Family Law and ‘Seismic Change’ Explored in New Article

Family Law and ‘Seismic Change’ Explored in New Article

Managing Partner Harry Siegel recently explored the past, present, and future of family law for the Trial Reporter’s Special Issue 2020.

Historically, Maryland family law is slow to change – with slight tweaks, changes, and alterations to the marital property statute or child support once every decade or so.

Many family law attorneys  have been hoping for changes of epic proportions, such as proposed legislation developed by the Commission on Child Custody Decision Making that promised changes to how custody and visitation would be analyzed by judges and magistrates. The legislation, which ultimately would provide better guidance to the bench, was unfortunately stalled within the General Assembly due to political strain and special interest.

In 2019, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act brought new changes to taxation of alimony, making alimony no longer taxable to the recipient nor tax deductible to the obligor. Calculated from post-tax dollars, alimony essentially became more like child support. People expected the sky to fall. It didn’t. If anything, calculations became somewhat easier.

The future arrived on December 1, 2019, with one simple phrase, “parenting plans,” promising seismic change. The Maryland Judiciary has been hard at work to solve the issue of uneven parenting plans statewide, due to discrepancies amongst parents, mediators, and magistrates. The result was Maryland Rules 9-204.1 – Parenting Plans – and 9-204.2, entitled Joint Statement of the Parties Concerning the Decision-Making Authority and Parenting Time.

Follow the link to download and read the entire article, Family Law 2020: A Look Back, A Look Forward and Seismic Change.”