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Thyden Gross and Callahan LLPCounselors and Attorneys at Law

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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 July, 2006

Service of Process the Hard Way

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

Service of process consists of giving the other side notice that you have filed a complaint with the court. You can do this in several different ways, as set forth in the rules, but we usually hire a private process server to hand them a copy of the complaint and summons.

You can authorize your attorney to accept service on your behalf and that way there won’t be a process server banging on your door at 3 a.m.

Or trying to serve you at your daughter’s day care center, which is what James Benjamin did when he attempted to serve Barron Stroud with divorce papers in Clarksville, Maryland. Stroud, 40, a partner in a Baltimore law firm, drove off in his Lexus with the windows rolled up.

Benjamin claimed Stroud hit him with his car. Stroud denies it. But Howard County Circuit Court Judge Lenore R. Gelfman found Stroud guilty of second degree assault. Sentencing on the count, which is a misdemeanor, is scheduled for October. — Source: baltimoresun.com by Melissa Harris.

Polyamory

Monday, July 24th, 2006

I had to look this word up. Webster’s defines polyamory as participation in multiple and simultaneous loving or sexual relationships.

WJZ TV in Baltimore has posted this eyewitness news investigation by Kai Jackson on its website.

Polyamory, the practice of multiple relationships, is different than polygamy, which is the practice of multiple marriages.

There is even a polyamorous society in Maryland. It is one alternative to divorce. I have had a few clients decide to stay married even when confronted with a spouse’s other paramour.

Not to put a damper on it, but isn’t this the same thing as the “open marriage” of the sixties? And although the name is fancier, I think it is still also called cheating.

Between Marriages

Tuesday, July 18th, 2006

Although the international situation is desperate as usual, divorce is in the news again today.

CARMEN ELECTRA, former “Baywatch” star and DAVE NAVARRO, former guitarist with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, are amicably separating after their 2003 wedding on MTV’s “Til Death Do Us Part”.

PAUL MCCARTNEY has hired divorce lawyer Fiona Shackleton to handle his divorce from HEATHER MILLS. Shackleton represented PRINCE CHARLES in his divorce from DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES.

And, since divorced people are just people between marriages, these two stories about marriage caught my attention.

Two bachelors wanted to find out the secret of amazing marriages. So they started interviewing peopole with long marriages. They have written a book and made a video called Project Everlasting.

And divorce attorney Paul Sullivan has started Marriage Miracles in LaVale, Maryland, a faith-based service which helps couples having difficulty in their marriage. In his office, Sullivan offers two menus, one for divorce and one for marriage. Seems like a good idea to me.

Maryland Financial Statements

Wednesday, July 12th, 2006

I can never remember which financial statement I have to file and when — the nine page long form at Rule 9-203(a), the one page short form at Rule 9-203(b) or none at all.

Fortunately, the answer is provided in Rule 9-203:

(e) Financial statement – Spousal support. If spousal support is claimed by a party and either party alleges that no agreement regarding support exists, each party shall file a current financial statement in substantially the form set forth in Rule 9-203 (a). The statement shall be filed with the party’s pleading making or responding to the claim. If the claim or the denial of an agreement is made in an answer, the other party shall file a financial statement within 15 days after service of the answer.

(f) Financial statement – Child support.– If establishment or modification of child support is claimed by a party, each party shall file a current financial statement under affidavit. The statement shall be filed with the party’s pleading making or responding to the claim. If the establishment or modification of child support in accordance with the guidelines set forth in Code, Family Law Article, ยงยง 12-201 – 12-204 is the only support issue in the action and no party claims an amount of support outside of the guidelines, the required financial statement shall be in substantially the form set forth in Rule 9-203 (b). Otherwise, the statement shall be in substantially the form set forth in Rule 9-203 (a).

So if you are asking for alimony, file the long form with your complaint or within 15 days of filing your answer.

If you only want guidelines child support, file the short form with your complaint or answer. But if you want child support in excess of the guidelines, file the long form with the complaint or answer.

Burning Down the House

Tuesday, July 11th, 2006

Dr. Nicholas Bartha, 66, of New York recently sent an email to his ex-wife wife saying:

“When you read this … your life will change forever. You deserve it. You will be transformed from gold digger to ash and rubbish digger. You always wanted me to sell the house. I always told you I will leave the house only if I am dead.”

Tuesday morning, the six million dollar town house in New York exploded, injuring 15 people including Dr. Bartha who was pulled alive from the wreckage.

Police and fire officials say a gas line had been tampered with, according to this article by CNN.com.

Divorced in 2005 on grounds of cruelty, Dr. Bartha lost a recent appeal, resulting in a four million dollar judgment against him by his ex. The house was being auctioned to pay for it. He had been served eviction papers on Friday.

Married to the Don Juan of Cons

Monday, July 10th, 2006

Donna Layne Roberts, calls her bigamist ex, William Michael Barber, the Don Juan of Cons.

She is calling for a national database of marriages and divorces so that other victims can investigate before they marry. You can sign her online petition.

Sandra Phipps, who was married to Ed Hicks, now serving time for bigamy, has started a blog called Fighting Bigamy.

It’s Complicated

Wednesday, July 5th, 2006

When I was in highschool, if you gave a girl your school jacket or your school ring, you were spoken for. The girls wrapped the ring in colored yarn to make it fit. In college, you got laveliered or pinned. Eventually you might get engaged, married and/or divorced. These relationships were easy to understand.

These days, you become “Facebook Official”.

According to this article at TMC.Net, you can check a box on your Facebook or MySpace profile labeled “In a Relationship” to become Facebook Official.

This apparently is putting a whole lot more stress on young couples and so Facebook.com has provided a new selection — You can now click a box labeled “It’s Complicated”.

The 85 Percent Rule

Sunday, July 2nd, 2006

We have adopted the 85 percent rule at our office.

If you can get 85 percent of what you want without trying your case, you ought to take it.

The reason is that legal fees are going to cost at least that much.

And the margin of error in even the most open and shut case is at least 15 percent.

The Pebble in My Shoe

Saturday, July 1st, 2006

It is not the mountain I have to climb, but the pebble in my shoe that bothers me.

If your spouse wants something small and it is of little consequence to you, give it up. Remove minor disputes and create an atmosphere of good will, generosity and flexibility in negotiation.

So if she wants her fur coat from the closet, or he wants his golf clubs in the garage, turn them over. Otherwise you may pay many times the value of those items later on.

 
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