Can A Married Minor File For Divorce?

The short answer is no. However, it is important to understand the history, case law, and legal definitions that are at the root of this answer.

In Maryland, the age of majority is eighteen years old. History shows that there is no magical mathematical equation that supports why this number is the age of majority. In the fifteenth century, the majority age of twenty-one was settled in England as the time one could serve in the Army or perform certain civic duties.¹  However, an ideological shift occurred in the 1960s and 1970s to lower the age of majority to eighteen. This move arose out of public debate over the voting age at a time when eighteen-year-olds were being drafted into service in the Vietnam War.²  Shortly after, the Twenty-Sixth Amendment was passed, which lowered the voting age to eighteen.

Congratulations to P. Lindsay Parvis and Amanda Smith for Acceptance into Inns of Court

Dragga, Hannon & Wills would like to congratulate Lindsay Parvis, who has been accepted into the Montgomery County Inns of Court as a Master of the Bench, and Amanda Smith, who has been accepted as an Associate.

Masters of the Bench are judges, lawyers and law teachers who have demonstrated superior character, ability and competence as trial or appellate advocates.

Associates are recent law school graduates or attorneys licensed to practice law in Maryland for not more than five years.

The American Inns of Court is an association of lawyers, judges, and other legal professionals from all levels and backgrounds who share a passion for professional excellence. Through regular meetings, members are able to build and strengthen professional relationships; discuss fundamental concerns about professionalism and pressing legal issues of the day; share experiences and advice; exhort the utmost passion and dedication for the law; provide mentoring opportunities; and advance the highest levels of integrity, ethics, and civility.

Patrick W. Dragga, Heather Collier, Christina P. DeVault & Amanda C. Smith are proud members of the Women’s Bar Association of Montgomery County

Patrick W. Dragga, Heather CollierChristina P. DeVault & Amanda C. Smith are proud members of the Women’s Bar Association of Montgomery County. 

As excerpted from the WBA website:

The Women’s Bar Association of Maryland (“WBA”) is an organization of women and men committed to the full and equal participation of women in the legal profession and in a just society. The WBA believes that a strong community of women in the legal profession is essential to the administration of justice.

What is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order?

A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO, pronounced “qua-dro”) is an order entered by a court to direct the division of the marital property portion of a retirement interest in a divorce.  A QDRO may also be used to collect payment of child support and/or alimony.  This article focuses on division of retirement in divorce.

Retirement plans, profit sharing, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), pensions, 401Ks, deferred compensation plans, and Keogh plans are just several examples of an exhaustive list of retirement assets that the court may consider marital property subject to division. If the plan is defined as a “tax qualified” plan by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), then the transfer of retirement assets is done through a QDRO.

A QDRO allows the spouse who is not a retirement plan participant to be recognized as an “alternate payee” and to collect all or part of the retirement benefits which belong to the plan participant. The alternate payee may be allowed to receive current or future benefits depending on the plan and/or agreement reached by the spouses.

Alimony Guidelines – What Are They and Are They Useful?

Alimony (or “spousal support”) is a periodic maintenance payment that a spouse or former spouse pays to the other after the spouses separate or divorce. Generally, the purpose of alimony is to create economic fairness between spouses during the separation and after the marriage ends. Alimony awards in Maryland are governed by Md. Code Ann., Fam. Law Title 11.

There are three types of alimony:

  1. Alimony pendente lite –for a limited time period, while the divorce case is pending and until the divorce is finalized
  2. Term Alimony –  time limited alimony, after the divorce, to enable a dependent spouse the time to financially support themselves.
  3. Indefinite Alimony – alimony for an indefinite amount of time, when the dependent spouse cannot become self-supporting and/or the parties’ standards of living after the divorce will be unconscionably disparate (extremely different).

Therefore, any alimony claim has three components: 1) whether alimony should be paid; 2) the amount of any alimony payment; and, 3) the duration of any alimony payments.

Amanda C. Smith Becomes Associated with DHHW

The Law firm of Dragga, Hannon, Hessler & Wills, L.L.P. takes pleasure in announcing that on January 10, 2017, Amanda C. Smith has become associated with the firm.  

Amanda’s practice has been focused on family and other civil litigation cases from the time she was admitted to the bar. Prior to joining Dragga, Hannon, Hessler, & Wills, she worked as an associate attorney with another Montgomery County law firm where she developed her passion for family law cases and her appreciation for the opportunity to guide clients through one of the most difficult and emotionally challenging times in their lives. Her background in the field of Psychology has earned her a unique insight that serves her clients well. She strives to educate and empower families at every step of the legal process to ensure that their diverse needs are met and their desired goals are achieved.  


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