The partners, associates, and staff at Dragga, Hannon & Wills, LLP, wish to congratulate Patrick W. Dragga and Erik P. Arena for their recent recognition in the July/August 2017 Bethesda Magazine article entitled “Untying the Knot – The Bethesda Area’s Top Divorce Attorneys”. Patrick was recognized as one of Bethesda and Rockville’s top divorce lawyers, who “remains one of the most popular and effective divorce lawyers in Rockville”. Erik was recognized as one of the 10 “Rising Stars” under age 40 in the field of family law, and described as “fearless in the courtroom and a formidable advocate”. It is our sincere pleasure to congratulate Pat and Erik on their well-deserved recognition as some of the area’s finest family law advocates.
The Maryland State Bar Association’s February Bar Bulletin featured an article by Vince Wills titled,
“Hot Tips in Family Law”. Vince’s article appears below and can also be viewed on the MSBA’s website (http://www.msba.org/Bar_Bulletin/2016/01_-_January/Hot_Tips_in_Family_Law.aspx):
Hot off the press, here are some 'hot tips' in light of recent Rule changes and caselaw:
1. Effective January 1, 2016, section (b)(b)(A)(iv) is added to Maryland Rule 5-803 pertaining to hearsay exceptions where the unavailability of the declarant is not required. The change adds a new exception under paragraph (b) (8) - Public Records and Reports. The change permits the court, at a final protective order hearing, to accept the factual findings reported to a court pursuant to Family Law 4-505 (report of local department pertaining to abuse of a child or vulnerable adult), provided that the parties have had a fair opportunity to review the report. The committee note states that the court may be required to continue the final protective order hearing to provide the parties a fair opportunity to review the report
and to prepare for the hearing.
2. Effective January 1, 2016, Maryland Rule 9-205.3 goes into effect. This Rule pertains to the appointment or approval of a person to perform an assessment in a case that involves child custody or visitation.
Assessment includes a custody evaluation, home study, mental health evaluation, and a specific issue evaluation. The Rule sets requirements for custody evaluators, establishes mandatory elements that a custody evaluation must have, and contains requirements for the court order appointing or approving a person to perform a custody evaluation. The Rule further requires the custody evaluator to prepare a report, which may be oral, made on the record at a pretrial or settlement conference, or written. The Rule further sets parameters for copying and/or dissemination of the report. The Rule provides that the
court may receive access to a report only if the report has been admitted into evidence. (There are exceptions for access to the report upon stipulation of the parties or to a settlement judge or magistrate.) Finally, there are provisions pertaining to discovery, subpoena, and admission of the report without the presence of the assessor. The Rule also dictates that the Court is required to establish a maximum fee schedule for custody evaluations.
P. Lindsay Parvis, a partner in the firm, along with Heather Sweren, a partner at Brodsky Renehan Pearlstein & Bouquet, Chartered, recently authored an article titled “Developments in Family Law in 2015” published in the Winter 2015 publication of the Maryland Association for Justice’s Trial Reporter. Highlights of the article include a discussion of family law legislation and rules of civil procedure that went into effect in 2015, new rules going into effect in 2016, and appellate and attorney general opinions issued in 2015.
To read the full article, please click the following link:
Trial Reporter Article