In the Fall 2022 edition of Family Law Counts:
Technology and Your Two Home Family
For the parent who because of a separation or divorce suddenly finds himself or herself having to keep track of family members in a way that he or she have never done before, the task can be daunting. Access schedules, school schedules, birthday parties, doctor appointments, music lessons, sport practices and games, just to name a few things. The list is seemingly endless.
In our household, we have always used an Outlook calendar just so we know what everyone has on the schedule. In that way, the chance for conflicting appointments are significantly reduced. If you are out of town for business or pleasure and you mark it on a family calendar, your ex will know that the children are totally in his or her care on those days. However, unless you mind your ex having access to your entire schedule, it is probably a good time to set up a “family calendar.” You can utilize the Google calendar or even better, a program called “Family Wizard” to keep your family organized.
If there are funds being exchanged for extracurricular activities and extraordinary medical expenses, you can use Quicken to track all of your expenses and those of your children and send reports that indicate payments made that are subject to reimbursement. The added benefit is that your finances immediately become more organized. If set up properly, the program will allow you to easily organize your income and expenses at tax time, and allow you to monitor your cash flow, among other things.
If there is something going on between you and your ex that you believe may be the subject of future litigation, or if you are in the midst of litigation, you have a solution for tracking that information in the palm of your hands. Indicate on your personal calendar “Notes” and the subject matter. Then, contemporaneously write a note in your notes on the subject matter with the subject matter as the heading and make dated entries so that there is a record in your calendar, which will coincide with a note to yourself.
Finally, there is a computer program called “Decipher” that allows you to download your text messages to your computer and organize them by caller so that the conversations are much easier to follow. When lawyers receive messages that are cut and pasted in an email, or of a screen shot sent via email, they sometimes do not include important information such as a date. This program takes care of that problem. It is also makes it easier to understand who is saying what to whom in the messages.
Computers, smartphones and iPads are powerful tools that you can use to keep you and your family organized. If you are in need of legal assistance for a family law matter, please call me at 410.659.1389 or email me at email@example.com.
Mollie G. Caplis Has Been Named President of the Collaborative Professionals of Baltimore
Congratulations to Mollie Caplis on having been named the president of the Collaborative Professionals of Baltimore (CPB). As part of her busy family law practice, Ms. Caplis believes in the importance of advising clients of the many options available to resolve a family law dispute. She has been collaboratively trained to represent clients and is a staunch advocate of this form of alternative dispute resolution, when appropriate.
The basic tenants of the collaborative practice include doing what is best for the family and working together as a team to address issues in a format where the parties have a direct voice. As a result of the process, parties are more likely to reach sustainable agreements and to co-parent amicably moving forward.
The Collaborative Professionals of Baltimore (CPB) is a group of interdisciplinary professionals dedicated to resolving conflicts in the areas of family law. The members of the Collaborative Professionals of Baltimore are committed to offering clients a respectful way to resolve conflict. It also has the potential to reduce the cost of the overall divorce by streamlining the discovery of financial and other relevant information.
“The respectful, thoughtful approach to resolving family law issues during an exceedingly difficult time in a client’s life is what drives my strong commitment to the collaborative practice. For these reasons, it is an honor to serve as the President of CPB, where I hope to increase the visibility of collaborative law throughout the Baltimore area,” said Ms. Caplis.
Insight from the Maryland Legislature on Tracking Devices: October 1, 2022 Update
As a follow up to an earlier article “tracking” House Bill 148/Senate Bill 328 (you can find it here), we can report that the bill passed. Effective October 1, 2022, the definition of criminal stalking under § 3-802 of the Maryland Criminal Law Article will be expanded to include conduct that occurs through the use of a device that can pinpoint or track the location of another without the person’s knowledge or consent.
The impact of this legislative amendment is that fairly standard investigative tactics, such as using a GPS tracker on a vehicle or a cell phone, without the person’s knowledge or consent, will now constitute stalking under the Maryland criminal statute. A person who violates this statute is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding five (5) years or a fine not exceeding $5,000, or both.
Another important consequence of the passage of the tracking legislation is that a court can grant a protective order or peace order based on stalking. Therefore, if you use a device to track a person’s whereabouts without the person’s knowledge or consent, you may not only be found guilty of criminal stalking, but you may also be the subject of a protective order or peace order.