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Dumais, who helped steer the legislation through the House, said some delegates were concerned that Zirkin's original bill did not include enough protections against one spouse taking advantage of the other.She said the House committee added an amendment excluding parents of minor children from expedited divorce and another requiring that both spouses attend the court hearing in person.The Senate, which earlier passed the bill 40-7, accepted the House changes and Gov. Lawmakers acted after hearing stories such as that of Rachel London and William Atwell.In joint written testimony, London and Atwell told senators that after deciding in June 2011 that they no longer wanted to be married, they quickly reached agreement on a property split and the support and custody of their 4-year-old son."This is not the end in terms of modernizing our law."Other new laws These are among new Maryland laws effective Thursday: Rape kits: Requires police agencies to report backlogs of untested rape kits to state.Mental health: Requires Baltimore and county police to create units by next Oct. Police review: Expands mission and changes membership of Baltimore's civilian review board.Public information: Creates new compliance board with authority to enforce public records law.Speed limits: Allows state highway officials to set speed limits up to 70 mph.

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Maryland men’s divorce attorneys provide answers to frequently asked questions about the divorce process and Maryland divorce laws.

it's a bad thing for divorce lawyers — which is a good thing," he said. Michael Hough, a Frederick County Republican, said the amendments made the bill less objectionable, but he still is opposed."Right now there's a cooling-off period that's in the law," he said.

"I just don't want to make it so you can get a next-day divorce, and that's where the law is headed."The bill was one of several that passed this year removing obstacles to divorce.

Zirkin, a Baltimore County Democrat, said the measure will help thousands of Marylanders to move on with their lives.

Lindsay Parvis, a Montgomery County attorney who co-chairs the Maryland State Bar Association's section on family law, called the change "a huge development."She said it will be a relief for many people to know they can move forward "rather than a law telling them they have to wait 12 months."The current law starts the one-year clock on the day one spouse moves out of the common home.

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