Maryland Address Confidentiality Program For Domestic Violence Victims
Domestic violence victims in Maryland can face an uphill battle to escape further harm at the hands of their abuser. In certain cases, protective orders can help prevent further abuse or harm. But in other cases, the abuser ignores the protective order and continues to harm or threaten a domestic violence victim.
To help safeguard domestic violence victims from this outcome, Maryland established the Address Confidentiality Program (the “Program”). This program is designed to preserve the actual address of the victim, without impairing the ability to provide valuable services. That way, the victim’s location does not appear in publicly available court records related to their domestic violence case.
Eligibility for the Address Confidentiality Program
Maryland Code of Family Law Section 4-522 furnishes the eligibility requirements for the Program. Under this section, the following individuals are eligible to apply for the Program:
- A domestic violence victim acting on their own behalf;
- A parent or guardian acting on behalf of a minor child residing with that parent or guardian; or
- A guardian acting on behalf of a disabled person, as defined in Maryland Code of Estates & Trusts Section 13-101.
Application for the Address Confidentiality Program
Section 4-522 also explains the application process for the Program. In order to apply for participation in the Program, a person must submit a signed and dated form that includes:
- A statement that the applicant is a domestic violence victim who fears for their safety or the safety of their child;
- Any evidence that the applicant is a victim of domestic violence, such as police or court files or similar documentation;
- A statement that disclosure of the victim’s address would be dangerous to the victim or their child;
- A voluntary designation of the Secretary of State as an agent for service of process and receipt of first-class, certified, or registered mail;
- A mailing address and telephone number for the Secretary of State to contact the victim;
- The actual address that the victim wishes to keep confidential due to the risk of potential domestic violence;
- A statement detailing any existing court orders or pending actions related to divorce, child custody, or similar aspects of family law;
- A voluntary waiver of future claims against the State arising from participation in the Program, outside of gross negligence; and
- A sworn statement that the information included in the application is accurate to the best of the victim’s knowledge.
False Information & the Address Confidentiality Program
Under Maryland Code of Family Law Section 4-523, it is a misdemeanor offense to knowingly provide false information or attestation when applying for the Program. The punishment for this offense is a maximum of six months in jail and $500 in criminal fines, either or both.
Let Us Help You Today
If you need legal assistance with domestic violence, contact the skilled Bel Air family law attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered. We can help protect your rights throughout each step of your case.