice to specific areas of the law, so you will not only find an attorney, but an attorney who is knowledgeable to help you with your particular legal issue.
LawInfo offers free Delaware legal forms and documents to help resolve many of your issues on your own. Whether you need a power of attorney or you want to complete your will, we have you covered. You can click on our most popular forms located in the right column of this page. A user account is required to use the service, but it’s completely free.
If you're interested in renting property in Delaware, you may need to protect yourself from legal liability. Renting property is often a smart business decision, but unless you use the proper paperwork to forge a legally binding agreement with a tenant, you may end up with more problems than it's worth. LawInfo provides free Residential Lease Agreement for Delaware property rentals to ease your mind.
LawInfo also provides Last Will and Testament templates for those seeking to make their wishes clear for the passage of their estate. Filling out a last will is important because otherwise, the probate courts will determine who gets your belongings after you die. When you fill out a Last Will and Testament, you can be certain that your belongings pass on to the right people.
You may also wish to look through LawInfo's Power of Attorney forms to prepare for the future. People of all ages should fill out Power of Attorney documents to make it clear who will have legal control over their medical care, legal matters and finances if they become medically incapacitated. You never know when an accident will hit, and this way, you can have peace of mind knowing that you've prepared for the worst.
Delaware has some of the least restrictive corporate laws in the United States, and many people want to start businesses there for that reason. The first step is to visit the website of the Delaware Economic Development Office for useful resources on how to get started building your business.
When you've done that research, you should decide on what type of business you want. If you plan on starting any sort of corporation, general partnership, statutory trust or limited liability entity, you will need to register with the Delaware Division of Corporations; sole proprietorship businesses do not need to do so.
The next step is to get in touch with a Delaware Registered Agent. Once you've done that, you should choose a name for your business and look for it on the Delaware Division of Corporation's website. If it is not there, you can reserve your entity's name. Once that's completely, you will need to fill out various forms depending on your business status for taxation, registration and employment purposes.
Small businesses are crucial to Delaware's state economy, with 93 percent of all business owners in charge of companies with less than 500 people. They employed 168,878 workers in 2010 and exhibited an average unemployment rate of about 7.3 percent. However, large corporations also play a key role in Delaware's economy, with more than 1,300 companies employing more than 500 people employees each. Fortune 500 companies DuPont (DD) and SLM ( SLM) also have their headquarters in Delaware.