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Lindsay Parvis Elected As A Fellow Of The Maryland Bar Foundation

On June 15, 2017, Lindsay Parvis was elected as a Fellow of the Maryland Bar Foundation at the Bar Convention in Ocean City, Maryland.  The election is in recognition that, in her professional and public career and in her private life, she has demonstrated outstanding dedication to the welfare of her community, the administration of justice, and the traditions of the profession of law.

The Maryland Bar Foundation is a non-profit charitable corporation organized in 1965, with the objective of obtaining gifts and contributions to be used for the following purposes:

  • To foster and maintain the honor and integrity of the profession of the law;
  • To improve and to facilitate the administration of justice;
  • To promote the study of the law and research therein, the diffusion of knowledge thereof, and the continuing education of lawyer.

The Foundation has carried out these purposes by making grants to organizations that work within Maryland to accomplish the goals of the Foundation.

Fewer Firearms for Those Convicted of Domestic Violence Crimes

While not overtly a domestic violence bill, HB294 revises Public Safety Article §5-101(b-1)(2)(i) so a person, who receives a probation before judgment for second degree assault that is a “domestically related crime” (as defined in Criminal Procedure Article §6-233), is disqualified from owning a firearm.  Domestically related crimes generally are crimes against a person who would be eligible for a domestic violence protective order or who had a sexual relationship with the perpetrator within 12 months of the crime.  Under existing domestic violence law (which are civil matters), the respondent/alleged abuser must relinquish any firearms while the protective order is in place.  HB294 applies to criminal cases.  Effective October 1, 2017, persons convicted of crimes arising from domestic violence will be prevented, under certain circumstances, from owning firearms.

This bill was developed as part of the Governor’s Family Violence Council.

For more information on HB294, view the bill HERE and video of the bill hearing HERE.

Lindsay Parvis is a member of the Legislative Committee of the Family & Juvenile Law Section of the Maryland State Bar Association, seeking to improve family law for families, attorneys, and the courts.

Domestic Violence Law Gets Minor - But Needed - Update

Currently, Maryland law (Family Law Article §7-301.1) makes an Interim, Temporary, or Final Protective Order granted in a domestic violence proceeding inadmissible evidence in other family law matters, such as divorce, custody, and custody modification cases. 

Additionally, §7-103.1 prevents a court from considering compliance with a protective order as grounds for a limited or absolute divorce.  This means (in theory, though not in practice as far as my experience goes) that a person who stays away from and ceases cohabitation with a spouse pursuant to a year-long protective order could stop the court from considering this a 12-month separation or 12-month desertion. 

Effective October 1, 2017, §7-103.1 will no longer be the law.  The sponsor’s and proponents’ reasoning behind HB293 is that §7-103.1 has become obsolete and may streamline or even save victims of domestic violence from relitigating the abuse.

AAML Local Chapters' Meeting

Patrick Dragga and Kevin Hessler attended the Maryland, DC. and Virginia Chapters’ May Meeting at Lansdown Resort in Northern Virginia for comradery and continuing legal education.  The retreat, which has become an annual event gives Fellows for the Tri-state area a chance to recreate and hear specialists in various subject areas opine about current issues in Family law. 

This year’s topic was a serious matter with a humorous name:  the 10 dumbest things people do to hide money.  From hiding cash in the drop ceiling to overpaying income taxes, our speaker, noted attorney, CPA, business valuator and fraud examiner, Fellow Jeff Brend of Illinois, took us through many of the tricks used for hiding money before or during a divorce proceeding.  While some vignettes were funny, efforts to disadvantage a spouse in divorce are not.  From “paper” and “electronic” trails to Bitcoins vigilance and care in discovering the marital estate are more critical than ever.  

License Suspension For Non-Payment of Child Support Refined by 2017 Maryland General Assembly

Effective October 1, 2017, changes go into effect regarding the Office of Child Support Enforcement's right to suspend different types of licenses of payors who fall behind on child support.  Specifically, these changes apply to driver’s licenses as well as business, occupation, and professional licenses. 

On driver’s licenses: 

Drivers can lose their driver's licenses for failure to pay child support.  This can apply when someone fails to pay any child support or when someone does not pay the full amount of child support.  The new law distinguishes between noncommercial and commercial driver’s licenses; current law does not.  Currently, the law allows the office of child support enforcement to notify the Motor Vehicle Administration/MVA of drivers who fall behind on their child support by 60 days' worth of payments.  This new law will set the timing at noncommercial drivers who accumulate 60 days or more of arrears and commercial drivers who accumulate 120 days or more of back child support.

When Co-Parenting Doesn’t Work…

There has been much ado online recently about successful co-parents.  Shared family vacations, shared family photos, shared holiday celebrations…even matching t-shirts.  This is the ideal when two parents, despite their differences, co-parent organically.

In my experience, there are three categories of co-parenting styles:  1) those who do it organically; 2) those who “make it work”; and, 3) those who can’t. 

Those who co-parent organically succeed at reinventing what it means to be “family” despite separate households.  They share the same beliefs about parenting, communicate well, and do not espouse the “territoriality” or “children as possessions” behavior (my time is mine…my child, my way…only I know best) that hallmarks, to varying degrees, the other two categories.  These folks are the most likely to have no parenting agreement or custody order, or if they do, it lives in a drawer and they live life doing what’s best for their children.

Patrick Dragga Attends AAML Mid-Year Meeting

Pat Dragga attended the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers mid-year meeting in Phoenix, Arizona.  The meeting provided an opportunity for Fellows from across the nation to meet and to hear a variety of presentations.  The programs focused on practical knowledge for attorneys in and out of the courtroom.  Speakers included well-respected psychologist, Dr. Sol Rappaport, who, with Fellows Sherri Evans and David Steerman, put on a presentation regarding the neuroscience and heuristics of how people make decisions. Sean Carter, a self-described Humorist at Law, spoke about ethical guidelines, pitfalls and concerns involving social media and legal marketing. 

What’s in a Name?

Volume 4

Since my last post on this subject, in the 2017 legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly passed into law an update to existing law on restoration to a former name in a divorce.  HB793:  Family Law – Divorce – Restoration of Former Name revises Family Law Article §7-105, to allow a party to request restoration of a former name up to 18 months after the Judgment of Absolute Divorce/divorce decree is granted, without requiring the formal name change process of Maryland Rule 15-901. 

Currently, a spouse who took on the other party’s name during the marriage may be restored to any former name if the party no longer wishes to use the name, the name change is requested in the divorce, and the request is not for any illegal, fraudulent, or immoral purpose.  Under existing law, this request must be made and granted at the time of the divorce and entry of the Judgment of Absolute divorce; not after. 

HB793 extends the time to 18 months from the date of the divorce.  Under current and the new law, the request must be made by the party seeking the name change for her- or himself.  So, one spouse may not request a name change for the other.  The remaining requirements of §7-105 will still apply.

This change in the law goes into effect October 1, 2017.

Lindsay Parvis is a Partner at Dragga, Hannon, Hessler & Wills, LLP.  She represents parties in contested and uncontested divorce and other family law matters.

Inns of Court

Kevin G. Hessler is a member of the Montgomery County Maryland American Inn of Court.  The American Inns of Court actively involve more than 25,000 attorneys, legal scholars, judges (state, federal, and administrative), and law students. Membership is composed of the following categories:

Masters of the Bench — judges, experienced lawyers, and law professors

Barristers — lawyers with some experience who do not meet the minimum requirements for Masters

Associates — lawyers who do not meet the minimum requirement for Barristers

Pupils — law students.

Kevin, has reached the level of Master of the Bench. 

The American Inns of Court is an association of legal professionals from all levels and backgrounds who share a passion for professional excellence. As stated on their website, “In this collegial environment, outside the courtroom and pressure of daily practice, members discuss legal practice, principles, and methods. Academicians, specialized practitioners, and complementing generalists provide a mix of skill, theory, experience, and passion. This fluid, side-by-side approach allows seasoned judges and attorneys to help shape students and newer lawyers with practical guidance in serving the law and seeking justice.”

Click here to read more about the Vision and Mission for the Inns of Court.

2017 Maryland Family Law Legislative Update

The 2017 legislative session saw the introduction of relatively few family law bills, but with a surprising number passing (especially as compared with 2016).  Subject to veto by the Governor until May 30 (which is not anticipated), the following bills were passed into law and go into effect October 1, 2017:

Divorce:

HB793:  Family Law – Divorce – Restoration of Former Name revises Family Law Article §7-105  to allow a party to request restoration of a former name up to 18 months after the Judgment of Absolute Divorce/divorce decree is granted, without requiring the formal name change process of Maryland Rule 15-901.  Currently, a spouse who took on the other party’s name during the marriage may be restored to any former name if the party no longer wishes to use the name, the name change is requested in the divorce, and the request is not for any illegal, fraudulent, or immoral purpose.  Under existing law, this request must be made and granted at the time of the divorce and entry of the Judgment of Absolute divorce; not after.  HB793 merely extends the time to 18 months from the date of the divorce.  Under current and the new law, the request must be made by the party seeking the name change for her- or himself.  One spouse may not request a name change for the other spouse.  For more information about name changes, please see my other posts:  What’s in a Name, Volume 1 and Volume 2.

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