Dollar-Signs-216x300House Bill 294, which was introduced on March 23rd, proposes a new method of collecting child support arrears.  The Bill requires the Division of Child Support Enforcement to maintain a list of persons who are in arrears of their child support obligation.  In addition, it would impose an obligation on any attorney or insurer to consult this list before releasing any funds to clients or prevailing parties in a claim, lawsuit or civil arbitration for bodily injury or death under a property and casualty insurance policy, or paid as a workers’ compensation or occupational disease act award under a workers’ compensation policy.  If support is owed, the Bill requires that the total amount of support arrears to be paid before any funds (except the first $1,000) may be released to the support obligor.  The Bill is currently assigned to the Health & Human Development Committee in the House of Representatives.

 

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Spoltore_LeslieLeslie Spoltore is a Partner with the law firm Fox Rothschild LLP.  Leslie practices in Fox Rothschild’s Wilmington, Delaware office.  You can reach Leslie at (302) 622-4203, or lspoltore@foxrothschild.com.

The Division of Child Support Enforcement can now accept child support payments at TouchPay Kiosks throughout Delaware.  The Kiosks are located at Probation offices in New Castle and Seaford, as well as Division of Motor Vehicle locations in Delaware City, Greater Wilmington, Dover and Georgetown.  The Kiosks accept cash payments and credit or debt card payments.

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Leslie Spoltore is an attorney with the law firm Fox Rothschild LLP.  Leslie practices in Fox Rothschild’s Wilmington, Delaware office.  You can reach Leslie at (302) 622-4203, or lspoltore@foxrothschild.com.

Senate Bill 85, which is designed to improve the enforcement of child support orders, was recently signed into law. The Summary describes the Bill in more detail as follows:

Before 1950, a parent who wanted child support from another parent who lived in another state had to travel to that state to take legal action. In 1950, the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) drafted the Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act (URESA) to allow participating states to enforce each other’s support orders. URESA was amended in 1952 and 1958 and was amended and renamed the Revised Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act (RURESA) in 1968. Ultimately, all states adopted one or more versions of the ULC’s uniform acts on this subject.

In 1992, the ULC promulgated a new act, the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA), which Delaware adopted in 1994. The ULC revised UIFSA in 1996 and 2001, with Delaware adopting the 2001 version in 2005.

In November 2007, the United States signed the Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance (Convention). In 2008, the ULC revised its 2001 version of UIFSA to integrate the appropriate provisions of the Convention into UIFSA, to put the Convention into effect.

This Act adopts the 2008 version of UIFSA, to improve the enforcement of United States child support orders abroad and ensure children residing in the United States will receive the financial support due from parents wherever those parents may reside. This Act also complies with the 2014 Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act, signed by the President of the United States in September 2014, which requires all states enact the 2008 version of UIFSA by the end of their 2015 legislative session as a condition for continued receipt of federal funds supporting state child support programs.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) explained in an Information Memorandum dated October 9, 2014 that, “once UIFSA is in effect in your state, international cases will not be processed under Article 7 of UIFSA 2008 until the 2007 Family Maintenance Convention enters into force for the United States. Once this occurs, Article 7 of UIFSA 2008 will be in effect for all cases transmitted and received under the 2007 Family Maintenance Convention.” OCSE further noted, in an Information Memorandum dated April 13, 2015, that, “[o]nce all states have enacted UIFSA 2008, the President will sign the instrument of ratification, and deposit that instrument as required for the U.S. to become a party to the treaty.”

This Act also makes technical corrections to conform existing law to the guidelines of the Delaware Legislative Drafting Manual.

The Bill may be read in its entirety here.

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Leslie Spoltore is a Partner with the law firm Fox Rothschild LLP.  Leslie practices in Fox Rothschild’s Wilmington, Delaware office.  You can reach Leslie at (302) 622-4203, or lspoltore@foxrothschild.com

 

Governor Jack Markell recently signed Senate Bill 85 into law.  The bill amends Subchapter I, Chapter 6, Title 13 of the Delaware Code regarding interstate child support.  The synopsis to the Bill describes is purpose and effect as follows:

Before 1950, a parent who wanted child support from another parent who lived in another state had to travel to that state to take legal action. In 1950, the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) drafted the Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act (URESA) to allow participating states to enforce each other’s support orders. URESA was amended in 1952 and 1958 and was amended and renamed the Revised Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act (RURESA) in 1968. Ultimately, all states adopted one or more versions of the ULC’s uniform acts on this subject.

In 1992, the ULC promulgated a new act, the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA), which Delaware adopted in 1994. The ULC revised UIFSA in 1996 and 2001, with Delaware adopting the 2001 version in 2005.

In November 2007, the United States signed the Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance (Convention). In 2008, the ULC revised its 2001 version of UIFSA to integrate the appropriate provisions of the Convention into UIFSA, to put the Convention into effect.

This Act adopts the 2008 version of UIFSA, to improve the enforcement of United States child support orders abroad and ensure children residing in the United States will receive the financial support due from parents wherever those parents may reside. This Act also complies with the 2014 Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act, signed by the President of the United States in September 2014, which requires all states enact the 2008 version of UIFSA by the end of their 2015 legislative session as a condition for continued receipt of federal funds supporting state child support programs.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) explained in an Information Memorandum dated October 9, 2014 that, “once UIFSA is in effect in your state, international cases will not be processed under Article 7 of UIFSA 2008 until the 2007 Family Maintenance Convention enters into force for the United States. Once this occurs, Article 7 of UIFSA 2008 will be in effect for all cases transmitted and received under the 2007 Family Maintenance Convention.” OCSE further noted, in an Information Memorandum dated April 13, 2015, that, “[o]nce all states have enacted UIFSA 2008, the President will sign the instrument of ratification, and deposit that instrument as required for the U.S. to become a party to the treaty.”

The Bill may be viewed in its entirety here.

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leslie_SpoltoreLeslie Spoltore is an attorney with the law firm Fox Rothschild LLP.  Leslie practices in Fox Rothschild’s Wilmington, Delaware office.  You can reach Leslie at (302) 622-4203, or lspoltore@foxrothschild.com

 

 

 

The Family Court has updated the Delaware Child Support Formula and related Rules.  Some of the notable changes, which became effective on January 1, 2015, are:

  • Minimum income – The minimum income attributable to a parent is $1,430 per month.  This reflects 40 hours of work per week at minimum wage, or $8.25 per hour.
  • Out-of-pocket medical expenses – The prior practice, which required the parent receiving support to pay the first $350 of out-of-pocket medical expenses per year, will no longer apply.  Parents will share out-of-pocket expenses pursuant to their respective percentage share of the total net available income.
  • Income from a second job – Whether income from a second job may be included in a child support calculation will be determined on a case-by-case basis.  “Second job income is more likely to be included if it has been historically earned, raises the standard of living of the parent, or is necessary to meet the minimum needs of the child.  It is more likely to be excluded if it merely allows the parent to make ends meet, is used to pay extraordinary medical or educational expenses, is necessitated by the nonpayment of support, or substantially conflicts with visitation.  Fluctuations in income or that wage income may exceed 40 hours per week is not a basis for exclusion.  The Court must determine average monthly income likely to prospectively recur.  Previously earned second job income and overtime will not be considered if it is no longer earned, has been over 2½ years since the last determination of current support, and income from primary employment is consistent with reasonable earning capacity.
  • The fact that the Formula was updated does not constitute a change of circumstances for modification purposes.

To assist litigants, Family Court has revised the Instructions for child support.  If you have a child support proceeding on your calendar, understanding these any all the other changes will be helpful.  The revised Instructions may be found here.  The child support calculator may be found here.

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Leslie Spoltore is a Partner with the law firm Fox Rothschild LLP. Leslie practices in Fox Rothschild’s Wilmington, Delaware office. You can reach Leslie at (302) 622-4203, or lspoltore@foxrothschild.com.

Enforcing child support orders can present issues and complications even in the best of cases.  Those issues may be compounded if the obligor does not reside in the United States. As Aaron Weems, a partner in our Montgomery County office and editor of our Pennsylvania Family Law Blog, recently posted, the United States has taken another step toward ratifying the Hague Convention on International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance. As Aaron points out, if ratified, the Hague Convention can be an effective tool for ensuring that a parent cannot abandon their financial obligations to their children just by leaving the country. The post is well worth reading.

A recent post by Robert Epstein on the NJ Family Legal Blog highlights a recent New Jersey decision regarding one parent’s unsuccessful effort to avoid the obligation to pay for his child’s college education.  The post may give families in Delaware pause wondering if they face the same obligation.

For better or worse, Delaware takes a very different approach.  Under Delaware law a parent is obligated to support a child until the child has reached age 18 and is no longer in high school, or 19, whichever occurs first. See 13 Del. C. § 501(d).   As a result, a parent is not obligated to pay college tuition but may do so voluntarily.

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LeslieSpoltore is an attorney with the law firm Fox Rothschild LLP.  Leslie practices in Fox Rothschild’s Wilmington, Delaware office.  You can reach Leslie at (302) 622-4203, or lspoltore@foxrothschild.com.