CHAPTER 216

RELATING TO DESERTION AND SUPPORT

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 13 DELAWARE CODE BY ABROGATING THE RULE OF LAW WHICH PROHIBITS A WIFE FROM TESTIFYING TO THE FACT OF NON-ACCESS BY HER HUSBAND.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware:

Section 1. That Title 13 of the Delaware Code be amended by striking out Section 508 thereof and enacting in lieu of the part so stricken a new Section 508 thereof as follows:

§ 508. Evidence of proof of marriage and parentage; non-access of husband; competency of husband and wife to testify; willful desertion and neglect to support

In any proceeding in which the fact of marriage and/or of parentage is in issue, no other or greater evidence shall be required to prove that a man and a woman are in fact husband and wife or that the defendant, whether or not he be the husband of the mother of a child or children, is in fact the father of such child or children, than is or shall be required to prove such facts in a civil action and no existing statute or rule of law prohibiting the disclosure of confidential communications between husband and wife, or prohibiting the wife from testifying as to the non-access of her husband shall apply. Both husband and wife shall be competent and compellable witnesses to testify in behalf of or against each other, or in behalf of or against a defendant charged with the paternity of or the failure to support a child of the wife, whether such defendant is or is not the husband of the wife, to any and all relevant matters, including the fact of such marriage; the parentage of such child or children and the non-access of the husband to the wife provided, that neither the husband nor the wife, nor the defendant, in cases where he is not the husband of such wife, shall be compelled to give evidence incriminating himself or herself. Proof of the desertion of such wife, child or children in destitute or

necessitous circumstances, or of the neglect of or refusal to provide for the support and maintenance of such wife or child or children shall be prima facie evidence that such desertion, neglect or refusal is willful.

Approved June 8, 1955.