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Maryland Divorce Legal Crier

News and comments about divorce, child support, child custody, alimony, equitable property distribution, father’s rights, mother’s rights, family law, laws on divorce and other legal information in Maryland.

Archive for June, 2007

Children Home Alone

Friday, June 29th, 2007

By Lois R. Finkelstein

How old does a child have to be before he or she can be left alone in Maryland? The answer is 8 years old. Section 5-801 of the Family Law Article of the Maryland Code states:

(a) In general. — A person who is charged with the care of a child under the age of 8 years may not allow the child to be locked or confined in a dwelling, building, enclosure, or motor vehicle while the person charged is absent and the dwelling, building, enclosure, or motor vehicle is out of the sight of the person charged unless the person charged provides a reliable person at least 13 years old to remain with the child to protect the child.

(b) Penalties for violation. — A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $ 500 or imprisonment not exceeding 30 days, or both.

I would still recommend that the child be mature enough to understand not to answer the door to strangers, have a safety plan, and have quick access to an adult that can be trusted such as a neighbor.

Divorce Myths

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

? 1. A divorce will solve all my problems.

2. The judge will see that I am right.

3. The judge will never believe my spouse.

4. I will get revenge for the way my spouse treated me.

5. The judge will not make any mistakes.

6. I will win my case.

7. My spouse will lose.

8. I can afford the legal fees for my divorce.

9. I will get justice from the court.

10. The meanest and most aggressive attorney wins.

11. It will be over within a reasonable time.

Why the Sopranos Ending Reminds Me of a Divorce

Wednesday, June 13th, 2007

I was one of those people who liked the way the Sopranos ended. When the screen goes black, you don’t know what is going to happen next. Will Tony survive? Will his wife stay with him even though he cheats on her? Will his son be successful in his movie career? Will his daughter become a criminal lawyer?

We want our stories to have endings. Everyone expects the divorce trial to be the end of story. But the future is an uncertain thing.

Just there were possible assassins lurking in Tony’s diner, the future may hold sickness, disability, injury, unemployment, bankruptcy, retirement and death. Parties remarry. Children get in trouble or decide they want to live with the other parent.

Sometimes divorce results in closure. Frequently it is only the beginning.

The Reasonable Man

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

“After all, as you know, I am not an unreasonable man. I need only have my own way to be satisfied.”

— George in The Evil Drink Does by Isaac Asimov

Rehabilitative or Indefinite Alimony?

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

Rehabilitative or fixed-term alimony is favored in Maryland as noted by the Court of Special Appeals in the Whittington case decided in January of this year.

There are two exceptions set forth in Section 11-601(c)(1) and (2) of the Family Law Article of the Maryland Code.

The first is exceptional circumstances due to age, illness, infirmity or disability so that the person seeking alimony cannot be self-supporting.

The other exception is “unconscionable disparity” in the lifestyles of the parties after the divorce.

Cohabitation Added as Alimony Factor

Monday, June 4th, 2007

?Alimony factors that a Maryland divorce judge must consider in determining alimony are set forth by the legislature in Section 11-106(b) of the Family Law Article of the Maryland Code.
The last one is a catch-all provision, namely other factors the court considers appropriate.

Now the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland has said that includes whether or not the spouse requesting alimony is living in a marriage type relationship. The court has effectively added cohabitation as a new alimony factor. Whittington v. Whittington, (CSA No. 06-32, January 4, 2007).

Does this case imply that cohabitation might terminate alimony even though it is not in a marital settlement agreement and it is not a terminating factor in Section 11-108 of the Code? That section does permit termination of alimony to avoid a harsh and inequitable result. If cohabitation is a factor in determining alimony, could it also be used to terminate alimony to avoid a harsh and inequitable result?

 
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