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Maryland lawmakers pass bill to help victims of abusive marriage

At this time, evidence from domestic violence proceedings cannot be used in divorce court proceedings. This means that if a spouse is convicted of domestic violence, or if a protective order has been granted to prevent a spouse from accessing the other spouse, these facts cannot be used to affect a family court judge's decision.

However, the Maryland House passed a bill last week that changes this. Once the bill becomes effective, divorce courts will be able to consider protective orders -- relating to rape, sexual assault or abuse -- as reasons for approving a divorce.

According to a representative of the Institute for Women's Policy Research, courts should not ignore the history of domestic violence -- especially when a victim is doing his or her best to leave the relationship, such as during the divorce process. Abusers can be manipulative during divorce court proceedings to alter the outcome of the process. However, with the new law, family court judges will be able to take an abuser's history of assault and violence into consideration when making their decisions.

Maryland residents who want to get out of an abusive marriage can benefit from speaking to a family law attorney about their situation. A family law attorney can review your financial situation, your living situation and your child-rearing situation to offer advice and recommendations about your best course of action. Such advice may also include legal ways of protecting yourself from further abuse and violence via the use of a protective order. Then, abuse victims can submit their divorce paperwork to formalize

Source: Delmarvanow.com, "Md. bill would allow protective orders in divorce court," Carrie Snurr, March 02, 2017

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