301.340.9090

Jackson v. Jackson, No. 62, Sept. Term, 2015

The Jackson v. Jackson case is a case of first impression in Maryland and addresses whether a trial judge has the authority to consider Social Security benefits when determining the division of marital property. In Jackson, Milton E. Jackson (hereinafter “Husband”) was a federal employee for most of his career and a participant of the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) pension program. CSRS participants do not contribute to Social Security during their period of federal employment and thus do not accrue social security benefits to receive in retirement. Gayle S. Jackson (“Wife”) participated in the Maryland State Retirement Service (“MSRS”) plan and, a system which does not foreclose the receipt of full social security benefits in addition to her pension. The parties were able to resolve all issues related to their marriage except how to divide their respective pension plans.

Resources for Effective Co-Parent Communication

Communication is key to effective co-parenting and can prove a challenge between parents during the strains of separation, divorce, contested custody litigation, and disagreements about the children.  There are many tools and resources to help.

If in therapy, a parent can work on strategies for how to navigate hostile communications, without reacting and responding in the heat of the moment.  Technology is on parents’ sides, since a parent in a custody dispute can decide when to read, to write, and to send responses to the other parent’s texts and e-mails.  In addition, Parent Coordinators are trained professionals (often therapists or attorneys) who help parents resolve parenting issues and work on communication.  Parent Coordinators can teach both parents how to reflect before reacting to communications, with the goal of improving co-parenting for the benefit of the child(ren).

“Heather Collier and Erik Arena Recently Spoke at Program on Alimony and Child Support-Related Tax Issues”

On October 20, 2016, Heather Collier, Erik Arena, and tax attorney Eric Rollinger of Stein, Sperling, Bennett, De Jong, Driscoll, PC, spoke before the Family Law Section of the Bar Association for Montgomery County, Maryland, on part 2 of their 3-part series of Programs on tax issues, entitled: “Alimony and Child Support Tax Issues--The Top 5 Things Divorce Lawyers Need to Know”.  The program was well attended by local family law attorneys and covered several tax issues related to alimony, child support, and the interplay between the two, which should be on every family law attorney’s radar when structuring or advocating for a combined domestic support arrangement in their client’s best interests.  Both Heather and Erik were pleased to share with their fellow colleagues their knowledge and insights.  

Heather Collier is a Partner at Dragga, Hannon, Hessler & Wills, LLP with eleven years' experience in family law and divorce matters.

Erik Arena is an Associate Attorney at Dragga, Hannon, Hessler & Wills, LLP with eleven years’ experience in family law and divorce matters.

What is a Subpoena?

What is a subpoena?

A subpoena is an order, issued in a pending court case, commanding a person to appear at a stated date and time, and possibly to produce documents, subject to penalty for failing to comply.  A subpoena may require appearance at the court for a trial, hearing, or other matter to be heard at the courthouse or may require appearance at a deposition to give testimony and/or provide documents. 

Huntley v. Huntley – New Opinion on Pleading and Attorney’s Fees

On September 1, 2016, the Court of Special Appeals issued its decision in Huntley v. Huntley, a divorce case in which one spouse (the wife) requested alimony, a share of the marital retirement benefits, and attorney’s fees.  The other spouse (the husband) filed an answer but did not ask the court to do anything except to grant a divorce and deny the relief requested by the wife.  At trial, the husband requested a share of wife’s retirement benefits, which the trial court denied.  The trial court also granted wife an award of attorney’s fees but denied her alimony claim.

Reading My Monthly Invoice

Linda Normoyle is our Billing Specialist at DHHW.  She has worked with Dragga, Hannon, Hessler & Wills since 2002.

Welcome to our firm.  If you are reading this, you are currently a client or considering becoming a client.  Please call me if you have any questions regarding your monthly invoice.  You can receive your monthly invoice by mail or email.  You will be given this option at the time of the Initial Consultation.

Once you are a client, you will receive regular monthly invoices dated the 11th of each month.  The charges included on each invoice covers the prior month’s fees and expenses.  For example, your May 11 invoice will include charges from April 1 – April 30.  Below is a summary of the details provided on each billing statement you will receive.  

Exclusive Continuing Jurisdiction in Interstate Custody Cases Involving Domestic Violence

On September 28, 2016, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland issued its decision in Cabrera v. Mercado, which involves the federal Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act, Maryland’s Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, domestic violence proceedings, and other procedural concerns.  It addresses the situation when a parent absconds from Maryland with a child to another jurisdiction (here, Puerto Rico), suits are filed in both jurisdictions, and which jurisdiction should decide the case.

Vincent M. Wills, Co-Chair of 21st Annual Symposium on Family Law

On Friday, November 11, 2016, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers – Maryland Chapter, will present the 21st Annual Symposium on Family Law.  The Co-Chairs of the Event are James D. Milko, Esquire and Vincent M Wills, Esquire.  Mr. Milko and Mr. Wills will welcome the attendees and introduce the speakers for the Morning Program, including, Dr. Robert Simon, Alvin Frederick, Esquire, and Gregory B. Cerbone, Esquire.  

Legislative Development: Disability & Custody Cases

In the 2016 Session, the Maryland General Assembly updated Family Law Article, §9-107; Relevance of disability in custody or visitation proceeding.  The changes go into effect October 1, 2016.

First, this updates the definition of “disability”, to comply with the ADA Amendments Act of 2008.  “Disability” is defined as:  “A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of an individual’s major life activities; a record of having a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of an individual’s major life activities; or, being regarded as having a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of an individual’s major life activities.”  This definition change applies not only to custody and visitation/parenting time cases, but also to Child in Need of Assistance/CINA, guardianship, and adoption cases.

Disclaimer

Transmission or viewing of this website is not intended to create, nor does it constitute, an attorney-client relationship between the viewer and Dragga, Hannon & Wills, LLP.

This web site has been created for general informational purposes only. You should not consider the contents of this website as legal advice or legal opinion. The material contained in this site is intended to be current, complete and up-to-date, but it is not promised or guaranteed to be so. Each case is different, and the past record of the Firm's successes, and those of its attorneys, is not a guarantee of a favorable result in any future case. We will, however, devote our full attention to your case. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this site without first seeking advice of counsel.

Individuals should not contact Dragga, Hannon & Wills, LLP electronically until a formal agreement has been reached between the party and the Firm to handle a particular matter. Do not send confidential or sensitive information. Email may not be secure, and there is a risk that your communication could be illegally intercepted. Do not send us information until you speak with one of our lawyers and get authorization to send that information to us.

This website is maintained at the offices of Dragga, Hannon & Wills, LLP in Rockville, Maryland. It is for general information purposes only, is not intended as advertising, and neither solicits business nor offers legal advice. Attorneys at Dragga, Hannon & Wills do not seek to practice law in any state, territory or foreign country where they are not authorized to do so. The attorney biography page indicates all states and districts in which our attorneys are licensed to practice. Please direct your comments and questions to our office at 301-340-9090.