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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.

Divorce Quotes

April 17th, 2015

“Wherever a new disagreement emerges, so does new hope for enlightenment, on both sides of the fence.” — Mike Dooley, Notes from the Universe

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Md Legislature Adds Mutual Consent to Grounds for Divorce

April 16th, 2015

The Maryland General Assembly has added “Mutual Consent” as new grounds for absolute divorce in Maryland, eliminating the waiting period, if

(1) the parties do not have any minor children in common;

(2) the parties execute and submit to the court a written settlement agreement signed by both parties that resolves all  issues relating to alimony and the distribution of property;

(3) neither party files a pleading to set aside the settlement agreement prior to the divorce hearing required under the Maryland rules; and

(4) both parties appear before the court at the absolute divorce hearing.

The new law, when signed by the Governor, will take effect October 1, 2015.

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Would You Let Your Children Walk Home Alone

April 15th, 2015

by Nelson A. Garcia

Rafi Meitiv, age 10, and his sister Dvora, age 6, were walking along Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring when a passerby spotted them and called the police. A police officer asked the children what they were doing, to which Rafi replied, walking home from the park. The officer then went to the Meitivs’ house to talk with the parents, Alexander and Danielle Meitiv, who were amazed that their efforts to give their children independence has landed them in legal trouble.

In February, 2015, Child Protective Services said the parents committed “unsubstantiated neglect” of their two children,  This means that this agency will keep a file on the family for at least five years, which could leave the Meitivs vulnerable to prosecution if they let their children, walk home unattended again

The couple intend to appeal the finding, and say they will continue to allow their children to play or walk together without adult supervision.  “We don’t feel it was appropriate for an investigation to start, much less conclude that we are responsible for some form of child neglect,” Danielle Meitiv said.  The couple practice what is known as “free-range parenting”, which is a belief that kids should be given the tools and confidence to safely navigate their neighborhood without their parents.

Maryland law prohibits children under the age of eight from being left unattended in a dwelling or car, but makes no reference to the outdoors. Maryland law also allows children from the age of 13 to supervise other children. This may be the case that forces Maryland Courts to clarify the law in this area.  It raises the question of what age should children be considered old enough to be on their own in public.  Also when should authorities step in to trump the rights of parents to decide this question for their children and otherwise decide how to raise their children.

Nelson A. Garcia

For more information about this case, call Nelson A. Garcia at 301-907-4580301-907-4580 (extension 103) or email him at ngarcia@tgclawyers.com

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Sweatpants Are Number One Reason for Divorce

March 25th, 2015

Eva Mendes says the number one reason for divorce is sweatpants.  That got a lot of pushback on social media but I think I know what she meant.  Sweatpants is just a symbol for a way of life.

In the sixties, some men grew their hair long.  Others objected to that.  But it wasn’t really the long hair they were objecting to.  They were really objecting to the hippie lifestyle and liberal belief system that long hair represented.

Think of a complicated set of beliefs as a suitcase.  Then use another word as a handle to carry that suitcase around.  For example, lawyers use the handle res ipsa loquitur meaning “the thing speaks for itself”.  This is a presumption that helps prove something by circumstantial evidence.  An example is if you see a broken flower pot on the sidewalk and a ledge above with flower pots, you can presume the flower pot fell off the ledge even though you didn’t see it happen.  But that’s too complicated to explain to the judge every time, so a lawyer might just say “res ipsa” and the judge knows what the lawyer means.

I think that Ms. Mendes was using sweatpants as a shortcut to say that you have to work at a marriage.  She meant you can’t just have an I-don’t-care sweatpants attitude about your relationship.  You have to bring a yoga pants attitude to your marriage.  That means you need to care about your spouse and your marriage.   And that means doing things like saying “I love you”, showing affection, talking, and being interested in their life.

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Divorce Quotes

March 13th, 2015

There is no negotiating with crazy.  — Brian Perskin, NY Divorce Lawyer

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Breakup Songs We Wish We’d Written

February 20th, 2015

Gone

by

Rip Chords (1963)

[SPOKEN]
We’ve been going steady
And you’ve been making me cry
Now it’s your turn, baby
So I’m saying bye-bye

[CAR ENGINE SOUND]
Gone, gone, gone
My baby’s gone, gone, gone
Yes, she’s gone (gone, gone, gone)
Yes, she’s gone (gone, gone, gone)
Whoa, she’s gone

Oh yeah, she’s gone, gone, gone
My baby’s gone, gone, gone
Where’d she go
I wanna know

Oh tell me why
She said bye-bye
And made me cry
I wonder why

She was the only one
Now she’s gone
And I’m the lonely one

My baby’s gone, gone, gone
My baby’s gone, gone, gone
Yes, she’s gone (gone, gone, gone)
Yes, she’s gone (gone, gone, gone)
Whoa, she’s gone

Just let her go, go, go
Let her go, go, go
No, no, no (go, go, go)
No, no, no (go, go, go)
No, no, no (go, go, go)

[repeat "no no no" several times]

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Breach of Promise to Marry

February 19th, 2015

Professor April Domino looked over her horn-rimmed glasses at her Domestic Relations class.  She wore navy pants and jacket with a bright red silk blouse.  She used the Socratic Method, which is the classic law school process of teaching by asking questions.

“Amanda!” she called out, picking a student at random off the seating chart.  “Your client calls you and says her fiancé has called off the wedding and taken her engagement ring.  She has spent a fortune on the caterer and has had to go to therapy for the trauma.  Can you sue him?”

“Yes,” Amanda answers.  “Sue him for damages for breach of a promise to marry.”

“Congratulations, Amanda, you’ve just lost your first case!  To find out why, read Section 3-102 of the Maryland Family Law Article.

Embarrassed in front of her classmates, Amanda went to the library and pulled the book from the shelf.  She turned to Section 3-102 and read:

3-102. Action for breach of promise to marry.

(a)  In general.- Unless the individual is pregnant, an individual:

(1) has no cause of action for breach of promise to marry; and

(2) may not bring an action for breach of promise to marry regardless of where the cause of action arose.

Amanda decided she liked domestic relations and she vowed to make an A in that class.

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Pre-Divorce Checklist

February 6th, 2015

The family law attorneys of Gower & Bluck put together this helpful infographic of ten things you need to do before you file for divorce.

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Depreciation as Income

February 4th, 2015

In the Mumma case, the wife called the court’s attention to the depreciation deduction that the Husband was taking for his business.  She pointed out that depreciation is a non-cash flow event and so the money is available to the Husband.

The argument on the other side is that equipment really does wear out and needs to be replaced eventually.  When it does, it will take cash flow to purchase new equipment.

Taking a look at the Maryland Child Support Guidelines in Section 12-201 of the Family Law Article, we see that income from self employment means gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses.

However, the statute goes on to say that ordinary and necessary expenses do not include accelerated depreciation, investment tax credits, or any other expenses the court determines in not appropriate to subtract.

So what about straight line depreciation?  Does the fact that the law expressly disqualifies accelerated depreciation but not straight line depreciation mean you get to deduct it from income?  Or does the catch-all provision at the end allow the court to decide?  In the cases I have tried, the trial judges have included straight line depreciation as income.

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Loans as Income

January 29th, 2015

The IRS does not consider a loan to be income.

But if you own your own business, you can manipulate your income.  So if someone owes you $50,000 for goods and services, you don’t bill them until next year.  You have your business borrow $50,000 from the bank, using your $50,000 accounts receivable as collateral.  Then your business loans $50,000 to you for your living expenses.

Is your income zero or $50,000?

It’s a situation where you will want to have an accountant as an expert witness.  And even then, the accountants for each side will have conflicting opinions.  I’ve had cases where the judge decided to include loans as income.

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