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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.

Legal Fees

October 14th, 2014

Divorce lawyer Morris Green answered his phone on the second ring as was his custom.

“Morris!,” said the angry voice on the other end, “This is Ivana Copernica.  I’m calling you about your client, Stanton Fields.  Did you know that he has taken $10,000 out of his pension plan?”

“Yes, I did know,” Green replied calmly.

“He can’t do that.”

“Why not?”

“Because it’s marital property and my client did not agree,” said Ivana.

“I don’t think that your client’s consent is required.  Marital funds are expended by one party or the other in almost every divorce.  Unless they have separate property, that’s how they pay their living expenses.”

“What did he spend $10,000 on?” inquired Ivana.

“Why, his legal fees, of course.”

“Legal fees are not a marital expense.  That is a dissipation of marital assets and we’re going to ask the court to make him put those fees back in the pension account,” snapped Ivana.

“Before you do that, Ivana, better read the Allison case.  I’ll email it to you.  Let me read you the holding.  ‘We hold that when, as here, a spouse uses marital property to pay his or her own reasonable attorney’s fees, such expenditures do not constitute dissipation of marital assets.’”

Allison v. Allison, 160 Md. App. 331, 864 A.2d 191 (2004)

Related posts:

  1. Reasonable Legal Fees for a Divorce –Oxymoron?
  2. $36 Million in Legal Fees and Still Fighting
  3. On Marital and Nonmarital Assets
  4. Negotiation Tip: Listen for Leakage
  5. No Negative Marital Property

Divorces and Wedding Expenses

October 9th, 2014

A study out of Emory University by Andrew M. Francis and Hugo M. Mialon takes a look at wedding expenses and divorces and finds some interesting relationships.

You are more likely to get a divorce if you spent between $2,000 and $4,000 on a wedding ring than those who spent more than $4,000 or less than $2,000.

People who spent $20,000 or more on the wedding were more likely to get a divorce than those who spent less than $10,000.

Related posts:

  1. Black Wedding Dress
  2. January Top Month for Divorces
  3. Divorce Vacation
  4. Robot Performs Wedding
  5. Anti-Cheating Ring

How to Request a Hearing

October 7th, 2014

If you think it’s easy being a lawyer, listen to this.  We have to be aware of a multitude of laws, cases, rules and regulations.  And they keep changing.

If you want a hearing on a motion or response to a motion, Md. Rule 2-311(f) requires  you to request it in the motion or response under the heading “Request for Hearing”.   The court can decide whether or not to hold a hearing, but it cannot dispose of a claim or defense without a hearing if one was requested.

However, in 2011, the Rules Committee added another sentence to the rule.  The new sentence says, “The title of the motion or response shall state that a hearing is requested.”  So now you have to put the request for a hearing in the body of the motion or response under the proper heading, and in the title as well – or you might not get your hearing!

Related posts:

  1. Redlining Amended Pleadings
  2. Checklist for DC Uncontested Divorce Hearing
  3. Subpoena!
  4. Equitable Distribution in North Carolina
  5. Late Counterclaim

County Songs We Wish We’d Written

October 3rd, 2014

Neon Light

by Blake Shelton

Ever since you left me
I’ve been ridin’ ’round, cranking up a little country gold heartbreak
Cried and dried these tears
I don’t know how much more missin’ you I can take

I prayed, prayed, prayed
For a sign, sign, sign
Now there it is in the window
It’s about time, damn time

There’s a neon light at the end of the tunnel
It ain’t all that bright, but even though it’s subtle
It’s got me feeling alright, gonna make it a double
There’s a neon light at the end of the tunnel, tunnel, tunnel

I take a shot of I don’t care what you’re doing now
Chase that one with a cold screw you
When that’s done, I just might wash it down
With a big pitcher of someone new

That blonde, blonde, blonde
At the bar, bar, bar
See if she wants to try and break my heart, heart, heart

There’s a neon light at the end of the tunnel
It ain’t all that bright, but even though it’s subtle
It’s got me feeling alright, gonna make it a double
There’s a neon light at the end of the tunnel, tunnel, tunnel

When we were together
I thought life would suck forever
Even though I knew better than the pain would never end
They say the night’s darkest just before the dawn
Gets kissed by the day break, got down on my knees

And I prayed, prayed, prayed
For a sign, sign, sign
Now there it is in the window
It’s about time, damn time

There’s a neon light at the end of the tunnel
It ain’t all that bright, but even though it’s subtle
It’s got me feeling alright, gonna make it a double
There’s a neon light at the end of the tunnel tunnel tunnel

Related posts:

  1. Country Songs We Wish We’d Written
  2. Country Songs We Wish We’d Written
  3. Country Songs We Wish We’d Written
  4. Divorce Songs We Wish We’d Written
  5. Divorce Songs We Wish We’d Written

Persephone

October 2nd, 2014

Lawyers are usually pretty good story tellers.  My mother gave me a big book about myths to read when I was growing up and I’ve given a big book of myths to my kids.  There are a lot of good stories in mythology.

Last night, I was watching Shark Tank, one of my favorite tv shows.  Kevin O’Leary used a story about the mythical goddess, Persephone, to make a point.

She was the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, the harvest goddess.  She was garthering flowers when she was abducted by Pluto and taken to Hades.  Persephone became queen of  the underworld and the goddess who brings us Spring and vegetation.

Only O’Leary pronounced her name as “PERS-a-phone”.  Which does not sound nearly as good as the correct pronunciation, “Per-SEPH-a-nee”.

Related posts:

  1. End of Summer Means More Divorces

Maryland Lowers Proof Required in Domestic Violence Cases

September 25th, 2014

by Nelson Garcia

Effective October 1, 2014, Maryland will become the last state in the nation to relax the burden of proof required for victims of domestic violence to obtain a final court order for protection from domestic violence. Maryland law for many years has required that in order to grant a final protective order a judge must find by “clear and convincing evidence” that the respondent has committed one of several prohibited acts against the petitioner. As of October 1st, Maryland will finally join other states that utilize the “preponderance of the evidence” standard in determining whether to grant or extend a final protective order (Fam. Law Art., Sec. 4-506 (c)(1)(ii)).

A “burden of proof” is the duty or obligation a person has in a court proceeding to prove their case. There are several different burdens of proof that are used in various court proceedings.

The most well-known standard is guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt” used in criminal cases. This standard essentially means that if the jury has no doubt as to the defendant’s guilt or if their only doubts are unreasonable, then the burden has been met.

The “preponderance of the evidence” standard, applicable in most civil cases, is the lowest burden of proof one must meet, requiring just enough evidence to establish that a fact is more likely true than not true, or more probable than not (in other words greater than 50%, however slightly over 50% that might be, or enough to “tip the balance”).

The current “clear and convincing” standard lies somewhere between the above two, requiring less than would be required for “beyond a reasonable doubt” and more than “preponderance of the evidence,” although there must be a high probability that something is true in order to meet this burden.

As examples, in situations of ongoing manipulation/control by one party over the other and threats may not be construed as a danger to someone’s safety under the clear and convincing evidence standard, but could be under the preponderance of the evidence standard, allowing a Judge to more easily find that such has caused the victim reasonable fear of serious imminent bodily harm, which is one of the enumerated prohibited acts in the Maryland domestic violence statute.

Remedies available when a final protective order is granted include that an abuser cease all contact with the victim, to stay out of his or her house, temporarily relinquish custody of any children the two share and surrender all firearms.

Related posts:

  1. Domestic Violence Court
  2. Don’t Be Cruel
  3. Hiring Private Eye Does Not Violate Protective Order
  4. Taking Exceptions
  5. How to Divorce Proof Your Business

Celebrity Divorce News

September 23rd, 2014

If you have been “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” on television, you will be interested to know that Kris Jenner filed divorce papers against Bruce Jenner yesterday in Los Angeles Superior Court, citing irreconcilable differences.

The couple have been married for 23 years.  It is the third marriage for Bruce and the second for Kris.  They had no prenuptial agreement.

The split appears to be amicable and the parties have agreed on joint physical and legal custody of their only child who is still a minor, Kylie Jenner.  Neither is asking for alimony.

Related posts:

  1. Celebrity Divorce News
  2. Celebrity Divorce News
  3. Celebrity Marriage News
  4. How The Rich and Famous Settle
  5. Conflict Resolution System

Doctor Loses License for Failure to Pay Child Support

September 16th, 2014

The Maryland Board of Physicians has suspended the medical license of Rockville eye surgeon, Michael Duplessie, for failure to pay child support.

Duplessie, however, has left the country and opened an office in Kuwait.

Duplessie owes more than $100,000 in past due child support.  The mother has several judgments against him.

The Board says it has used its power to suspend a medical license in only four other cases.

Related posts:

  1. Maryland’s New Child Support Guidelines
  2. MD Mulls Child Support for College
  3. Lawmakers Vote on New Child Support Bill
  4. Lowering Child Support Payments
  5. No MD Child Support Revisions This Year

Husband Jailed for Hiding Assets in Divorce

September 11th, 2014

Promising that his wife would not get anything from him in his divorce, including child support, Steven K. Zinnel, 50, of California, filed bankruptcy in 2005.  He also asked the FBI to investigate his wife.

That backfired when investigators learned that Zinnel himself was hiding millions of dollars of business and real estate assets in other people’s names.

Federal officials said he was a narcissist and accused him of fraud on both the bankruptcy and family courts.  He was sentenced to 17 years and eight months in prison, fined $500,000 and forced to forfeit $2.8 million in assets.

Related posts:

  1. Why We Hire Experts to Value Assets
  2. Reopening a Divorce for Fraud
  3. Intrinsic Fraud
  4. Extrinsic Fraud
  5. Husband Pays Ex $2.7 Million for Half of Maddoff Fund

Honey Maid Ad Targets Blended Families

September 9th, 2014

Honey Maid, which makes those delicious graham-crackers, is celebrating families that have been reconfigured by divorce.

The company’s new advertising campaign is intended to send a message that: “Just because a family has broken up doesn’t mean they are broken.”

Gary Osifhin, a marketing director with Honey Maid’s parent company, Mondelez International, points out that one in ten of the 73 million children in America live with a step-parent.  And 42% of American adults are part of a blended family.

Related posts:

  1. Divorce and Children (Part 1)
  2. But, Honey, It Was on Sale
  3. The Gore Divorce
  4. Children and Divorce (Part 3 – Older Children)
  5. January Top Month for Divorces
 
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