HOUSE BILL NO. 744
AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 5, TITLE 13 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO ALIMONY,SUPPORT AND CERTAIN AGREEMENTS, ATTORNEYS' FEES, JURISDICTION, PROPERTY DIVISION, AND ENFORCEMENT OF COURT ORDERS, FINANCIAL REPORTING AND RELATED MATTERS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:
Section 1. Amend Subsection (a), §507, Chapter 5, Title 13 of the Delaware Code, by deleting the second sentence thereof in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:
The Court shall have exclusive jurisdiction over the construction, reformation, enforcement and rescission of agreements made between future spouses, spouses, and former spouses concerning the payment of support or alimony, the payment of child support, the division and distribution of marital property and marital debts and any other matters incident to a marriage, separation or divorce. The Court shall have jurisdiction to resolve any issues resulting from the construction, reformation, enforcement or rescission of an agreement. In this regard, the Court shall apply the statutory factors set forth in 13 Del. C., Chapters 5, 6 and 15."
Section 2. Amend §512(a), Chapter 5, Title 13 of the Delaware Code by adding the following sentence to the end thereof:
The Court may also enter an interim or emergency order for support in accordance with its rules and procedures."
Section 3. Amend Subsection (a), §513, Chapter 5, Title 13 of the Delaware Code by striking subparagraph (5) in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:
"(5) Order one party to pay all or part of the cost to the other party of maintaining or defending any proceeding under this Chapter and for attorneys' fees, including sums for legal services rendered and costs incurred prior to the commencement of the proceeding or after the entry of judgment, after considering the legal and factual basis for the action, the results obtained, the financial resources of both parties, and such other factors as the Court deems just and equitable. The Court may order that the amount be paid directly to the attorney, who may enforce the order in his or her name."
Section 4. Amend Subsection (b), §513, Chapter 5, Title 13 of the Delaware Code by adding thereto a new subparagraph "(13)" to read as follows:
"(13) Any attachment or execution to enforce an order entered under this Chapter or an order for alimony, division of property or other financial relief under Chapters 6, 7, 13 or 15 shall not be subject to the exemptions or limitations set forth in §§3502 or 4913 of Title 10.
Section 5. Amend Subsection (c), §513, Chapter 5, Title 13 of the Delaware Code by renumbering the existing subsections (c)(1),(2) and (3) as (c)(2),(3) and (4), respectively, and by adding a new subsection (c)(1), as follows:
"(c)(1) Following the entry of any order of support under this Chapter, the parties must notify each other in writing of every change in circumstances which might materially affect the existing support order; and, in addition, each party shall exchange completed Financial Report forms every twelve months to determine how the needs of those receiving support are being met with the support paid, and whether any modification should be made to the existing support order based upon the factors set forth in §514."
Section 6. Amend Chapter 5 , Title 13 of the Delaware Code by adding thereto a new §518 to read as follows:
A person who receives funds from another person for the support of a child in his or her care is a fiduciary with respect to such funds and may be ordered by the Court to account for the expenditure and management of such funds on application by any payer of such funds for good cause shown. Any application filed for such an accounting shall state with particularity the reasons why it is being sought and the basis for believing that such an accounting is necessary. The Court may dismiss any application for an accounting if the application does not show good cause why such an accounting should be ordered, and the Court shall order that all costs and reasonable counsel fees incurred by the fiduciary in his or her defense be paid by the unsuccessful applicant. If an accounting is granted by the Court, it may equitably apportion the costs, including reasonable counsel fees, of the action among the parties to the proceeding after taking into account the legal and factual basis for the action, the results obtained, the financial resources of the parties, and such other factors as the Court deems just and equitable."
Section 7. Amend §516(e), Chapter 5, Title 13 of the Delaware Code by adding after the word "bond" in the first sentence thereof the phrase or other adequate collateral security, with or without sureties, to secure payment of the obligation"; deleting from the first sentence the phrase with sureties approved by the Court"; and by adding the phrase "or other collateral security" after the word 'bond" in the second sentence thereof and in subsections (1), (2) and (3).
Section 8. This Act shall become effective 30 days after the day on which it is enacted into law. Actions commenced prior to the effective date of this Act shall be governed by the provisions of the Delaware Code operative prior to such effective date and those provisions shall remain in effect as to those actions as if this Act were not in effect.
Section 9. If any provision of this Act or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid, the invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the Act which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this Act are severable.
Approved October 5, 1990.