As a family law attorney based in Montgomery County, I wanted to respond to the last bullet, because the proposed legislation is a great thing for couples in Maryland looking to get divorced (this will apply to all of MD, not just MoCo).Points taken, and well explained. Thank you for sending this in!
The no sex for a year requirement is nothing new, it's already part of MD divorce law. For a "no-fault" divorce, meaning both sides are on board with getting divorced and neither side is accusing the other of adultery, abuse, etc., the law as it is now requires the couple to live separate and apart for one year, and they can't have sex with each other during that time. If they do, it resets the clock and their 1-year waiting period starts all over again. (Even if one side is claiming fault by the other person, if the couple has sex, it's considered condoning the behavior and a reconciliation of the parties.) The way the no sex is proven is by sworn testimony in court, so they already have to testify that they haven't had sex with their spouse in a year. Whether they've had sex with other people in that time isn't part of the equation, so it isn't even asked because it doesn't matter. (Even if it was asked, the witness could claim 5th Amendment privilege, since adultery in MD is a crime. The penalty? A $10 fine.)
All this legislation will do is remove the requirement that the two people live in separate residences for that year. Right now, with the economy in the crapper, people taking salary cuts or losing their jobs left and right, moving out is an economic impossibility for a lot of people. For some, that means the person moving out has to keep making payments on a mortgage while paying rent on another apartment and possibly making child support payments on top of that, all while trying to pay their other bills.
I applaud the fact that the legislators are listening to us practitioners doing this stuff every day and reacting to the economic reality that's putting couples in tough situations. This is a good thing for couples looking to get divorced that can't afford two places while they're going through the process. This will benefit the non-wealthy MoCo residents, and yes, there are lots of them.
Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go meet John Gosselin at a butter party.
P.S. How about this snow?