Family Law Legislative Update 2015 - 04-14

Here’s the latest on legislation related to family law (as of 6:43 PM on 4/14/15).  A lot has happened:

Child support

Child support – adjusted actual income – multifamily adjustment (HB 163).  Provides an adjustment for child support payors who have children living in their homes.  Passed the House, awaiting action by the Senate.

Divorce

Family law – grounds for limited divorce (HB 165).  Changes grounds for limited divorce FL 7-102(a)(4) to remove the word “voluntary.”  Passed the House and the Senate, returned passed.

FL – application for divorce – residency requirement (HB 1185).  Changes the residency requirement from 1 year to 6 months.  Passed House and Senate, returned passed.

FL – grounds for divorce – mutual consent (SB 472).  Adds to FL 7-103(a) an 8th ground for absolute divorce – mutual consent, if the parties have no children, have a written separation agreement that resolves alimony and property, and if both parties show up for the uncontested hearing.  Passed Senate, passed House with amendments, Senate concurred, passed enrolled.

DV

DV – 2-year protective order (HB 224/SB 315).  Authorizes a judge to extend a protective order for a 2nd year if the respondent consents.  Passed House and Senate, returned passed.

DV – additional relief (HB 225/SB 269).  Authorizes a judge to award “any other relief necessary” in a final protective order.  Passed House, passed Senate with amendments, House accepted amendments, passed enrolled.

FL – DV – definition of abuse (HB 227). Would have added harassment, trespass, or malicious destruction of property, as defined by the criminal code, to the acts that are defined as abuse.  Unfavorable report in House.

DV – Permanent protective orders – conspiracy or solicitation to murder (HB 263).  Passed house, favorable report in Senate.

Protective order and peace order petitions – Maryland residents (HB 390/SB 270).  Provides that a petitioner has grounds for peace or protective order if the act occurred in MD or if the petitioner is a resident of MD, also adds a lot of language about full faith and credit afforded to POs granted by other states.  Passed House, passed Senate with amendments, House concurred with Senate amendments, passed enrolled.

DV – persons eligible for relief (HB 606/SB 477).  Adds as person eligible for relief a person who has had a sexual relationship with the respondent within 1 year prior to the filing of the petition.  Passed Senate, passed House with amendments, Senate concurred, passed enrolled.

FL – protective orders – additional relief (HB 807/SB 277).  In a final protective order, authorizes a judge to order the respondent to stay “a specified distance” from residence, job, or school.  Passed House, no action in Senate.

Custody and Visitation

Child custody and visitation – deployed parents (HB 350). Protects deployed parents from any negative inference in custody case, allows them to testify by electronic means, allows the court to order custody or visitation to a 3rd party on behalf of a deployed parent.  No action.

FL – grandparent visitation (HB 474).  Unfavorable report in House.

Rape survivor family protection act (HB 503/SB 78). No action.

FL – de facto parent (HB 577/SB 402).  Unfavorable reports in House and Senate.

FL – rebuttable presumption of joint custody (HB 888/SB 650).  No action.

Child custody – legal decision making and parenting time (HB 1083/SB 550). No action.

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