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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.

Archive for April, 2006

Child Relocation Law in Maryland

Sunday, April 30th, 2006

Four years after the divorce, the mother decided to move from Maryland to Arizona with a young daughter in the case of Braun v. Headley, 131 Md.App 588, 750 A.2d 624 (2000) decided by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.

The mother had custody and the father had visitation every other weekend. The mother filed to modify visitation and the father filed to modify custody.

The court used a “best interest of the child” analysis and found in favor of the father.

The court said that the father had been actively involved in the child’s life and had consistently exercised his visitation rights. The court also said that relocation would disrupt substantial and meaningful contact with the parent left behind and that there were extended family members in Maryland who had a meaningful relationship with the child.

Relocation with Children

Saturday, April 29th, 2006

Linda D. Elrod is writing a book for the American Bar Association entitled A Lawyer’s Guide to Handling Relocation Cases. We got a preview in this month’s Family Advocate. She says that the states fall into three general categories on relocation:

1. Relocation is not a change in circumstances (so the parent with physical custody usually wins).

2. Relocation is a sufficient change for a hearing and the parent that wants to move has the initial burden of proving it is in the child’s best interest then the burden shifts to the other parent to show the move is not in the child’s best interest.

3. Relocation may be a change of circumstances but there are no presumptions and each parent has to prove it is in the child’s best interest to be with him or her.

Breakup.Com

Friday, April 28th, 2006

Nora Lockwood Tooher wrote an article in this week’s LawyersUSA called Breakup.Com. It is about the divorces of people who met on the Internet. She quoted me in the article:

“Chevy Chase, Md. divorce lawyer James Gross has had several clients like this. He speculated that couples who meet online may have shorter courtships – because they feel they already know each other through their online conversations. But in some cases, he said, short courtships can mask differences which lead to major marital conflicts.”

Other divorce lawyers told her that people who meet on line have no more odds of divorce than people who meet in real life. They have a chance to screen people without being affected by physical chemistry that can cloud judgment in real life. “There is something to be said for having your communication sober” said one divorce lawyer.

Negotiation Tip: How to Persuade

Thursday, April 27th, 2006

I am beholden to mediator John Spiegel for this idea. We all think that the way to persuade people is to talk and talk and talk until they light bulb goes off, they smack their foreheads and say “OH! Now I see what you are saying!”

But it usually doesn’t work that way. The more we talk, the more resistant the other side becomes.

The real way to persuade is to listen. And ask questions. Only then can you learn and understand what will persuade the other person.

Divorce as a Wealth Redistribution Event

Wednesday, April 26th, 2006

Divorce can reduce a person’s wealth by 77% compared to a single person. And people who stay married can accumulate about twice as much wealth as a single or divorced person. That’s the result of a study at Ohio State University.

You’ve been divorced twice? Let’s see. You lost half in the first marriage and half in the second. So you have half of a half left. Yep, about 25%.

And, because of taxes, you have to earn twice as much to get back what you lost.

On the other hand, you have more knowledge, skills, wisdom and contacts now. So it doesn’t take as long to earn it the next time. At least that’s been my experience.

A Good Settlement

Tuesday, April 25th, 2006

A good settlement is where each side gives up 60%.

Denise Richards vs. Charlie Sheen

Monday, April 24th, 2006

Denise Richards, 35, has obtained a Protective Order against Charlie Sheen, 40. Her 17 page affidavit, filed in their divorce and custody battle, has been published on the Internet. If you don’t want to read it, here is the summary: drugs, gambling, hookers, abuse and porn. Sheen replies, “I deeply regret her response to my request for the court to decide what’s best for our children has taken the form of baseless allegations that I deny. For the sake of my children, I am electing not to reciprocate in kind.”

Dash Cash

Friday, April 21st, 2006

You may be saving for a vacation or college education for your children but are you socking away extra money for a divorce? It is one of life’s milestones that the financial planners usually leave out of your plan. However, women are ahead of men in banking on divorce, according to this survey in Australia. Matt Wade reports that 3% of women and only 1% of men said they were saving for a divorce.

New Law Allows Court to Transfer Marital Home

Thursday, April 20th, 2006

The Maryland Legislature has passed Bill 452 which will allow the court to transfer a marital residence from one spouse to the other. Currently, Maryland law only permits the court to order the sale of the residence to a third party with the sales proceeds divided evenly between the parties. The new law takes effect October 1, 2006.

Marital Discord Over Housework

Wednesday, April 19th, 2006

Who knew there was so much involved in this issue? According to Lisa Belkin in this story, married women spend twice as much time on housework as married men, and single women spend twice as much time on it as single men.

Apparently, housework shows up right after money as the top issue of discord in marriages.

And the difference in sexes shows up in attitudes about housework, too. To a woman, a cluttered living room isn’t just a cluttered living room. It is a failure to live up to her mother’s standards, a rebellion against those standards or the judgment of neighbors who have higher standards.

To men, working with the washer and dryer or the vacuum cleaner is the domestic equivalent of working with heavy machinery — all those buttons, timers and buzzers.

 
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