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2018 Family Law Mid-Session Legislative Update

March 7, 2018

By: Ferrier R. Stillman and Kerianne P. Kemmerzell

After nearly a decade of effort by advocates, the Rape Survivor Family Protection Act unanimously passed both the House and Senate. The Act provides an expedited process to terminate rapists’ parental rights in situations where rape victims become pregnant as a result of the rape.  The bill was signed into law by Governor Hogan.

There are two other notable family law bills that are being discussed by the Maryland General Assembly.

Mutual Consent Divorce—In 2015, the legislature passed a bill that allows couples without minor children in common to skip the one -year separation period and file for divorce on the grounds of mutual consent after they settled all issues arising out of their divorce. The 2018 session will consider expanding the grounds of mutual consent divorce to all couples, even if they have minor children in common. Earlier this month, this bill passed the Senate and is waiting on a House vote.

Divorce on the Grounds of Adultery—The 2018 session is likely to consider two separate bills, both related to adultery. One bill would decriminalize adultery so it is no longer a misdemeanor offense. The other bill would eliminate adultery as a ground for divorce.

If you have any questions about this article or other family law issues, please contact Ferrier R. Stillman or Kerianne P. Kemmerzell of the Tydings’ family law department. The firm has offices in downtown Baltimore and in Towson.

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