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Thyden Gross and Callahan LLPCounselors and Attorneys at Law

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Maryland Divorce Legal Crier

News and comments about divorce, child support, child custody, alimony, equitable property distribution, father’s rights, mother’s rights, family law, laws on divorce and other legal information in Maryland.

Are Gifts Income?

January 27th, 2015

Albert  Mumma married Jean in 1952 and they had three children together.   Albert supported the family as an architect.  He had an office in Georgetown.  In 1968 the parties had a violent altercation and they decided to divorce.

The judge awarded $200 a month in alimony and $500 a month in child support to Jean, plus attorney fees and costs.  Albert appealed complaining that he was ordered to pay support of $8,400 a year, while his income was only $9,422 in 1968 and $12,726  in 1969.   Jean countered that, among other things, he received gifts from his parents.

The DC Court of Appeals reversed the trial court, holding that “gifts do not constitute income” and suggested that Albert’s income tax returns would be an appropriate guide to his actual income in the absence of affirmative evidence otherwise.

Mumma v. Mumma, 280 A.2d 73 (1971)

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Ringing in the New Year

December 31st, 2014

These celebrities are ringing in the New Year with a divorce:

Chris Rock, 49, comedian and actor, filed for divorce from Malaak Compton-Rock, 45, after 19 years of marriage.  The couple has two daughters, ages 12 and 10.

Giada De Laurentiis, 44, celebrity chef, announced on her Facebook page that she is ending her marriage with fashion designer Todd Thompson.  They have been married 11 years and have one six year old daughter.

Actor, Jeremy Renner, 43, and his wife, Sonni Pacheco, 23, model and actress, are headed for divorce after 10 months of marriage. They have a 21 month old daughter.

What else will 2015 bring?

Related posts:

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Free Online Pet Nup

December 30th, 2014

Pets can become an issue in a divorce.  Although the parties may treat their pets like children and argue over custody and visitation, the courts do not.  The law views pets as personal propety like a chair or a lamp.

After losing a dog in a divorce, an English lawyer, Vanessa Lloyd Platt, created a “Pet Nup” which sets forth the agreement of the parties with respect to their pets.

You can view and download the Pet Nup for free, but remember it would have to be modified for Maryland, Virginia or DC.

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Would You Want to Date a Lawyer?

December 22nd, 2014

Lawyers came in dead last in popularity in a recent survey by Special Counsel.

They asked people which of the professions would you most want to date?

The results:

  • Doctor (30%)
  • Teacher  (27%)
  • Firefighter (12%)
  • Police Officer (10%)
  • Lawyer (8%)

The survey sample was 1,007 people.

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How to Repair Your Credit After Divorce

December 18th, 2014

The good folks at Top Ten Reviews have published a guide on how to repair your credit after various financial disasters.

Chapter 3 covers divorce.

Best of all, the guide is free.

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The Best of Times, the Worst of Times

December 12th, 2014

My oldest son entered high school this year.  He said he likes it.  He is very confident, outgoing and popular.  He takes after his mother.

I told him I didn’t like high school very much.  I was shy, introverted and not a member of “the in crowd”.  I was a geek, a nerd, a brainiac.   I wore thick, horn-rimmed glasses.

I mentioned this conversation to an old friend that I’ve known since high school.  He said, “Really?  But you had it pretty good in high school.”

That set me to thinking.  I was the star of two school plays. I dated the valedictorian of the class ahead of me.  I won an award for poetry and an award for math and science.  I worked as a disc jockey at the local radio station.

He was right.  I had a pretty good time in high school.  I just never knew it.

If you are going through the worst of times due to a divorce or separation, remember, “To change your world, just change your mind.”  You may find yourself going from the worst of times to the best of times.

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The Person Who Leaves First, Loses

December 11th, 2014

I have a lawyer friend who likes to argue.  He has picked a good profession for it.  More than a few times, he has had an opposing counsel hang up on him in irritation and frustration.

He doesn’t care.  Under his rules of argument, “The person who hangs up first, loses.”

It occurs to me that this rule may be applied to marriage and relationships as well.  So if you are the one that’s been abandoned or deserted, don’t despair.  The person who left was too irritated or frustrated to hang in there and argue.  The only card left in their hand to play was the leaving card.   They hung up on you.

Just rearrange your thinking to, “The person who leaves first, loses.”

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A Perfect Storm

December 4th, 2014

There is a perfect winter storm of depression brewing.  Got the blues?  You are not alone.  There are good reasons you may be feeling sad right now.

Holiday Depression

You may get depressed at this time of year because it reminds you of bad experiences of past holidays.  Or you may get depressed because you have had better holidays in the past.   Or you just may be comparing this holiday to an imagined holiday like the ones in the Norman Rockwell paintings or the happy holidays you think your friends are enjoying.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

At this time of year I’m driving to the office in the dark and driving home from work in the dark.  The days are shorter.  There is less sunlight.  We feel good when we are in the sun.  We feel bad when there is a lack of sunlight.

Divorce Depression

It is usual for people separating and divorcing to feel depressed.  The future is uncertain and scary.  Finances are usually a mess. You may be heartbroken.

So, what can you do, if all three events are hitting you at the same time?  Ride out the storm.  It will take time.  You will have grief.  And pain.  But eventually, the storm will be over, and your new life will make all this seem like a distant memory.

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Small Courtesies

November 28th, 2014

I worked for a powerful lawyer once.  He was well educated and well connected.  He moved in White House circles.  He was very wealthy.

He was an old time lawyer – the kind they don’t’ make anymore.  He would bang out his pleadings on a typewriter and give them to his secretary to put on the word processor.  He was a fearsome litigator and would take an appeal as high and as long as the client was willing.  He won some big cases and was written up in the newspapers.

Despite all this, he was unfailingly polite to everyone.  He never failed to say good morning to the doorman at his office building.  He always recited the beginning of the postman’s creed, “neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night,” to the person who delivered the mail.

I was astounded by an incident at a deposition in a hard-fought case.  Opposing counsel was a smartly-dressed, well-groomed whiz kid from big law.  My lawyer introduced himself and put out his hand to shake hands with the whiz kid.  It hung there in the air.  The whiz-kid would not shake hands.  Rude behavior may pass for aggressive lawyering these days, but to my mind, there was more power in the courteous gesture.

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Give Thanks for Your Enemies

November 25th, 2014

With Thanksgiving coming up, I wanted to write about something to be grateful for even if you are in the middle of a divorce or custody battle.  In the past I have told you how you should be thankful for the problems that life gives you to solve, what to be thankful for, and the things you can learn from a divorce.  Today I write about being thankful for your enemies.

Life is a story with yourself as the protagonist.  And we meet different characters who are allies or enemies.  It is easy to be grateful for our friends and mentors.

Surprisingly, I also have a great deal to be thankful for from my enemies.  The worst boss I ever had as a lawyer was sadistic.  It wasn’t a good day for him unless he brought a little rain into someone’s life.  He drove me and his other lawyers to work 80 hours a week.  But there was no pleasing him.  Once I asked him what priority to give to two tasks he assigned me.  He said, “The first is priority 1, and the second is priority A.”

And yet I learned a great deal from him.  I learned how to write a business letter and a contract.  I learned how to make a business presentation.  I learned how to confront and attack my work.  I learned how to deal with adversity, stand up to bullies, and stay calm in a legal fight.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but looking back on it now, it occurs to me that you can learn as much or more from your enemies as you can from your friends.

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