There are a few areas of family law that the court system handles poorly, mainly because of a lack of guidance from the legislature or from contradictory information that the courts have to process.
One of those areas is Maryland’s Domestic Violence Statute.
First, a bit of history: Maryland used to require a high standard for proving domestic violence. Known as “Clear and Convincing Evidence,” the goal was to weed out weaker claims and focus on serious incidents of violence. Of course, judges’ interpretations of this standard were always problematic.
More recently, Maryland decreased the level of proof needed to find domestic violence to a preponderance of the evidence. In other words, is it more or less probable that domestic violence occurred?
When you go to court, you have no idea who your judge will be or what their belief system is concerning domestic violence. And there is a horrible lack of consistency regarding judicial determinations of domestic violence.
Quite frankly, if you put 50 judges in a room together with the same scenario, you will likely get multiple inconsistent opinions about findings and conclusions and about whether the facts constitute domestic violence. To each judge’s credit, as long as they are looking at the statutory factors and weighing the evidence, each judge would likely be correct in his or her findings.
How is that for frustrating?
If you have been accused of domestic violence and the other side has sought an interim or temporary protective order, find an attorney who routinely handles such cases.
Keep in mind, not all family law attorneys handle domestic violence cases, and if criminal charges are also filed at the same time, the case becomes even more complex.
SIEGELLAW has more than 25 years of experience helping individuals and families in Maryland face the challenges of domestic violence. If you have been falsely accused of domestic abuse, take steps to ensure that your rights and your future are well-protected. Call us at (410) 792-2300 or fill out the form to get started.