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Family Law Section

We hope you all are enjoying these last few weeks of summer ... and in the meantime, don’t worry, we have been planning your upcoming bar year!  Please SAVE THE DATE for the following events, CLEs, programs and meetings which we have scheduled for the upcoming year for the Family Law Section:

September 22, 2016 
October 20, 2016
November 17, 2016 **5:00 p.m. in Courtroom 1; (Family Judges’ Roundtable)
January 19, 2017
February 16, 2017
March 16, 2017 **5:00 p.m. in Courtroom 1; (Family Law Magistrates’ Roundtable)
April 20, 2017 
*** Please note that all FL Section Meetings are approximately 1 hour long and will take place at 5:30pm in the Bar Office, CLE Classroom, except as otherwise noted. 

Please join us for the first Section Meeting and Program of the year on Thursday, September 22, 2016, at 5:30 p.m. in the Bar Building CLE Classroom.  Hot Topics in Family Law: Santo and Conover: John S. Weaver of the Law Office of John S. Weaver will present on his prevailing argument in Santo v. Santo, wherein the Court of Appeals ruled that capacity to communicate is not required for parties to share legal custody, and that awarding tiebreaking authority when the parties cannot communicate does not constitute an abuse of discretion.  Jer Welter, Managing Attorney at FreeState Justice, will present on his prevailing argument in Conover v. Conover, where the Court of Appeals gave standing to de facto parents, effectively overruling Janice M. v Margaret K.

     Our first breakfast CLE will be on Tuesday, September 20, 2016 from 7:45 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. in the Bar Office, CLE Classroom.  Harry B. Siegel of Ellicott City will enlighten us on Consideration of Social Security Benefits in a Monetary Award after Jackson v. Sollie (Court of Appeals, 7/19/16, No. 62, Sept. Term 2015), the case in which he argued on behalf of Petitioner in the Court of Appeals.

Please join us on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Bar Office, CLE Classroom where Speakers/Panelists: Hon. Cynthia Callahan, Hon. Joseph M. Quirk, Glenn Cooper; Jo Benson Fogel; Casey Weinberg Florance; Jeff Evan Lowinger;  and John Weaver will discuss the topic of Initial Alimony Awards: Bringing Order to Apparent Chaos.  The state of alimony awards can be chaotic - unpredictable, confusing, and inconsistent. This often renders counseling clients and presenting cases rather problematic. This intermediate to advanced level CLE will address significant aspects, including:

(1) Presenting FL §11-106(b) Mandatory Alimony Award Factors at Trial: From Opening to Closing - Strategy, Emphasis, Evidence, and the Court’s Weighing of Factors. Practice tips and avoiding pitfalls.

(2) Rehabilitative vs. Indefinite Alimony: The plan to progress toward self-sufficiency and the meaning of “rehabilitative.” How long is too long for rehabilitative alimony? The interplay and projection of “unconscionably disparate” standards of living and “gross” or “unconscionable” income disparities. The use of income ratio comparisons to determine whether indefinite alimony is appropriate and whether an award amount adequately alleviates unconscionable disparity in lifestyle.

(3) What constitutes a party’s reasonable needs/expenses.

(4) Determining earnings ability and imputing income to a party seeking alimony, and whether expert testimony is necessary. How voluntary impoverishment applies in an alimony case. 

(5) Managing the client who refuses to work or develop a plan toward self-sufficiency.

(6) The effective use of Alimony Guidelines.

(7) A “view from the Bench.”

This must-attend CLE will inform you and help sharpen your family law practice.

And as we gear up for another great year, please also SAVE THE DATE for the following social events: 

Fall Happy Hour – November 17, 2016, following the Family Judges’ Roundtable, location TBD 
Holiday Party – TBD in December 
Spring Happy Hour – March 16, 2017, following the Family Law Magistrates’ Roundtable, location TBD 
End of Year Dinner/Practitioner of the Year Award – TBD in May or June 2017


Sandra A. Brooks
Christina M. Hughes
Heather R. Sweren


Meeting Dates

September 22, 2016
October 20, 2016
November 17, 2016*
January 19, 2017
February 16, 2017
March 16, 2017*
April 20, 2017

*5PM; Courtroom 1

Meetings are held at 5:30p.m. in the CLE Classroom of the Bar Association building, unless otherwise noted.

Social Events

November 17, 2016 -- Fall Happy Hour (following Family Judges' Roundtable, location TBD)
Holiday Party -- TBD in December
March 16, 2017 -- Spring Happy Hour (following Family Law Magistrate's Roundtable, location TBD)
TBD (May or June 2017) -- End of Year Dinner/Practitioner of the Year Award

CLE Seminars

Initial Alimony Awards: Bringing Order to Apparent Chaos
Wednesday, November 30