CHAPTER 219

DOMESTIC RELATIONS

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 13, DELAWARE CODE, ENTITLED "DOMESTIC RELATIONS" BY ENACTING A UNIFORM RECIPROCAL ENFORCEMENT OF SUPPORT ACT.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware (two-thirds of all Members elected to each House thereof concurring therein):

Section 1. Title 13, Delaware Code, is amended by adding a new chapter thereto as follows:

CHAPTER 6

UNIFORM RECIPROCAL ENFORCEMENT OF SUPPORT

SUBCHAPTER I. GENERAL PROVISIONS

§ 601. Purposes

The purposes of this chapter are to improve and extend by reciprocal legislation the enforcement of duties of support and to make uniform the law with respect thereto.

§ 602. Definitions

As used in this chapter-

"Court" means the Family Court for New Castle County or the Juvenile Court for Kent and Sussex Counties, and when the context requires, means the court of any other state as defined in a substantially similar reciprocal law.

"Duty of support" includes any duty of support imposed or imposable by law, or by any court order, decree or judgment, whether interlocutory or final, whether incidental to a proceeding for divorce, legal separation, separate maintenance or otherwise.

"Initiating state" means any state in which a proceeding pursuant to this or a substantially similar reciprocal law is commenced.

"Law" includes both common and statute law.

"Obligee" means any person to whom a duty of support is owed.

"Obligor" means any person owing a duty of support.

"Responding state" means any state in which any proceeding pursuant to the proceeding in the initiating state is or may be commenced.

"State" includes any state, territory or possession of the United States and the District of Columbia in which this or a substantially similar reciprocal law has been enacted.

§ 603. Remedies in addition to those provided elsewhere

The remedies provided in subchapter III hereof are in addition to and not in substitution for any other remedies.

§ 604. Extent of duties of support

Duties of support arising under the law of this State, when applicable under section 620, bind the obligor, present in this State, regardless of the presence or residence of the obligee.

SUBCHAPTER II. CRIMINAL ENFORCEMENT

§ 610. Interstate rendition

The Governor (1) may demand from the governor of any other state the surrender of any person found in such other state who is charged in this State with the crime of failing to provide for the support of any person in this State and (2) may surrender on demand by the governor of any other state any person found in this State who is charged in such other state with the crime of failing to provide for the support of a

person in such other state. The provision for extradition of criminals not inconsistent herewith shall apply to any such demand although the person whose surrender is demanded was not in the demanding state at the time of the commission of the crime and although he had not fled therefrom. Neither the demand, the oath nor any proceedings for extradition pursuant to this section need state or show that the person whose surrender is demanded has fled from justice, or at the time of the commission of . the crime was in the demanding or the other state.

§ 611. Relief from provisions of section 610

Any obligor contemplated by section 610, who submits to the jurisdiction of the court of such other state and complies with the court's order of support, shall be relieved of extradition for desertion or non-support entered in the courts of this State during the period of such compliance.

SUBCHAPTER III. CIVIL ENFORCEMENT

§ 620. Choice of law

Duties of support applicable under this chapter are those imposed or imposable under the laws of any state where the obligor was present during the period for which support is sought. The obligor is presumed to have been present in the responding state during the period for which support is sought until otherwise shown.

§ 621. Remedies of a state or political subdivision furnishing support

Whenever the State or a political subdivision thereof furnishes support to an obligee, it has the same right to invoke the provisions hereof as the obligee to whom the support was furnished for the purpose of securing reimbursement of expenditures so made and of obtaining continuing support.

§ 622. Enforcement of duties

All duties of support under this chapter are enforceable by petition irrespective of relationship between the obligor and

obligee. Jurisdiction of all proceedings hereunder shall be vested in the Family Court for New Castle County and the Juvenile Court for Kent and Sussex Counties or in a State-wide Domestic Relations Court by whatever name, if such a court should be established.

§ 623. Contents of petition for support

The petition shall be verified and shall state the name and, so far as known to the petitioner, the address and circumstances of the defendant and his dependents for whom support is sought and all other pertinent information. The petitioner may include in or attach to the petition any information which may help in locating or identifying the defendant including, but without limitation by enumeration, a photograph of the defendant, a description of any distinguishing marks of his person, other names and aliases by which he has been or is known, the name of his employer, his finger prints, or social security number.

§ 623. Petition for a minor

A petition on behalf of a minor obligee may be brought by a person or agency having legal custody of the minor without appointment as guardian ad litem.

§ 623. Duty of Court of this State as initiating state

If the Court of this State acting as an initiating state finds that the petition sets forth facts from which it may be determined that the defendant owes a duty of support and that a court of the responding state may obtain jurisdiction of the defendant or his property, it shall so certify and shall cause three copies of (1) the petition (2) its certificate and (3) this chapter to be transmitted to the court in the responding state. If the name and address of such court is unknown and the responding state has an information agency comparable to that established in the initiating state it shall cause such copies to be transmitted to the state information agency or other proper official of the responding state, with a request that it forward them to the proper court, and that the court of the responding state acknowledge their receipt to the court of the initiating state.

§ 626. Jurisdiction by arrest

When the Court of this State, acting either as an initiating or responding state, has reason to believe that the defendant may flee the jurisdiction it may (1) as an initiating state request in its certificate that the court of the responding state obtain the body of the defendant by appropriate process if that be permissible under the law of the responding state; or (2) as a responding state, obtain the body of the defendant by appropriate process.

§ 627. State information agency

The State Department of Public Welfare is hereby designated as the State information agency under this chapter and it shall be its duty:

(1) To compile a list of the courts and their addresses in this State having jurisdiction under this act and transmit the same to the state information agency of every other state which has adopted this or a substantially similar law; and

(2) To maintain a register of such lists received from other states and to transmit copies thereof as soon as possible after receipt to every court in this State having jurisdiction under this chapter.

§ 628. Duty of the Court of this State as responding state

When the Court of this State, acting as a responding State, receives from the court of an initiating state the aforesaid copies, it shall (1) docket the case, (2) set a time and-place for a hearing, and (3) take such action as is necessary in accordance with the laws of this State to obtain jurisdiction.

§ 629. Further duty of responding court

(a) If a Court of this State, acting as a responding State, is unable to obtain jurisdiction of the defendant or his property due to inaccuracies or inadequacies in the petition or otherwise, the Court shall communicate this fact to the court in the initi-

ating state, shall on its own initiative use all means at its disposal to trace the defendant or his property, and shall hold the case pending the receipt of more accurate information or an amended petition from the court in the initiating state.

(b) If a Court of this State, acting as a responding state, is unable to obtain jurisdiction of the defendant or his property because the defendant is found to be in another county of the State, the papers in the case shall be transferred to the court having jurisdiction over the defendant.

§ 630. Order of support

If the court of the responding state finds a duty of support, it may order the defendant to furnish support or reimbursement therefor and subject the property of the defendant to such order.

§ 631. Responding state to transmit copies to initiating state

The Court of this State when acting as a responding State shall cause to be transmitted to the court of the initiating state a copy of all orders of support or for reimbursement therefor.

§ 632. Additional powers of Court

In addition to the foregoing powers, the Court of this State when acting as the responding state has the power to subject the defendant to such terms and conditions as the court may deem proper to assure compliance with its orders and in particular:

(1) To require the defendant to furnish recognizance in the form of a cash deposit or bond of such character and in such amount as the court may deem proper to assure payment of any amount required to be paid by the defendant.

(2) To require the defendant to make payments at specified intervals to the court and to report personally to the court at such times as may be deemed necessary.

(3) To punish the defendant who shall violate any order of the court to the same extent as is provided by law for contempt of the court in any other suit or proceeding cognizable by the court.

§ 633. Additional duties of the Court of this State when acting as a responding state

The Court of this State when acting as a responding state shall have the following duties:

(1) Upon the receipt of a payment made by the defendant pursuant to any order of the court or otherwise, to transmit the same forthwith to the court of the initiating state, and

(2) Upon request to furnish to the court of the initiating state a certified statement of all payments made by the defendant.

§ 634. Additional duty of the Court of this State when acting as an initiating state

The Court of this State when acting as an initiating State shall have the duty to receive and disburse forthwith all payments made by the defendant or transmitted by the court of the responding state.

§ 635. Evidence of husband and wife

Laws attaching a privilege against the disclosure of communications between husband and wife are inapplicable to proceedings under this chapter. Husband and wife are competent witnesses and may be compelled to testify to any relevant matter, including marriage and parentage.

§ 636. Evidence

The rules of evidence applicable to marital proceedings generally shall be applicable to proceedings under subchapter III of this chapter.

§ 637. Application of payments

Any order of support issued by a Court of this State when acting as a responding State shall not supersede any previous order of support issued in a divorce or separate maintenance

action, but the amounts for a particular period paid pursuant to either order shall be credited against amounts, accruing or accrued, for the same period under both.

§ 638. Effect of participation in proceeding

Participation in any proceedings under this chapter shall not confer upon any court jurisdiction of any of the parties thereto in any other proceeding.

Section 2. Sections 512 and 513, Title 13, Delaware Code, are hereby repealed.

Section 3. This Act shall be effective July 1, 1955.

Approved June 8, 1955.