301.340.9090

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.

Divorce Roundtable

The Divorce Roundtable of Montgomery County is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the divorce process for Montgomery County area families, and especially children.  Formed in 1992, it is made up of judges, masters, court staff, mediators, therapists, attorneys, agency personnel, and collaborative professionals.  The Divorce Roundtable introduced, among many other court projects, the co-parenting skills training and court-sponsored custody mediation.  The organization also testifies on proposed family law related legislation. 

Several of our attorneys are current or former members of The Divorce Roundtable, including Kevin G. Hessler, P. Lindsay Parvis, and Jeff Hannon, who is the Past-Chair of the organization having served from 2009 - 2011.   During Jeff’s two-year tenure as Chair, he organized and presented two all day symposiums: Faces of Advocacy and Parenting Together After Separation. Lindsay has been an active member since 2014. 

Click here for helpful links from the Divorce Roundtable. 

Vince Wills Named as Family Law Practitioner of the Year

Congratulations to Vince Wills on being named the Family Law Practitioner of the Year by the Family Law Section of the Bar Association of Montgomery County!  This honor is given in recognition of his contributions and commitment to continuing legal education for lawyers.  The Section is hosting a celebratory event on June 19, 2017 honoring Vince.

Vince has been a partner in the firm since 2001, after joining Dragga & Callahan in 1996.  Since 1996, his practice has concentrated primarily on family law, and particularly on complex litigation and appellate matters.

Most recently, Vince co-chaired the 21st Annual Symposium on Family Law.  He was the Moderator for the Electronically Stored Information (ESI) seminar for the Maryland Bar Association, and co-presenter with Kathleen Dumais on the topic of discussing relocation in custody disputes for the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers of Maryland, Virginia, and DC Joint Chapter Spring Retreat.

Types of Evaluations in Custody Cases Volume 2: Private Custody Evaluations

In contested custody cases, there are many types of evaluations that the court can order or parties can agree to undergo in order to assess the fitness of the parents and the living and decision-making arrangements that suit the best interests of the children.  These fall into two broad categories:

  1. Evaluations performed by the Court and courthouse staff or contractors; and,
  2. Evaluations performed by private professionals.  There are many different types of evaluations performed by private professionals.  For example, private custody evaluations, psychological testing or evaluations, drug/substance/alcohol evaluations or assessments and testing, psychosexual risk assessments and other evaluations of alleged and convicted sexual offenders, and so on.

Types of Evaluations in Custody Cases Volume 1: Court Evaluations

In contested custody cases, there are many types of evaluations that the court can order or parties can agree to undergo in order to assess the fitness of the parents and the living and decision-making arrangements that suit the best interests of the children.  These fall into two broad categories:

  1. Evaluations performed by the Court and courthouse staff or contractors; and,
  2. Evaluations performed by private professionals.  There are many different types of evaluations performed by private professionals.  For example, private custody evaluations, psychological testing or evaluations, drug/substance/alcohol evaluations or assessments and testing, psychosexual risk assessments and other evaluations of alleged and convicted sexual offenders, and so on.

Take Your Child To Work

On Thursday, April 27th, Heather Collier, Chapter President, and Lindsay Parvis, a past president, attended the 20th Annual "Take Your Child To Work" Luncheon presented by the Montgomery County Chapter of the Women's Bar Association.   HeatherCollier welcomed more than 70 middle and high school students, their teachers, as well as Judges, Magistrates, and many lawyers from the Montgomery County legal community, to the event, which took place at the AMP by Strathmore.  The theme of this year's luncheon was "Count on Me." The luncheon provides an opportunity for the professionals who attend to spend a few hours as a role model for students who might not otherwise have access to professional women/men, many of whom have also overcome obstacles to achieve their dreams.  The program was moderated by Krystal Holland, Director of Training and Professional Development for the National Center for Children and Families and dedicated to the memory of Rebecca Nitkin, a long-time WBA member and strong supporter of the event. The featured speaker, Wendy Thompson-Marquez, President and CEO of EVS Communications, shared her own personal journey on the road to success, including the challenges, failures, and lessons she learned along the way while acquiring her education, her immigration status, her career, and a group of friends, family and colleagues she could "Count on."   

HC LP Take Child Work Day small

Client FAQ's - Financial Statements

Sandra Mendez is a Senior Paralegal at DHHW.  She has worked with Dragga, Hannon, Hessler & Wills since 2012.

WHAT IS A FINANCIAL STATEMENT?

A financial statement, in sum, is a monthly overview of your expenses, income and assets and liabilities. You may have completed some version of one when you applied for a loan or a credit card. The Court’s version may look a little different and two forms are available from which to choose. One is known as the Short-Form Financial Statement, and the other one, not surprisingly, is known as the Long-Form Financial Statement. Alas, you cannot just choose the version you prefer to complete.  The circumstances of your case determine which version applies to your case.

Client FAQ's – Interrogatories

Laura Holt is a Paralegal at DHHW.  She joined Dragga, Hannon, Hessler, & Wills, LLP in 2014 and has worked with the firm as a Paralegal since 2015.

In a contested case, one portion of the case is dedicated to discovery.  Discovery is the gathering and exchange of information (for example facts, information, and documents) to understand each party’s position and develop evidence in the case.  One discovery tool often used are Interrogatories. Interrogatories are written questions to the opposing party that must be answered in writing and under oath. This means the answers must be truthful and accurate, as if the client is testifying in court.

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.