Family Law

Issues to Watch

Conover v. Conover: Maryland’s Recognition of De Facto Parent Status

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Conover v. Conover: Maryland’s Recognition of De Facto Parent Status

Brett Smoot*

In July 2016, the Maryland Court of Appeals overturned the Court of Special Appeals in Conover v. Conover, 450 Md. 51 (2016), overturning 224 Md. App. 366 (2015).  In a major win for the LGBT community, the Court of Appeals established de facto parentage in Maryland, giving those who qualify as de facto parents greater legal standing to contest custody and visitation decisions.  The Conover ruling signals a major shift in Maryland family law, one that coincides with the growing recognition of LGBT rights nationwide.


Issues to Watch

‘Til Consent Do Us Part

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‘TIL CONSENT DO US PART: Maryland’s New Ground for No-Fault Dissolution of Marriage

Avigayil Pearlman*

Marriage is not an institution to be taken lightly; however, divorce is a reality of American life.  Unfortunately, the time and expense required to obtain an absolute divorce can be extremely prohibitive in many states.  In fact, Maryland did not entertain complaints for absolute divorce without some claim of wrongdoing on the part of one spouse or another until 1939; and even then, Maryland required a five-year separation first.  See Denese Ashbaugh Vlosky & Pamela A. Monroe, The Effective Dates of No-Fault Divorce Laws in the 50 States, 51 Fam. Rel. 317, 322 (2002).  While the length of time required for separation gradually decreased over the years, the second-most recent change to Maryland’s grounds for divorce, listed in Md. Code Ann., Fam. Law § 7-103 (the “Statute”), came into effect in 1983, and provided that a no-fault absolute divorce in the state of Maryland required a 12-month separation.  Id.  However, everything changed on October 1, 2015, when an additional ground for no-fault divorce was added to the Statute: mutual consent. (more…)