Following reconciliation of the house and senate bills, the Maryland Legislature has passed HB 500 – Child Support Guidelines Revision.

The bill has a new matrix for child support, which goes into effect for new cases filed on or after October 1, 2010, and it will increase the amount that most non-custodial parents will have to pay.  The new guidelines will go up to $15,000 in combined income instead of the old cap of $10,000.   However, you cannot petition for an increase in old cases just because the new law has passed.  There would have to be some other change in circumstances.

The legislature did not pass two other proposed bills discussed here:

SB 577 – Family Law – Grounds for Absolute Divorce – Time Requirements.  This bill would have shortened the required separation period from one year (voluntary) and two years (involuntary) for no fault divorces to six months and one year respectively.

SB 578 – Family Law – Grounds for Divorce.   This bill would have allowed people to obtain no fault divorces while separated but living in the same house.

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. said we have a great experiment going on with the laws in the different states in the U.S.  We can see which ones work best.

Arizona is trying to decide whether or not to increase the time of separation in that state from two months to six months.

Meanwhile, Maryland Senator Zirkin  has introduced Senate Bill 577 that would reduce the time from one year to six months for a voluntary separation in Maryland.  The period for involuntary separation would change from two years to one year.  If it passes, the bill would be effective for divorces filed after October 1, 2010.

This would bring Maryland in line with the separation period required in its neighboring jurisdictions, Virginia and DC.