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.

WBA’s Annual Scholarship Dinner at Normandie Farms

Heather Collier, President of the Montgomery County Women’s Bar Association, will welcome guests and kick-off the WBA’s Annual Scholarship Dinner at Normandie Farms in Potomac, Maryland on Monday, September 26, 2016.   Following the success of the WBA’s 2016 Triennial Auction, the Association donated $30,000.00 to the Women’s Bar Foundation in support of the Foundation’s academic scholarship program.  The Foundation awards scholarships to men and women pursuing their undergraduate and law school degrees, many of whom have overcome significant obstacles in life to pursue an education and be successful.  


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