2022 Family Law Legislative Developments

by | Apr 19, 2022

As lively as the 2022 Maryland General Assembly was with so many bills, few family law bills passed.

Below is an update about those bills which may be relevant to your practice or impact your family.  Bills in italics passed.  The rest did not.

May 31, 2022 is the last day for the Governor to sign or veto bills.  If not vetoed, a passed bill will become law even if not signed by the Governor.  Unless otherwise stated and if not vetoed, these bills will become law effective October 1, 2022.

(Note:  I use “passed” to identify successful legislation/bills that passed into law.  “Failed” is only to indicate bills that were unsuccessful and did not pass into law.  “Failed” does not mean never to be seen again;  in fact, it often takes many sessions for some bills to pass.)

Marriage

Passed:

HB83:  Family Law – Marriage of Minors

  • Updates Maryland law so that minors age 16 or younger cannot marry & that minors age 17 may marry with consent of all living parents/guardians/legal custodians or without consent with physician’s certificate of pregnancy/having given birth or order authorizing marriage entered.  Creates detailed process for petitioning for authorization to marry, including court-appointed counsel & in camera interview with the court.  A married minor is emancipated for purposes of filing for divorce.

HB210:  Criminal Trials – Spousal Privilege – Exception

HB369:  Marriage Records – Name Change

  • Establishes process for changing marriage records after a party’s name change and use gender-neutral designations for parties.

Failed:

None

Family Law

Passed:

None

Failed:

HB104/SB41:  Family Law – Child Custody & Visitation

HB262:  Family Law – Nonpayment of Child Support – Sentencing

HB564:  Family law – Child Custody & Visitation – Disease or Illness

HB618:  Maryland Parental Rights Act

HB639:  Family Law – Grounds for Divorce

  • Note:  HB 639 would have eliminated limited divorce as a ground & revised absolute grounds to include only:  6-month separation (to include separate lives even if living under same roof or in accordance with court order), irreconcilable differences, permanent legal incapacity, and mutual consent.

HB650:  Execution on a Judgement – Child Support Arrearage – Workers’ Compensation

HB943:  Family Law – Grandparent Visitation

HB947:  Family Law – Joint Custody

HB953:  Parent and Guardian Rights – Education, Health, and Upbringing of Children

HB1036:  Child Custody – Relocation of Child – Expedited Hearing

HB1141:  Family Law – Grandparent Visitation

HB1168/SB849:  Child Custody – Legal Decision-Making and Parenting Time

HB1195:  Family Law – Grandparent Visitation

HB1293/SB884:  Driver’s Licenses – Suspension for Child Support Arrearages – Exception

HB1319:  Family Law – Grounds for Divorce – Gender Transition

HB1407/SB336:  Family Law – Custody Evaluators – Qualifications and Training

HB1413:  Child Support Enforcement – License Applications – Taxpayer Identification Number

SB718:  Family Law – Alimony – Modification

SB889:  Family Law – Child Custody Actions – Considered Judgment of Minor Children

  • Note:  SB889 would have presumed that children ages 13+ years old have considered judgment, would have their own attorney (a Child Advocate Attorney), and would participate in their parents’ contested custody litigation the same way parents would.

Domestic Violence

Passed:

HB148/SB328:  Criminal Law – Stalking – Definition

  • Revises definition of criminal stalking to include actions in person, by electronic communication, or tracking device without knowledge or consent.

HB296/SB280:  Temporary Protective Orders – Electronic Filing & Video Conferencing Hearings

  • To allow electronic filing of petitions for protection from certain assistance & advocacy centers and hospital where petitioner hospitalized.  Requiring hospital referrals to certain assistance programs.  Allowing virtual hearing on the petition same day or next business day.

SB17:  Child Custody – Cases Involving Child Abuse or Domestic Violence – Training for Judges

  • For cases involving allegations of child abuse or domestic violence, mandatory training for judges (20 hours in the first year on the bench).  Detailing training’s subject matter.  Requiring judiciary to adopt case screening for only trained judges to hear cases involving child abuse or domestic violence.
  • Portions effective:  July 1, 2022 or July 1, 2024

HB817:  Criminal Law – Violation of a Protective Order – Merger Prohibition and Separate Sentence Authorization

  • Prohibiting merger of convictions with any other crime based on the violating act.  Allowing separate and consecutive or concurrent sentences for any crime based on the violating act.

Failed:

HB110/SB429:  Criminal Law – Stalking – Penalties

HB153/SB33:  Criminal Law – Sexual Crimes – Repeal of Spousal Defense

HB887:  Domestic Violence – Protective Orders – Status Hearings

HB1178:  Peace Orders and Protective Orders – Coercive Control

SB898:  Domestic Violence Survivor Resilience Loan Program and Guarantee Fund

Juvenile Law

(Sharing because tracked, but not my area of practice.)

Passed:

SB3:  Facilities – Disabilities, Juveniles, Behavioral Health, and Health Care – Plans

  • Requiring juvenile care & detention facilities to develop safety plans & update them every 5 years.

SB53:  Juvenile Law – Child Interrogation Protection Act

  • Requiring notice to parent, guardian or custodian if law enforcement officer takes juvenile into custody.  Allowing Court of Appeals to adopt rules on age-appropriate language to advice child taken into custody.  Limiting interrogation until child has consulted with an attorney & effort of reasonable notice of interrogation to parent/guardian/custodian.  Guidance for attorneys representing children.  Requiring recording of interrogation.  Creating rebuttable presumption re: inadmissibly of statements when officer willfully fails to comply.

HB146:  Education – Reportable Offenses, Student Discipline, and School Disruptions – Presence of an Attorney & Reporting

  • Altering definition of “reportable offense” (off school premises, not school sponsored, involving enumerated crimes).  Data reporting requirements.
  • Effective:  July 1, 2022

HB284/SB20:  Criminal Procedure – Out of Court Statements – Child Victims and Witnesses

  • Expands CP §11-304 to include:  child witnesses (under 13 & alleged witness in crime of violence) & neglect to qualifying cases.

HB459:  Juvenile Justice Reform

  • At 27 pages long, please read the bill.
  • Effective:  June 1, 2022

SB763:  Public Safety & Criminal Justice – Transparency & Accountability

  • Creates annual reporting requirements from Division of Parole & Probation, altering definition of “student data” to allow reporting.

Failed:

HB121:  Juvenile Court Jurisdiction – Peace Orders – Repeal

HB214:  Juveniles – Reportable Offenses

HB294/SB165:  Juvenile Court – Jurisdiction

HB360:  Juvenile Law – Informal Adjustment

HB754/SB769:  Minors Convicted as Adults – Sentencing – Transfer to Juvenile Court

HB823/SB668:  Juveniles – Truancy Reduction Pilot Program – Expansion

HB877:  Juveniles Charged as Adults – Confinement

HB1010:  Children – Substance Abuse Court-Ordered Evaluations and Treatment

HB1046/SB762:  Criminal Procedure – Facial Recognition Technology – Requirements, Procedures, and Prohibitions

HB1374:  Custodial Interrogation of Minors – Admissibility of Statements

SB910:  Nondiscrimination – Courts and Other Governmental Entities – Prohibitions, Policy, and Training (Access to Justice for All Youth)

Child Abuse & Neglect

(Sharing because tracked, but not my area of practice.)

Passed:

HB1248/SB820:  Child Abuse and Neglect – Investigations – Timeliness

  • Adds LCPC as category of investigators of mental injury.  Requires implementation of policies & reporting when Department or law enforcement fail to see child within times required by statute.
  • Effective for 5 years

SB203:  Children in Need of Assistance – Custody and Guardianship Review Hearings

  • Allowing review hearings, with child in person, at least every 12 months until case terminated.  At review hearing determine appropriateness & extent of compliance with case plan.  Specifying requirements certain permanency plans (another planner permanent living arrangement).

Failed:

HB338:  Child Abuse and Neglect – Definition of Neglect

HB406:  Children in Out-of-Home Placements – Placement in Medical Facilities

HB1155:  Foster Parents, Kinship Parents, Preadoptive Parents, and Caregivers – Right to Intervene

HB1169:  Child Abuse and Neglect – Training of Health Care Professionals

HB1214:  Maryland Child Protection Act of 2022

HB1325/SB772:  Child in Need of Assistance – Neglect – Marijuana Use

SB214:  Child Abuse and Neglect – Disclosure of Reports and Records

SB435:  Family Law – Preventing or Interfering with a Report of Suspected Sexual Abuse of a Child – Statute of Limitations

Other Family Related

Passed:

HB808/SB508:  Estates & Trusts – Guardianship of Minors – Appointment by Court

SB357:  Adult Protective Services – Workgroup to Study Best Practices for a Vulnerable Adult Registry in Maryland

  • Establishing workgroup as stated in title.  Identifying workgroup membership categories & information to be studied.
  • Effective:  July 1, 2022, for 2 years

Failed:

HB861:  Independent Adoption – Consent of Petitioner’s Spouse

SB8:  Task Force to Study the Need for Enhanced Monitoring of Guardians of Vulnerable Minors

Since 2002, Lindsay Parvis has represented clients in Maryland custody, divorce, and marital matters. She negotiates, litigates, and advocates for the best interests of her clients, whether in contested litigation, uncontested settlement, or premarital and other agreements. Her clients are not only spouses and parents, but also children whose interests she is appointed by the court to represent in contested custody litigation.  Lindsay strives to improve Maryland law in the General Assembly, volunteering her time to monitor, advocate, and educate about legislative developments in family law.

You can follow her for discussion, news, and developments in Maryland family law on LinkedInFacebookInstagramTwitterLindsayParvis.com, and YouTube.

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