The Maryland legislature was unusually busy this past session, and they passed a lot of new Maryland laws. Some took effect in July (like the marijuana legislation) but most take effect October 1, 2023. While hundreds of laws are passed each year, we have tried to focus on the laws most likely to affect you – the average Maryland citizen.
Here is a rundown of the most relevant new Maryland laws taking effect in October 2023.
(1) Divorce – The primary Maryland laws on divorce have not been changed in a long time, and everyone agreed they were pretty old fashioned. The new legislation radically changes how divorce will be handled in Maryland.
However, this subject is so important it really deserves its own separate article. Click here to see our breakdown of the new Maryland laws on divorce. And click here to read our Free Legal Guide to Maryland divorce in order to get the comprehensive overview of the entire process.
(2) Gun laws – This is another area that radically changed in 2023. And it is another area that deserves its own separate article. Click here to read our article about Maryland gun laws.
(3) Debt collection – This new Maryland law changes how bank account garnishments work. It may effect you if you are being sued for a debt and the creditor seeks to garnish your bank account. (And to find out your options of how to avoid that very scary scenario, read our Free Legal Guide to Bankruptcy laws in Maryland here.)
In the past, there were no automatic exemptions from garnishing a bank account. You had one exemption, allowing you to exempt up to $6,000 cash. Most people tried to use it, but they had to apply for it. If you didn’t know about it and didn’t apply for it, you could have your bank account completely drained.
Now, a bank will automatically exempt up to $500 in bank account funds, and that $500 exemption is applied against the debtor’s $6,000 total cash exemption. A debtor will still need to apply for the additional $5,500 in exemption. So you could theoretically lose all but $500 in your bank account.
(4) Debt collection 2 – Another new Maryland law prohibits the (very common) practice of asking questions under oath of a judgment debtor to discover their assets – but only in small claims cases. Those are cases worth less than $5000 in Maryland courts. If your case is for more that that, the old rules apply and you can be forced to appear in court to answer questions about your income and assets.
The explicit purpose of those questions is so the creditor can seize those assets. Again, if you or someone you know is in this position, see our Free Legal Guide to Bankruptcy in Maryland, and call us for a free consultation.
(5) Estates & Probate – A new Maryland law allows the Register of Wills to accept electronic signatures for certain legally required documents. This will dramatically help out of state people going through probate, and will ease the crush of paper and mail to the Register of Wills. For more on the probate process, and how to make sure you are ready for it, read our Free Legal Guide to Wills & Estates in Maryland here.
(6) Landlord & Tenant Notice of Rent Increases – this new Maryland law forces a landlord to be able to prove they sent a notice of rent increase, either by first class mail with a certificate, or by some electronic means that proves the tenant received the notice.
(7) Minimum Wage – Maryland already had a schedule of how the state was going to get to a $15.00 per hour minimum wage, but they accelerated the schedule in 2023. The new minimum wage of $15.00 per hour is in effect as of Jan 1, 2024.
This list is not comprehensive. It cannot possibly be. But we hope we included most of the new laws that are most likely to affect you.
Want to know more? Discover what you need to know about civil laws in Maryland. Click here to see our Free Legal Guide to laws everyone should know and get answers to your questions today. Know your options. Be informed. Protect yourself.
Need an attorney? Please contact us for a consultation today if you need an experienced lawyer for your legal case.
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