Legislative Amendments to Child Support Law

Governor Jack Markell recently signed into law two bills that impact child support in the State of Delaware.  Below is an explanation of the changes and how they may impact your right to receive child support or obligation to pay child support.

House Bill 131 was signed into law by Governor Markell on July 29, 2016.

The purpose of HB 131 is to strengthen and update the civil enforcement section of the Delaware Code relating to child support and medical support (13 Del. C. § 513). In most situations there is a court-ordered withholding order, which is also known as a wage attachment.  

For those situations where there is no order, this section allows a person who is owed child support to obtain a withholding order upon sending notice to the Family Court that the child support payments are more than one month late. If the existing order does not include payment on arrears or if the ordered payment on arrears is less than 20% of current support, then the income attachment shall be issued in the amount of current support plus an amount payable toward arrears of up to 20% of the current support order or $20 per month, whichever is greater.

If the existing medical support order does not include an attachment for payment of health insurance coverage for the child, payment for his or her share (if any) for premiums of health insurance coverage shall be added to the attachment.   

House Bill 174 was signed into law by Governor Markell on July 29, 2016.

The purpose of HB 174 is to ease the requirements for a party seeking to modify a child support order (increase or decrease) (13 Del. C. § 513). The Bill provides for two significant changes.

First, it allows the Division of Child Support Enforcement ("DCSE") to be a party to a petition for modification of child support. This is significant because the DCSE is now subject to the same conditions as the parents in the action. 

The second change is made to the requirements for giving notice to the opposing party. The Bill only requires notice by regular mail (versus certified or registered mail) to the opposing party's last known address. Said notice is effective on the date of delivery, or first attempted delivery, or three days after posting (if by regular mail), whichever first occurs. This is significant because any upward or downward modification of child support can be made retroactive to three days after posting by regular mail. Plus this should alleviate issues regarding obtaining proper service on the opposing party.