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Matthew D. Alman

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Michael E. Henderson

Construction, Child Support, Adoption, Corporate
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Kimberly M. Glencer

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Rhonda Wood Moody

Adoption, Alimony & Spousal Support, Child Support, Children's Rights
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Darlene Wright Powell

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Camille R. McBride

Adoption, Child Support, Farms, Divorce, Workers' Compensation
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LEGAL TERMS

FAMILY COURT

A separate court, or more likely a separate division of the regular state trial court, that considers only cases involving divorce (dissolution of marriage), ch... (more...)
A separate court, or more likely a separate division of the regular state trial court, that considers only cases involving divorce (dissolution of marriage), child custody and support, guardianship, adoption, and other cases having to do with family-related issues, including the issuance of restraining orders in domestic violence cases.

CONDONATION

One person's approval of another's activities, constituting a defense to a fault divorce. For example, if a wife did not object to her husband's adultery and la... (more...)
One person's approval of another's activities, constituting a defense to a fault divorce. For example, if a wife did not object to her husband's adultery and later tries to use it as grounds for a divorce, he could argue that she had condoned his behavior and could perhaps prevent her from divorcing him on these grounds.

CONFIDENTIAL COMMUNICATION

Information exchanged between two people who (1) have a relationship in which private communications are protected by law, and (2) intend that the information b... (more...)
Information exchanged between two people who (1) have a relationship in which private communications are protected by law, and (2) intend that the information be kept in confidence. The law recognizes certain parties whose communications will be considered confidential and protected, including spouses, doctor and patient, attorney and client, and priest and confessor. Communications between these individuals cannot be disclosed in court unless the protected party waives that protection. The intention that the communication be confidential is critical. For example, if an attorney and his client are discussing a matter in the presence of an unnecessary third party -- for example, in an elevator with other people present -- the discussion will not be considered confidential and may be admitted at trial. Also known as privileged communication.

DISSOLUTION

A term used instead of divorce in some states.

PHYSICAL CUSTODY

The right and obligation of a parent to have his child live with him. Compare legal custody.

SEPARATION

A situation in which the partners in a married couple live apart. Spouses are said to be living apart if they no longer reside in the same dwelling, even though... (more...)
A situation in which the partners in a married couple live apart. Spouses are said to be living apart if they no longer reside in the same dwelling, even though they may continue their relationship. A legal separation results when the parties separate and a court rules on the division of property, such as alimony or child support -- but does not grant a divorce.

COMMUNITY PROPERTY

A method for defining the ownership of property acquired during marriage, in which all earnings during marriage and all property acquired with those earnings ar... (more...)
A method for defining the ownership of property acquired during marriage, in which all earnings during marriage and all property acquired with those earnings are considered community property and all debts incurred during marriage are community property debts. Community property laws exist in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. Compare equitable distribution and separate property.

MISUNDERSTANDING

A mistake by both spouses in a marriage that can serve as grounds for an annulment. For example, if one spouse went into the marriage wanting children while the... (more...)
A mistake by both spouses in a marriage that can serve as grounds for an annulment. For example, if one spouse went into the marriage wanting children while the other did not, they have a misunderstanding that will be judged serious enough for a court to terminate the marriage.

JOINT CUSTODY

An arrangement by which parents who do not live together share the upbringing of a child. Joint custody can be joint legal custody (in which both parents have a... (more...)
An arrangement by which parents who do not live together share the upbringing of a child. Joint custody can be joint legal custody (in which both parents have a say in decisions affecting the child) joint physical custody (in which the child spends a significant amount of time with both parents) or, very rarely, both.

SAMPLE LEGAL CASES

IN RE ADOPTION OF TA'NIYA C.

We return again to the problematic question of how a court should resolve a case in which the rights of an individual to raise her child without state interference may ultimately conflict with the best interests of that child. A juvenile court is authorized by statute to terminate the ...

In re Adoption/Guardianship of Amber R.

984 A.2d 243 (2009). 411 Md. 598. IN RE ADOPTION/GUARDIANSHIP OF AMBER R. Pet. Docket No. 385. Court of Appeals of Maryland. Granted December 9, 2009. Petition for Writ of Certiorari granted.

In re Adoption/Guardianship of Alonza D. Jr. and Shaydon S.

970 A.2d 892 (2009). 408 Md. 487. IN RE ADOPTION/GUARDIANSHIP OF ALONZA D. JR. AND SHAYDON S. Pet. Docket No. 7. Court of Appeals of Maryland. Granted May 6, 2009. Petition for writ of certiorari granted.