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Posts Tagged ‘family_law’

The Maryland Custody and Divorce Client Notebook

Posted by Joan Bellistri on April 3, 2017

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: https://www.peoples-law.org/workbook  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) @ https://www.peoples-law.org/child-custody-maryland

C6. Parenting Time (Physical Custody) @ https://www.peoples-law.org/child-custody-maryland

C7. Access (Visitation) @ https://www.peoples-law.org/visitationsupervised-visitation)

and marital property:

D10. Who gets the home? @ : https://www.peoples-law.org/property-disposition-divorce

and D11. Who gets the vehicles? @ https://www.peoples-law.org/property-disposition-divorce

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.

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New Maryland Laws in Effect Today, October 1, 2016

Posted by Joan Bellistri on October 1, 2016

The 2016 supplement to the Maryland Code has arrived in the law library reflecting the more than 300 laws that will go into effect today. “Noah’s Law”  or the Drunk Driving Reduction Act of 2016 is mentioned in most news stories on the new laws. “Noah’s Law”(SB945/CH512) requires “the Motor Vehicle Administration to require a person who is convicted of specified offenses relating to driving under the influence of alcohol to participate in the Ignition Interlock System Program for specified periods of time….” Now the first offense rather than the second will require use of the device.

The Justice Reinvestment Act (SB1005/CH515) creates the Justice Reinvestment Oversight Board and makes changes that relate to sentencing, criminal penalties, and inmate rehabilitation. One of the many changes pertains to expungement. New code section 10-110 of the Criminal Procedure Article will allow for the expungement of certain misdemeanors after 10 years. However, this and most of the provisions will not take effect until next October 1, 2017.

SB771/CH579 puts restrictions on certain consumer debt collection actions including  “that certain actions may not revive or extend a certain statute of limitation and  prohibiting a debt buyer or a certain collector from initiating a certain consumer debt collection action unless the debt buyer or the collector possesses certain documents.”

The provision that there be corroborating witness in a divorce action as states in section 7-101 of the Family Law Article was removed per SB359/CH379 and HB274/CH380.  The disability of a parent in a child custody action was addressed by SB765/CH423. It states that “in any custody or visitation proceeding, the disability of a party is relevant only to the extent that the court finds, based on evidence in the record, that the disability affects the best interest of the child; requiring in a specified custody or visitation proceeding, the party alleging that the disability of the other party affects the best interest of the child to bear a specified burden of proof…”

For a detailed summary of the laws passed by the 2016 session see the 90 Day Report:  A Review of the 2016 Session prepared by the Department of Legislative Services or check out the article in the Baltimore Sun today, “New Maryland laws go into effect today.”

 

 

 

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Family Law Self Help Center Expansion in the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court

Posted by Joan Bellistri on July 12, 2016

The Ribbon Cutting for the Anne Arundel County Family Law Self Help Center (FLSHC) was held on Friday, June 24, 2016.  The area dedicated to the Family Law Self Help Center which is located in the Anne Arundel County Public Law Library has just about doubled.  The result is increased privacy and access for those using the services of the center. The expansion was made  possible by a grant from the Access to Justice Department of the Maryland Judiciary. Family Law Division funds were used as well to supplement the grant.

Family Law Self Help Center moved to the law library 5 years ago on April 25, 2011.  Since that time the law library and FLSHC have worked together to serve the needs representing themselves in family law issues such as divorce, child custody, visitation and name changes.  The law library provides a self-help computer room and collection of materials written for the non-attorney. Librarians are able to guide Center users to appropriate resources when referred by FLSHC staff.

Law Library Intern, Chi Song, was responsible for the grant application and management; research and ordering of the workstations and computer equipment;  and the planning and reorganization of the law library, including the moving of thousands of books.

View the slideshow to see the before and after.  

The event was covered by the Capital. Please see the 6/27 online article, “Self-help family law center expands, thanks to grants” written by Lauren Loricchio for more information, pictures and a video. (It was also published  in the  print Capital  on June 28, 2016 but titled “Fulfilling a growing need.”)

 

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