On October 1, 2016, there were 35 new laws in Maryland that went into effect. There are now tougher laws for underage drinking, equal pay for equal work, freedom of speech for student journalists, and Noah’s Law, which requires the use of an Ignition Interlock system when a person has been convicted of a DUI with a BAC of .08 or higher.
Some of the new laws could impact our family law clients, too. We wanted you to be aware of those changes, in case they could play any part in your current or upcoming legal affairs.
- Divorce-Corroboration of Testimony (SB359, HB274): Under the new law, a court may enter a decree of divorce on behalf of Spouse A without the corroboration of a witness. It also “repeal[s] a provision specifying that, in a suit for absolute divorce on the grounds of voluntary separation, a separation agreement is full corroboration of the plaintiff’s testimony that the separation was voluntary under specified circumstances.”
- CINA, Guardianship, Adoption, Custody, and Visitation – Disability of Parent, Guardian, Custodian, or Party (SB765): In cases where parents are either blind or disabled, their disability cannot discredit their ability to be a parent unless the effects of their disability on the child prove to not be in their best interest.
- Child Abuse and Neglect – Failure to Report (SB310, HB245): This new law compels “Anyone involved in an investigation of child abuse or neglect must report suspicions of another individual knowingly failing to report child abuse to the appropriate board, agency, institution or facility.”
- Stalking (SB278/HB155): This new law defines stalking as not just inciting fears or threats, but also causing emotional distress.
- Pretrial Release – Prior Crimes (SB603): A District Court commissioner is “Prohibit[ed]… from authorizing the pretrial release of a defendant charged with a crime of violence if the defendant has previously been convicted of a specified crime; and… from authorizing release of a defendant charged with a specified crime if the defendant has previously been convicted of a crime of violence.” This new law will almost certainly apply to people who are charged with acts of domestic violence, if they have been previously convicted of another act of violence.
These are just the highlights of a few of the new laws that went into effect this month. If you live in the Annapolis area and you are dealing with a family law dispute or other legal matter, the experienced family law team at Cynthia H. Clark & Associates, LLC is here to help you and your family move beyond conflict and get on with your lives.
At the Annapolis law firm of Cynthia H. Clark & Associates, LLC, we like to make sure that our clients are kept abreast of the changes in Maryland law that might affect them when they are involved in divorce or other family law cases. We are here to make sure that your rights are protected, and to provide sound legal advice based on the specific facts of your case. Please call us at 410.921.2422 or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation today.