CHAPTER 643

HOUSE BILL NO. 622

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 6, TITLE 13, OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO UNIFORM RECIPROCAL ENFORCEMENT OF SUPPORT.

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

Section 1. Amend §602, Chapter 6, Title 13, of the Delaware Code by replacing the period (.) with a comma (,) after the word "otherwise" in subsection (2) and adding the following words:

"and includes the duty of paying arrearages of support past due and unpaid."

Section 2. Amend §602, Chapter 6, Title 13, of the Delaware Code, by replacing the period (.) with a comma (,) after the word "enacted" and adding the following words:

"including any province or territory of the Dominion of Canada or any foreign country."

Section 3. Amend §602, Chapter 6, Title 13, of the Delaware Code by adding thereto a new subsection (9) to read as follows:

"(9) Support order means any judgment, decree, or order of support in favor of an obligee, whether temporary or final, or subject to modification, revocation, or remission, regardless of the kind of action or proceeding in which it is entered."

Section 4. Amend §630, Chapter 6, Title 13, of the Delaware Code by adding after the period (.) following the word "order" the following:

"If the obligee is not present at the hearing and the obligor denies owing the duty of support alleged in the petition or offers evidence constituting a defense, the Court, upon request of either party, or the Court itself, shall continue the hearing to permit evidence relative to the duty to be adduced by either party by deposition or by appearing in person before the Court. The Court may designate the judge of the initiating Court as a person before whom a deposition may be taken. If the obligor asserts as a defense that he is not the father of the child for whom support is sought and it appears to the Court that the defense is not frivolus, and if both of the parties are present at the hearing or the proof required in the case indicates that the presence of either or both of the parties is not necessary, the Court may adjudicate the paternity issue. Otherwise the Court may adjourn the hearing until the paternity issue has been adjudicated."

Section 5. Amend Chapter 6, Title 13, Delaware Code, by adding the following new section to be known as §639:

"639. Foreign Support Orders.

An obligee may register a foreign support order in a Court of this State in the manner, with the effect, and for the purposes herein provided. The Chief Judge of the Family Court shall maintain a Registry of Foreign Support Orders in which he shall file foreign support orders:

(1) Registration Procedure:

(a) An obligee seeking to register a foreign support order in a Court of this State shall transmit to the Chief Judge of the Family Court the following:

(2) One copy of the reciprocal enforcement of support act of the state in which the order was made, and

(3) A statement verified and signed by the obligee, showing the post office address of the obligee, the last known place of residence and address of obligor, the amount of support remaining unpaid, and a list of states in which the order is registered. Upon receipt of these documents the Chief Judge of the Family Court, without payment of a recording fee or other costs to the obligee, shall record therein the Registry of Foreign Support Orders. The recording constitutes registration under this act.

(b) Within ten days (10) after the registration the Clerk of the Court shall send by certified or registered mail to the obligor at the address given at registration with a copy of the registered support order and the post office address of the obligee. The Clerk of the Court shall docket the case. The Court shall proceed diligently to enforce the order.

(2) Effect of Registration; Enforcement Procedure;

(a) Upon registration, the registered Foreign Support Order shall be treated in the same manner as a support order issued by a Court of this state. It shall have the same effect and is subject to the same procedures, defenses, and proceedings for reopening, vacating, or staying as a support order of this state and may be enforced and satisfied in like manner.

(b) The obligor shall have twenty days (20) after the mailing of notice of the registration in which to peition the Court to vacate the registration or for other relief. If he does not so petition, the registered support order is confirmed.

order, the obligor may present only matters that would be available to him as defenses in an action to enforce a foreign money judgment. If he shows to the Court that an appeal from the order is pending or will be taken or that a stay of execution has been granted, the Court shall stay enforcement of the order until the appeal is concluded, the time for appeal has expired, or the order is vacated, upon satisfactory proof that the obligor has furnished security for payment of the support ordered as required by the rendering state. If he shows to the Court any ground upon which enforcement of a support order of this State may be stayed, the Court shall stay enforcement of the order for an appropriate period if the obligor furnishes the same security for payment of the support ordered that is required for a support order of this State."

Approved July 27, 1976