lawlibrary Maryland Law

Maryland Legal Aid COVID Videos on YouTube

Maryland Legal Aid has added a number of videos in response to the effects of COVID on certain areas of law on YouTube. Right now you can find a video on the following topics:

More articles on COVID resources can be found on our Coronavirus/COVID19 Resources page.

lawlibrary Maryland Law

New Maryland Laws Take Effect October 1, 2018

New Maryland laws take effect on October 1, 2018! Over the summer we published  posts highlighting a few of the newly enacted laws:

Maryland 2018 Session: New Laws – Expungement

Maryland 2018 Session: New Laws -Divorce and Mutual Consent

This is just a small sampling of the new laws enacted by the 2018 Legislative Session. The Department of Legislative Services (DLS) of the General Assembly of Maryland provides a full listing. Was there a major issue from the 2018 session that was not covered in this series? The 90 Day Report – A Review of the 2018 Session, published by DLS, includes a hyperlinked list of Major Issues from 2018 such as the budget, education, public safety, taxes and voting rights.

Can’t find what you’re looking for?  DLS publishes a Popular Terms List as a reference for current legislation that is often referred to by the public and media by certain popular terms.

Do you prefer paper sources?  The Law Library’s collection includes the following resources:  the advance (paperback) Laws of Maryland, arranged in chapter number order with separate volumes for a Sponsor Index, the Final Status Report, and Committee Index; West’s Maryland Legislative Service with a list of sections affected; and  the 2018 Maryland Legislative Review Service, published by LexisNexis, which summarizes the 2018 Acts of the Maryland General Assembly Regular Session and organizes the 2018 Acts by topical headings. In addition, the Law Library’s Maryland collection includes print copies of the current Annotated Code of Maryland. The  2018 pocket parts should be coming soon.

Don’t forget – the Law Library is here if you have questions or would like additional information. Contact us!




lawlibrary Maryland Law

Maryland 2018 Session: New Laws -Divorce and Mutual Consent

This excerpt from the 90 Day Report – A Review of the 2018 Session provides a good discussion of the 2018 changes to the divorce law concerning mutual consent.

Under current law, a court may grant an absolute divorce on the ground of mutual consent if (1) the parties do not have any minor children in common; (2) the parties execute and submit to the court a written settlement agreement signed by both parties that resolves all issues relating to alimony and the distribution of property, as specified; (3) neither party files a pleading to set aside the settlement agreement prior to the divorce hearing required under the Maryland Rules; and (4) both parties appear before the court at the absolute divorce hearing.

Senate Bill 96/CH849 (passed) repeals the requirement that both parties appear before the court in order to be granted an absolute divorce on the ground of mutual consent. Senate Bill 120/CH850 (passed) repeals the restriction that limits absolute divorces on the ground of mutual consent to parties without minor children in common. Instead, it requires the written settlement agreement submitted to the court to also resolve all issues relating to the care, custody, access, and support of minor or dependent children. The parties must attach to the settlement agreement a completed child support guidelines worksheet, if applicable. The bill also establishes that as a condition to granting an absolute divorce on the ground of mutual consent, the court must be satisfied that any terms of the settlement agreement relating to minor or dependent children are in the best interests of those children.

In regards to Twelve-month Separation , Oral Amendment to Divorce Application Statutory provisions set forth a process by which a court may grant a limited divorce, which does not sever the marriage but does grant the complaining party the right to live separate and apart from the other spouse. A limited divorce also can address issues of custody, visitation, child support, alimony, and use and possession of a family home. A court may grant an absolute divorce based on numerous specified grounds, including the ground of 12-month separation when the parties have lived separate and apart without cohabitation for 12 months without interruption before the filing of the application for divorce. House Bill 1368/CH782 (passed) authorizes an oral amendment to a previously filed application for a limited or absolute divorce, that is made by a party with the consent of the other party at a hearing on the merits in open court, to qualify as “the filing of the application for divorce” in statutory provisions regarding an absolute divorce on the ground of a 12-month separation.

These changes will go into effect October 1, 2018.

For assistance and more information on family matters please see the following:

  • The Family Law Self Help Center provides self-represented litigants with legal information and forms for family law matters such as divorce, custody, visitation, child support and name changes. Located at the Law Library, the Family Law Self Help Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m. (but closes for lunch from 1:00 – 2:00).
  • Maryland Courts Self-Help Center  provides phone (410-260-1392) and live chat assistance Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. 
  • The Law Library’s wiki site includes pages dedicated to Family Law Resources, including referrals, forms and reference materials.
  • The Circuit Court of Anne Arundel County’s website includes a “Learn About” page addressing Family Law Cases.
  • The Maryland Courts’ website includes information about Family Law Issues, such as adoption, child custody, child support, divorce, marriage and name change.
  • The Maryland People’s Law Library has many articles on family law topics

For more information or help getting started with your research, contact the Law Library!

lawlibrary Self Represented

Webinars offered by the Maryland Courts Self-Help Center

As part of the Judiciary’s effort to provide more complete public access to justice, the Maryland Courts Self-Help Center is offering instructional Online Classes (Webinars) on the following topics:

  • Filing a Failure to Pay Rent Case?  (Next class will be on September 27, 2017 from 10 a.m.-10:30 a.m.)
  • Facing Eviction for Failure to Pay Rent? (Next class will be on September 27, 2017 from 10:45 a.m.-11:15 a.m.)
  • Filing for Absolute Divorce in Maryland (Next class will be on October 25, 2017 from 10 a.m.-11 a.m.)
  • Filing Your Case in the District Court of Maryland (One hour class is on demand.)

Register for classes here.

lawlibrary Self Represented

The Maryland Custody and Divorce Client Notebook

People going through a divorce without the benefit of an attorney now have access to a great tool that will help them navigate the process: “The Maryland custody and divorce client notebook.”  The notebook can be found at the Maryland People’s Law Library:  It was created by Dave Pantzer, People’s Law Web Content Coordinator, Maryland State Law Library, and Joanna Shapiro who staffs the Frederick County Courthouse Family Law Clinic.

The notebook will soon be distributed to clients of the Anne Arundel County Family Law Self-help Center thanks to a grant from the Judiciary’s Department of Family Law Administration.  This will allow those using the center to easily inform the attorney on duty where they are in their case.

The notebook is described on the webpage:

“The Maryland Custody & Divorce Client Notebook helps clients to navigate a family law case from start to finish, with the help of an attorney (or attorneys) from self-help, legal services, pro bono, or the paid private bar.  The notebook itself helps clients keep papers and evidence with them, and in one place.  Inside, the “Topic of Dispute” chart is the heart of the tool, helping clients to identify and understand the key issues and evidence that will make or break their case.  A calendar and journal help the client record facts and gather evidence even before they find a lawyer.  And the other sections help a lawyer (or the client, if no lawyer is involved) to navigate a settlement or a trial. “

In addition to the link to the actual document on the Maryland People’s Law Library page with which to create the notebook, there are links to articles that will answer the many questions that will come up along the way.  Examples include articles about custody and visitation:

C5. Decision-making Authority (Legal Custody) @

C6. Parenting Time (Physical Custody) @

C7. Access (Visitation) @

and marital property:

D10. Who gets the home? @ :

and D11. Who gets the vehicles? @

And to go with that notebook — there is always the Family Law Self Help Center located here in the Anne Arundel County Public Law Library. The Center is open on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9:00 am until 4:30 pm.  The Center closes at 1:00 pm on Tuesday and Friday.