A Spouse’s Guide to Cruelty and Vicious Conduct
Maryland divorce law is quite restrictive, although a recent change in the rules relaxed the requirements for couples who do not share children and reach agreements on other matters. In nearly all other cases, spouses must live apart for 12 continuous months before they can be granted an absolute divorce, rather than a legal separation. An exception to this rule applies when a spouse has fault-based grounds for absolute divorce, such as cruelty and excessively vicious conduct. A family law attorney near Owings Mills can discuss your case with you and determine if a fault-based divorce is right for you.
For a court to grant a divorce on the basis of cruelty, your spouse’s actions must be egregious to the extent that they could be said to significantly jeopardize your health or permanently eliminate your happiness. A court is more likely to determine that physical violence constitutes cruelty if the spouse engaged in a pattern of physical violence, has threatened physical violence, or has engaged in mental abuse. Divorce may be granted if this abuse was directed to either you or to a minor child. Acts of physical violence may include instances of marital rape.
Courts give mental abuse significant weight when considering whether to grant an absolute divorce for fault-based grounds. Generally, mental abuse must be egregious. For example, the use of profane language alone might not be sufficient to prove cruel treatment. However, the court might consider the use of profane or indecent language to belittle the spouse or otherwise compromise his or her self-respect. Other types of mental abuse include controlling behaviors like isolating the spouse from other family members and friends. Mental abuse can include taunting and making public, false accusations for the purpose of debasing the spouse.
Proving cruelty and excessively vicious conduct in court requires the use of physical evidence or witness testimony. Your family lawyer can guide you in establishing proof, such as through the use of medical records, photographs of injuries, and written communications.
How Motions Are Made and Opposed in Court
After a personal injury lawyer in Owings Mills files a lawsuit against a defendant , either party may make a motion. A motion is simply a document that asks the court to decide something, also known as issuing a ruling. For example, the personal injury lawyer for the defendant may file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, which means to drop the case.
When you watch this video, you’ll hear the fictitious story of Patty and David. Patty sues David, whose lawyer then files a motion to dismiss. That motion is then substantiated by a brief that presents the reasons why the lawsuit should be dismissed. After this happens, Patty’s lawyer can file a brief that argues against dismissing the lawsuit.
Understanding the Deposition Process
The process of seeking injury compensation for incidents occurring in the Owings Mills area includes taking legal depositions. During a deposition, a party involved with the personal injury lawsuit will be asked questions. Although this person is sworn to tell the truth at this time, the deposition does not take place in a courtroom. No judge or jury is present.
Your personal injury lawyer can help you learn more of what to expect during the deposition, and you can also watch this helpful animation. It uses the fictitious story of Patty the plaintiff and Debbie the defendant to explain how depositions work. You’ll hear about the types of questions the attorneys might ask. You’ll also learn that if Patty contradicts her deposition testimony while on the witness stand at the trial, she could be accused of perjury.
What Is Implied Consent?
If you’ve been charged with drunk driving, you will need to have an attorney in Owings Mills explain the legal nuances of your case. Like other states, Maryland has established a rule of implied consent. This means that, if you are driving on the state’s roadways, you are presumed to have already consented to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test. The implied consent law applies to you if you’re pulled over by a police officer on suspicion of impaired driving and the officer asks you to submit to blood alcohol content (BAC) testing.
Since every driver has already given his or her consent to submit to testing, drivers who refuse to do so face legal penalties. If you’ve refused to take the test, your lawyer will inform you that you face a 120-day suspension of your driver’s license. If you refuse the test on a second occasion, the suspension will last for one year. Some people reason that it’s worth it to risk license suspension if it means they won’t be convicted of DUI. But in fact, refusal to submit to a test almost certainly won’t help your case, and it will only add to the penalties you could face.
A Look at Virtual Visitation
Virtual visitation is a new trend in divorce law that is designed to enhance traditional visitation agreements. With virtual visitations, non-custodial parents who do not live in the same location as their children can have increased communication using technology like web chats, social media, and instant messaging. When you’re considering types of child custody and visitation in Maryland , it is important to have an attorney on your side to represent your rights and interests. If virtual visitation is an issue in your child custody case, here is what you need to know.
What is virtual visitation?
Virtual visitation is the use of technology to connect non-custodial parents and children outside of their traditional visitation times. It can be used to allow kids and parents to keep in touch about day-to-day activities or to share major events, like a play or recital, with non-custodial parents who can’t attend the event. Because virtual visitation is a new phenomenon, there is no standard type of order for these cases. The courts may specify which virtual platforms should be used for visitation, when the visits should occur, and that the child and parent be allowed to communicate without oversight from the custodial parent.
Who is a candidate for virtual visitation?
One common child custody issue is what happens if the custodial parent wants to relocate. Even if the relocation is in the best interest of the child, it can still take a toll on the relationship between the child and the non-custodial parent. Virtual visitation can help ensure that the connection between parent and child stays strong. The same standards apply to virtual visitation as traditional visitation, so parents who are not eligible for in-person visits with their children will not be awarded virtual visitation.
Does virtual visitation affect other forms of visitation?
Virtual visitation cannot be used to in place of traditional visitation. It is supposed to supplement the in-person visitation schedule rather than replace it. Neither parent can use virtual visits as a way to change the traditional visitation schedule or to replace scheduled visits.
Legal Penalties for Theft in Maryland
Maryland criminal law recognizes different types of theft crimes, including shoplifting, larceny, and receiving stolen property. All criminal offenses, regardless of the potential penalties, should be taken very seriously because a conviction can affect a person’s reputation and employability for years to come. If you have been charged with theft, contact a criminal defense lawyer in Owings Mills right away. Your lawyer can defend you from a misdemeanor or felony theft charge .
A misdemeanor theft charge is used when the value of the stolen property is less than $1,000. A conviction is punishable by up to 18 months behind bars and fines of up to $1,000. Theft of an item valued at less than $100 is punishable by a maximum of 90 days in jail. Theft of an item greater than $1,000 is a felony and is punishable by up to 15 years and $15,000 in fines. For all theft convictions, the stolen property must be restored to the rightful owner or an equal amount of restitution must be paid.
Common Questions About Supervised Visitation in Maryland
During a divorce in which the spouses share children in common, a family law attorney in Owings Mills can help the parties develop a proposed visitation plan. Normally, visitation occurs at the parent’s house. Occasionally, a judge may order supervised visitation, in which a neutral third party is present for the entire visitation to ensure the safety of the children. If you have concerns about your children’s safety when they are with your ex, talk to your custody lawyer about requesting supervised visitation.
Can I request supervised visitation for my ex?
Maryland family courts generally only require a parent to have supervised visitation if there is a reasonable belief that a child has been neglected or abused by that parent. It is not sufficient to request supervised visitation because you’re concerned the other parent might not help the kids with their homework or enforce limits on TV time. But if you do have reason to believe that your kids are not safe with the other parent, don’t hesitate to voice your concerns to the divorce lawyer.
Where does supervised visitation take place?
This is determined on case-by-case basis. Occasionally, the judge may allow supervised visitation to take place in the home of another relative. Alternatively, supervised visitation may occur at a family services center under the direction of a court-appointed facilitator.
Is supervised visitation the same as a monitored exchange?
Family service centers may also provide monitored exchange programs, but these are not the same as supervised visitation. A monitored exchange program allows the parent to drop off the child at the center and then leave. The other parent then picks up the child for unsupervised visitation.
Is there a fee for supervised visitation?
Some family service centers do charge fees, while others offer free services. Some centers require both parents to pay an upfront intake fee and the visiting parent to pay the hourly charges.
How will I know that my child is safe?
When your child is at a supervised visitation, you can rest assured that he or she will be closely watched by the staff. Staff members are trained to intervene whenever it is necessary to promote appropriate interactions between the parent and child. These staff members have experience working with children affected by divorce and separation, and they can help your child feel safe and secure.
Mistakes to Avoid After a Car Crash
Car accidents can occur in the blink of an eye. Due to their unpredictable nature, it’s essential to be prepared with the basic knowledge of what to do and what to avoid following a crash. For example, did you know that two simple words might jeopardize your claim? For guidance on this issue and many others, you can consult a personal injury lawyer near Owings Mills.
Apologizing for the Crash
Those two simple words that might compromise your case are “I’m sorry.” It’s human nature to apologize as a way of clearing the air, even if the problem was not the fault of the apologizer. But after a car accident, you need to resist the temptation to apologize to the other driver or to speculate as to the cause of the crash. The other driver may use this apology to claim that you were at fault for the crash. As a result, your compensation may be reduced or denied.
Neglecting to Document the Scene
Hiring an accident lawyer is an effective way to get the most money for your case, but even the most accomplished lawyer needs evidence to substantiate claims. The building of your case begins right after you call 911 and check for injuries. First, exchange information with the other driver. The basic information you need to exchange includes full names, contact information, insurance carriers, policy numbers, vehicle makes and models, license plate numbers, and driver’s license numbers. Next, take pictures of the crash site. Be sure to get pictures of the damage of both cars, the injuries of every involved party, and other evidence of property damage such as broken mailboxes or downed street signs. Then, write down a few notes about the weather conditions and traffic patterns. Write down what you were doing immediately prior to the crash.
Delaying Medical Care
If you are not seriously injured, you might be tempted to go about your daily routine and see the doctor later. But the insurance carrier may point to your delay in medical care as evidence that your injuries could have been caused by something other than the crash. Always get a medical evaluation as soon as the police clear you to leave the scene. Your lawyer will need a copy of your medical records and documentation of your medical expenses.
Can a Child Express Custody Preferences to the Court?
Child custody is one of the most difficult aspects of the divorce process. Ideally, child custody issues for families in Owings Mills may be resolved by the parents through mediation. But when the parents disagree, the judge will make the decisions regarding parenting arrangements. The preferences of the minor child may play a role in the judge’s decision. However, it is not typically the only factor that a divorce judge will consider. The judge will give greater weight to the preferences of the child when that child displays maturity and offers a well-reasoned explanation of why one parent is preferred over the other. Superficial reasons such as fewer rules at one house will not help a child’s case.
Even if a mature child has valid reasons why he or she prefers to primarily live with a particular parent, the judge is not likely to require the child to testify in court. Testifying in front of the parents can be psychologically damaging for a child of any age. Instead, the judge may decide to interview the child in chambers. Family lawyers may be present during the interview, but the parents will not be there.
A Quick Look at the New DUI Law in Maryland
If you’ve recently consulted a lawyer in Owings Mills about legal representation for your DUI case, you may be informed of a new law that recently took effect this fall. DUI lawyers in Maryland have been evaluating the possible effects of Noah’s Law on their clients. The law was named in honor of a 24-year-old police officer in Montgomery County, Noah Leotta, who was killed during a routine traffic stop when a drunk driver struck him.
The new law mandates that any driver who is convicted of DUI or DWI is required to have an ignition interlock device installed. While ignition interlock devices are nothing new, what makes this law especially aggressive is that drivers can be required to use the devices for six months if a chemical test reveals a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher-regardless of whether or not the drivers are convicted. If a driver refuses a Breathalyzer test, the interlock device must be used for nine months or the driver’s license will be suspended.
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