Divorce in the DMV

The Washington DC metro area is a curious creature. Generally, it includes Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, but it’s not unheard of for people to commute here from their homes in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Delaware (as Joe Biden did during his time in Washington). While these are all separate jurisdictions, Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia (“the DMV”) do share a similar culture.    The area is notorious for its high cost of living, including high real estate costs. Opportunities in government, lobbying, education and technology brings in some of the smartest and highly educated people in the country. As a result, there are “transplants” here from all over the U.S. and countries from around the world.

What does this mean for family law in the Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia? It can be trickier to determine the proper venue, particularly when there are child custody or child support issues. Military members may not actually be domiciled in the area, their duty station does not necessarily determine their legal domicile. Additionally, families moving into and out of the DC metro region have additional challenges in having out of state orders enforced, or may find they have to return to the old jurisdiction to change a custody or visitation schedule in some circumstances. Employees with security clearances need to be especially careful in divorce situations, as failures to pay debts can negatively affect their clearances. These are just a few examples to show that DC metro families need experienced counsel to help navigate their family law issues.

For more information on family law, please contact Heather L. Sunderman at (301) 664-7710 or hlsunderman@mirskylawgroup.com.

 Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to solicit business or to provide legal advice. Laws differ by state and jurisdiction. The information on this blog may not apply to every reader. You should not take any legal action based upon the information contained on this blog without first seeking professional counsel. Your use of the blog does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Mirsky Law Group, LLC.

What Will 2017 Bring to Family Law?

As with other areas of the law, family law is regularly changing to keep up with new developments in families’ needs. The trend in the last few years in family law is to streamline and simplify the grounds for divorce.

When I first began practicing law in Maryland, there was a two year waiting period of continuous separation before filing a divorce if you and your spouse didn’t agree to separate. On top of that, it is not unusual for the divorce to take a year to be final if the parties didn’t agree on the financial issues of the divorce. In the last few years, that waiting period was reduced to one year, and there has even been a new mutual consent ground for divorce which does not require separation. (Other conditions apply, of course!)

New this year is the removal of the requirement for corroboration of the grounds for divorce. In the past, even amicable divorcing couples had to be sure to bring someone to court with them who also had knowledge of the grounds for divorce, whether it was separation, adultery, etc. It required another adult to make themselves available, take time off work and to publicly state details of the couples’ private life.

What will 2017 bring? Possibly an expansion of the mutual consent divorce availability, stay tuned for updates from Maryland’s General Assembly.   – Heather L. Sunderman

For more information on Family Law, please contact Heather L. Sunderman at (301) 664-7710 or hlsunderman@mirskylawgroup.com.

Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to solicit business or to provide legal advice. Laws differ by state and jurisdiction. The information on this blog may not apply to every reader. You should not take any legal action based upon the information contained on this blog without first seeking professional counsel. Your use of the blog does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Mirsky Law Group, LLC.

 

What is Therapeutic Visitation?

You may have heard reports about the Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie divorce and custody case. News sources have reported about domestic violence allegations against Brad Pitt. And it appears that the parties’ negotiated agreement includes therapeutic visitation for Pitt. Therapeutic visitation can be ordered when there is estrangement or alienation between the child and a parent. There are many different reasons why this can happen: parental interference, abuse or other mental health issues which cause the child to refuse visitation. The child may be justified in his mistrust, or may have had an unreasonable reaction to a parent. Regardless of parental fault, the courts must deal with the situation as it is, and attempts to repair the broken relationship must be made. Visitation sessions may then take place with a mental health professional. These are very difficult situations and typically would require counsel for both parents and navigating the reunification process. The cost can also be substantial as the court may be scheduling intermittent hearings during this process as well as the cost of having an expert mental health professional working with the family. The court may also order psychological examinations of the parents and/or child in these cases.

-Heather L. Sunderman, Esq.

Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to solicit business or to provide legal advice. Laws differ by state and jurisdiction. The information on this blog may not apply to every reader. You should not take any legal action based upon the information contained on this blog without first seeking professional counsel. Your use of the blog does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Mirsky Law Group, LLC.

Re-Visiting The Visitation Schedule

By now, just about everyone is Maryland has heard about (and has opinions about) moving the start of the school year to after Labor Day. If you are a separated parent, this change can wreak havoc on your access schedule. If the schedule change results in shorter or fewer school holidays, it would particularly impact parents who live out of state. This is because it is common for parents who live out of state to sometimes have more of those times with the children due to the difficulties of travel. In other words, if your kids live in Bethesda and you live in Bismarck, you probably can’t take advantage of the typical school night dinner visit, but you may have more of the three-day weekends or more time in the summer. Family law attorneys are typically intimately familiar with the school calendar, and we tend to make assumptions about what the future years’ calendars will look like.

What if your visitation schedule doesn’t work anymore? First, check your agreement and/or order. You may be required to attempt to mediate a potential conflict before returning to court. It’s also a good idea to be flexible and attempt to work out an amicable arrangement with the other parent.

-Heather L. Sunderman ©

Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to solicit business or to provide legal advice. Laws differ by state and jurisdiction. The information on this blog may not apply to every reader. You should not take any legal action based upon the information contained on this blog without first seeking professional counsel. Your use of the blog does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Mirsky Law Group, LLC.