Mediation is a form of dispute resolution in which a neutral person assists the parties to resolve their dispute without court intervention. The mediator facilitates discussion between parties to enable each to express their views and to hear the views of the other party. Such communications can facilitate an acceptable settlement. Our family law attorneys advise clients about mediation as an option, work with counsel for the other party to select a mediator, and represent the client in the mediation. Our family law attorneys are also trained and experienced as mediators. Attorneys throughout the area seek out the services of our lawyers as mediators to help resolve particularly complex or difficult disputes for their clients.
Many parents like to vacation with their children, to the beach, to a national park, to visit a big city. Some families travel abroad. Parents who are separated, or planning to separate, should include rules about traveling with minor children in their settlement negotiations. Parents can avoid disputes by agreeing to travel protocols in their parenting plan.
What is required to apply for a U.S. passport for a child under age 16?
A child under the age of 16 must apply for a passport in person. The child must be accompanied by both parents, as required by the federal Two- Parent Consent Law, and provide proof of the child’s citizenship (U.S. birth certificate; a valid, undamaged U.S. passport (may be expired); a foreign birth certificate).
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The Maryland General Assembly recently took several actions impacting domestic relations that will increase ease, efficiency, and consistency for those navigating the family court system.
Domestic Violence Orders Admissible in Maryland Divorce Suits
Protective orders (a form of domestic violence order) are designed to end and prevent abuse between family or household members. Current or former spouses, people who have lived together in an intimate relationship for at least 90 days during the past year, people who have been in a sexual relationship within the past year, people who share children together, people who are in a caretaker-vulnerable adult relationship, and family members can file for a protective order 24 hours a day in Maryland. In a protective order, a judge can order the abuser… MORE >
Most of us are concerned with protecting our personal information from getting into the wrong hands. We take precautions to protect our privacy such as password protecting computers and mobile devices, using passwords for online services, limiting personal information on social media profiles, and carefully choosing when to give out social security numbers and birth dates.
Court files are public records. Most such files are available to be reviewed in person by any member of the public; eventually they may be accessible over the internet. If you are ever a party in a legal dispute you may be concerned about how to protect your personal information from becoming available in a public record. In recent years, courts in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia… MORE >
Jan White and Linda Ravdin were named yet again on Washingtonian’s list of Washington’s Top Divorce Lawyers. Congratulations, Linda and Jan!
In July 2016, the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) adopted the Uniform Family Law Arbitration Act (UFLAA). It can now be considered for enactment by state legislatures. Ideally, it will be enacted by all states and the District of Columbia so that there will be a uniform approach to arbitration of family law disputes across the U.S.
These are the key provisions:
Scope. Parties can agree to submit any existing or future family law dispute to binding arbitration, including division of property, a claim for spousal support, custody and child support, a claim of breach of a marital agreement or a dispute about how to implement the terms of such an agreement. A party who entered into an agreement to resolve a future child-related dispute by… MORE >
Alternative dispute resolution embraces a variety of processes designed to resolve legal disputes outside of a formal court proceeding. One such option is binding arbitration. In binding arbitration a neutral decision-maker, who could be a retired judge or a lawyer with expertise in the subject matter of the dispute, is appointed make a decision to resolve a legal dispute. Arbitration has been used for many years to resolve commercial, construction, labor, and many other types of legal disputes. It is rare in the family law arena, but that could change.
The Uniform Law Commission (ULC) is currently working on a Uniform Family Law Arbitration Act (the UFLAA). It will be presented to the Commission at its annual meeting in the summer of 2016. If the… MORE >
The old saying “out of the mouth of babes” neatly packages the concept that children can say perceptive and remarkably wise things, despite their youth. Although children may have much to offer in insight, they are usually indirect, unvoiced participants in custody cases. But children can have a direct voice and be represented by their own counsel. This article describes the types of child advocacy in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
Maryland A Maryland judge may appoint counsel for a child who is the subject of a custody proceeding to serve any one of three different roles: 1) to decide whether to waive or assert a child’s legal privilege of nondisclosure (“child privilege attorney”); 2) to advocate for the child’s best interest (“best… MORE >
John and Rita were married for five years when John was diagnosed with cancer. The couple then arranged to harvest and store embryos, using Rita’s eggs and John’s sperm, in case John’s cancer treatment rendered him sterile. The cancer treatment is successful, but John becomes sterile. The marriage then fails. John wants to keep the frozen embryos and have them implanted in a surrogate. He desperately wants a biological child and sees this as his only opportunity. Rita no longer wants to parent a child with John, and she does not want to have a biological child with whom she has no relationship.
Mike and Steve are married in a state where same-sex partners can legally marry. They plan to begin a family. Each donates his… MORE >
A bill has been introduced in the District of Columbia City Council that would expand the authority of D.C. Superior Court to grant adoptions to same-sex couples. Under current law, a same-sex couple may adopt a child together if the petitioner lives in the District of Columbia or the child is in the legal care of the District of Columbia or a D.C. licensed adoption agency. A male couple who arrange for a private adoption of a child born in D.C. cannot adopt if they both live in Virginia because Virginia courts will not grant adoption to same-sex couples. The bill would allow this couple to adopt in D.C. Superior Court based on the child’s birth in D.C. The D.C. adoption decree will be entitled… MORE >