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Divorce Lawyers

Thyden Gross and Callahan LLPCounselors and Attorneys at Law



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.

High Conflict People

November 27th, 2015

Someone once asked me what I valued most in a relationship. I said “peace”.

There are people who want just the opposite even though they may not realize it. Bill Eddy of the High Conflict Institute describes them like this:

“High-conflict people (HCPs) have a pattern of high-conflict behavior that increases conflict rather than reducing or resolving it. This pattern usually happens over and over again in many different situations with many different people. The issue that seems in conflict at the time is not what is increasing the conflict. The ‘issue’ is not the issue.”

He says these people have a pervasive need for conflict in their lives. They may not process conflict in their minds the same way that most people typically do nor be capable of resolving disputes.  They argue with you for the sake of arguing.

Are You Being Gaslighted?

November 25th, 2015

gasl2Every so often I make my kids and my wife watch a one of my favorite old time movies like Citizen Kane or Casa Blanca. They usually raise eyebrows at my suggestions and say something smart alecky like, “Is it in black and white?” But they participate in the “what did you learn from this?” discussion that follows.

I think the next one will be Gaslight, the 1944 film, starring Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman. In the movie, the husband tries to drive his wife crazy using various deceptions including turning down the gaslights in the house.

The term is now used to describe similar emotional abuse and manipulations in marriages and relationships. Even smart people are susceptible to gas lighting. It occurs when you allow the other persons voice to outweigh your own memory and perceptions.

Secret to a Happy Marriage Revealed

October 23rd, 2015

Scientists at the University of Georgia have discovered the secret to a long and happy marriage. They surveyed 468 married people and asked questions about finance, communication and expressions of gratitude by their spouses.

“We found that feeling appreciated and believing that your spouse values you directly influences how you feel about your marriage, how committed you are to it, and your belief that it will last,” said Ted Futris, co-author of the study.

They also found that spousal gratitude can solve negative problems in other areas of the relationship as well, such a money problems or arguments.

The most consistent significant predictor of marital quality in the study turned out to be spousal expression of gratitude, that is saying thank you. “It goes to show the power of ‘thank you,’” Allen Barton, lead author, said. “Even if a couple is experiencing distress and difficulty in other areas, gratitude in the relationship can help promote positive marital outcomes.”

The secret of a long and happy marriage? Thank your spouse at every opportunity.

Maryland Alimony Factor #6

October 6th, 2015

The sixth factor the court has to consider in determining the amount and duration of alimony is “the circumstances that contributed to the estrangement of the parties.” MD Family Law Article 11-106(6).

But can adultery after separation contribute to the estrangement of the parties? Nan Willoughby married Robert Willoughby in 1928.  They had a stormy marriage for several years and Nan moved out in 1966 filing for divorce based on constructive desertion. Robert then moved in with another woman and Nan filed a supplemental complaint for adultery.

The trial judge found that the husband’s adultery was the fault that destroyed the home. The husband appealed arguing that the home had been destroyed with the separation of the parties some time before.

The Maryland Court of Appeals disagreed with the husband finding that:

Appellant wishes to isolate one point in time and determine the ‘fault which destroyed the home’ as of that time. We think the concept is broader than this, and permits the trial judge properly to consider all of the circumstances resulting in the destruction of the marriage, including the conduct and acts of the parties both prior and subsequent to actual physical separation.

Willoughby v. Willoughby, 256 Md. 590 (1970)

Divorce Quotes

October 2nd, 2015

“Let miracles replace all grievances.” — A Course in Miracles

It’s Either Me or the Moustache

October 1st, 2015


In Algeria, we hear that a woman has filed for divorce after three months of marriage because her husband will not shave his moustache.

I guess she has never heard the old French idiom:

“Un baiser sans moustache est comme un œuf sans sel!”

(“A kiss without a moustache is like an egg without salt!”)

Backup Husband

September 25th, 2015

In a survey of 1,000 married women, the Daily Mail found that half of them have a “fall-back” partner in case their marriage doesn’t work out.

Backups included ex-boyfriends, ex-husbands, colleagues and friends from the gym. Ten percent said the backup already confessed their love and twenty percent said the backup would drop everything if required. The most common backup was a man the wife had known for around seven years.

No word on whether married men should have a backup wife.

Book Titles I Wish I’d Thought Of

September 15th, 2015

You Can Be Right (or You Can Be Married)


Dana Adam Shapiro

Divorce Care Basket

September 9th, 2015

Gail Saukus, Office Manager for Divorce Attorneys for Women (DAWN) suggests a Divorce Care Basket for someone going through a divorce. She says the basket can include:

  • Comfort. Tea, a pillow, a snuggly, chocolate.
  • Help. Offer to do housecleaning, laundry, babysit.
  • Distractions. Paperback, movie, DVD, girls night out.
  • Beauty. New lipstick or balm, a mani-ped, a facial, a new scarf or earrings.

Let me add that men will appreciate a Divorce Care Basket, too. And my new book, It’s Splitsville, would make an excellent addition to the basket.

Terms and Conditions Unspoken

September 3rd, 2015

When two people enter into a business deal, they usually negotiate and put their agreement in writing so there will be no misunderstandings. Not so, says divorce attorney, Larry Frolick, in the case of a marriage. Frolick describes the unspoken terms and conditions that Mary and Joe think they have in their marriage contract. Perhaps not surprisingly, their terms and conditions are different.

Mary: I’ll love you (and sleep with you and nobody else, listen to your problems and try to help [as long as they are not too overwhelming and especially if they don’t remind me of my alcoholic father’s problems] and keep you company on most weekends [unless the business I intend to start in 36 months takes off and gets me out of town, and unless my sisters call for a family emergency that will take precedence over any situation here, except your heart attack or other life threatening disease]), and I’ll continue to work at my (boring) job to pay for our (first) house (but only for two years after which I expect [based on what you bragged about when we were drinking orange juice and champagne with the Fergusons], that you will start earning $100,000 by then), when we will move to a house (at least as good as my parents’ and in a comparable neighborhood) and have a baby (who had better not remind me, as she grows up, of your mother, whom you’d better stop defending pretty quickly) who will be like me (but who will not be forced into things by her family, like having to escape because they are so demanding and unreasonable) etc., etc.

Joe: I chose to marry you, Mary, because you’re calmer and more deliberate than my mother, so don’t you dare ever do anything that reminds me of her, and especially when I go fishing every spring like my dad, and don’t freak out like she did, about leaving her alone on weekends É etc., etc.

Side Deals.  Then there are the unspoken side deals with third parties: “This marriage doesn’t mean, Mom, that I won’t come home every Thanksgiving for the rest of my life, and sleep in my room and overlook Dad’s fooling around with Mrs. Carter in our little family game we know so well, and I’ll continue to be your little girl/boy, etc.”

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