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The Child Support Administration is required by law to review the Child Support Guidelines every 4 years to ensure that application of the Child Support Guidelines results in appropriate child support awards. The Child Support Administration must report its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly. During the 2020 Legislative Session, the General Assembly passed changes to Maryland’s child support laws, some of which took effect on July 1, 2022. One year later, this post discusses the changes to Maryland’s child support laws and the impact of these developments.

Changes to the Child Support Guidelines

Effective July 1, 2022, the schedule of basic child support obligations increased for parents with a combined adjusted actual income greater than $19,200 per year. This change recognizes that the costs of raising children have increased.

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If you are considering filing for divorce in Maryland, your filing must include the grounds, or basis, for the divorce. Beginning this fall, selecting the grounds when filing for divorce will become an easier determination. During the 2023 Legislative Session, the General Assembly passed bills eliminating limited divorce in Maryland and changing the grounds available for an absolute divorce. On May 16, 2023, Governor Moore signed Senate Bill 36,which was cross-filed with House Bill 14, into law. The new version of Md. Code, Family Law § 7-103 will become effective on October 1, 2023, and will apply to all divorce cases filed on or after that date.

Current Law through September 20, 2023

Maryland law currently provides for two different types of divorce: limited divorce and absolute divorce. An absolute divorce is a permanent end to the marriage. An absolute divorce severs all legal ties between the parties and allows the parties to resume use of a former name or remarry if they choose. In contrast, a limited divorce does not end the marriage. A limited divorce allows a person who does not satisfy the grounds for absolute divorce and cannot reach an agreement with their spouse to ask the court to order temporary relief regarding child custody, child support, alimony, and use of real or personal property. Because a limited divorce is not a permanent end to the marriage, the court may revoke a limited divorce at any time if both spouses jointly request that the limited divorce be revoked. The differences between these two types of divorce and the grounds for each are explained in more detail in Common Questions about Divorce in Maryland.

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Use and possession applies to the family home and family use personal property.

What is considered the “family home”?

In Maryland, the “family home” is statutorily defined as real property in the State that was (1) used as the principal residence of the parties when they lived together, (2) is owned or leased by one or both of the parties at the time of the divorce proceeding, and (3) is being used or will be used as a principal residence by one or both of the parties and a child.

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In Maryland

Ideally, parties in a divorce proceeding work cooperatively to determine and divide their marital real property and reduce the terms to what will become a portion of a written marital settlement agreement. By proceeding in this fashion, the parties can agree on who has title to the real property owned, who will retain the title to real property, and then work to effectuate the transfer or retention of the same.  Even if one party has already formally instituted divorce proceedings in a Maryland court, it is important to remember that the possibility of reaching an agreement is always available and can often be the best vehicle for a quicker and more affordable way to a final divorce.

If an amicable resolution is not a possibility, then the parties will leave the fate of their real property to a Maryland court.  If a piece of real property is both marital and titled jointly a court can order use and possession (depending on custody of minor children), order the property to be sold or pursuant to the Maryland Annotated Code, Family Law § 8-205:

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Who are the parties in a Peace Order proceeding?

In a Peace Order proceeding, the person who filed a Petition for Peace Order is called the “Petitioner,” and the person against whom the Petition was filed is called the “Respondent.”

What acts can be grounds for a Peace Order in Maryland?

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Who are the parties in a Protective Order proceeding?

In a Protective Order proceeding, the person who filed a Petition for Protective Order is called the “Petitioner,” and the person against whom the Petition was filed is called the “Respondent.”

What are the acts of abuse that can be grounds for a Protective Order in Maryland?

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Please join our family law department chair and senior partner, Monica Scherer for a Zoom session on February 4, 2021 at 5:00 p.m.  She will discuss the basics of divorce and how to start getting prepared for what lies ahead.  Please feel free to submit general questions in advance which Monica will answer during the session.  Each session is approximately one hour.  The fee is $100.00 and can be paid through our website . Once payment and the completed intake form are received, you will receive a Zoom link for the session.

Intake and Payment Forms

Please be advised an attorney-client relationship is NOT created by participation in this informational session.

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What is a Peace Order?

By Maryland statute, a Peace Order is a court order that requires another person to stay away from you and to not contact you.  Do not confuse a Peace Order with a Protective Order. If you are related to the other person, have a sexual-type relationship with the other person, or are a victim of sexual assault, you should consider a Protective Order, not a Peace Order.  A Peace Order is for issues with a neighbor, co-worker, or stranger, etc. and is only applicable if you do not have a familial or intimate relationship with the other person.

Where do I file for a Peace Order in Maryland?

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What is a Protective Order?

By Maryland statute, a Protective Order is a court order that says one person must refrain from doing certain acts against another person. While not legally accurate, many people commonly refer to a Protective Order as a Retaining Order or Ex-Parte.

Who can obtain a Protective Order in Maryland?

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It is important to be aware that Maryland Courts and Orders recognize two parts to custody in the State of Maryland, physical custody and legal custody.

What does Physical Custody mean in Maryland?

If you have physical custody of your child, it means that you have the right and obligation to provide a home for your child at given times, and to make the day-to-day decisions required during the time your child is actually with you. In Maryland, physical custody can be primarily with one parent and your child visits the other parent or shared between the parents.

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