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Divorce Lawyers

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.

Archive for November, 2006

Prenup Primer

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

My wife told me that Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock are getting divorced after four months of marriage.

I relied “Gee, is it November already?”

Brittany Spears, now estranged from Kevin Federline, had a Prenuptial Agreement.

See this Prenup Primer by Forbes.com at MSNBC.com.

Divorce Blues

Tuesday, November 14th, 2006

Lawyers usually handle the legal and financial issues in a divorce and leave the emotional issues to a counselor or therapist. But I keep a box of tissues on my desk because people cry a lot in my office. Divorce hurts, whether you are the one that’s left or the one that’s leaving. There is not a lot of help or information out there about dealing with the pain of divorce. I stumbled across this site that has some tips and articles on the emotional issues in separation and divorce.

Reasonable Legal Fees for a Divorce –Oxymoron?

Monday, November 13th, 2006

A recent letter to the editor of the American Bar Journal Magazine said that one of the myths of divorce is that your legal fees will be affordable.

One of my clients said that a half hour of my time cost about the same as a piece of jewelry.

My partner, John Thyden, tells clients that a divorce costs about the same amount of money as a car. Then he says that your divorce may be a Volkswagon or a Rolls Royce.

Divorce lawyers charge by the hour and typically take advance fees called retainers. We are prohibited from taking contingent fees for divorces. Our fees are governed by the Code of Professional Responsibility which says that they must be “reasonable”. We are given a set of factors to determine what is reasonable and what is not. The factors include such things as how complex the case is and the amounts at stake.

Gary Cohen, a divorce lawyer in Greenwich, Connecticut represented a real estate developer in a marital estate worth one hundred million dollars. Mr. Cohen’s fee was $450 an hour. However, during mediation he asked his client for a three hundred thousand dollar bonus, which pushed his fee to $1,500 an hour. Now he is being investigated by state disciplinary officials to see if his fee was reasonable or not. From News 8 in Connecticut.

Shacking Up for Seniors

Friday, November 3rd, 2006

Divorce, like everything else, becomes more complicated with age. That is because there are usually more assets, like real estate, businesses, stocks and pensions to sort out.

Now comes word that more and more seniors are opting to live together without benefit of matrimony to protect their assets and avoid the financial entanglements of marriage and divorce.

There are problems created by living together however. If one party owns the house, and that party dies, for example. The other party can be thrown out by the heirs and end up homeless.

Or if both parties have contributed to the mortgage and repairs of a house for several years, and they split up, this can lead to claims and litigation.

There are two legal solutions to these situations depending on whether you want to get married or not. If you are living together, a Cohabitation Agreement can set out rights and responsibilities even though you are not married.

With a Cohabitation Agreement, the parties can fix their respective rights and liabilities with respect to property and other matters and thereby avoid conflicts later. They can ensure their living arrangement will not constitute a common law marriage in those states that still allow it.

The parties can determine how they will pay household bills. For example, they can set up a joint bank account to which each contributes a fixed amount per month. And they can agree that purchases made with these funds will be joint property.

A Cohabitation Agreement will usually define separate property. For example, separate property may include all assets at the beginning of the cohabitation plus gifts and inheritances, plus earnings before and during the cohabitation.

You can agree that joint property will be property purchased together during cohabitation with each owning a certain percentage of joint property. Commingled property can be presumed to be joint property. Upon termination of the agreement, that is when and if you cease to live together, joint property will be dividing according to percentage of ownership. Here is an example of a Cohabitation Agreement.

If you wish to marry, then a Pre-Nuptial Agreement can your protect assets, including real estate, stocks, pensions and business interests.

In connection with both Agreements, you may need to change deeds, insurance policies, pension beneficiaries and your will to make sure everything goes to the right person in the event of death.

 
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