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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.

Archive for August, 2008

You Can’t Cancel a Contract with Your Ex for Spite

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

?Tom Clancy ought to write a book about his divorce.  He would have plenty of material.  The litigation between him and Wanda King, formerly Wanda Clancy until the divorce in 1999,
continues.

In 1992, the Clancy’s formed the Jack Ryan Limited Partnership, to write, sell and publish books and engage in related activities.  The partnership entered into a joint venture in which Tom Clancy’s name was used on a series of books written by another author.  Wanda and Tom agreed to continue the partnership in their Marriage Property Agreement and Tom would be the managing partner.

After the fourteenth book, Clancy withdrew the permission to use of his name.  Wanda sued for breach of contract and asked the court to make her the general partner.  The Circuit Court for Calvert County, Maryland, agreed and also awarded her over $500,000 in attorney fees.  The Maryland Court of Special Appeals affirmed.

But the Maryland Court of Appeals sent the case back for the Circuit Court.  The appeals judges told the court that it must determine whether or not Tom Clancy breached the Marital Property Agreement in order award attorney fees.  It must also decide whether Clancy acted in bad faith in canceling the use of his name to spite his ex wife for the divorce.  The Court quote a Seinfeld episode, in which Jerry tries to return a shirt because he didn’t like the sales clerk.

Bob: You can’t return an item based purely
on spite.
Jerry: Well, so fine then . . . then I don’t want it and then
that’s why I’m returning it.
Bob: Well you already said spite so . . . .
Jerry: But I changed my mind.
Bob: No, you said spite. Too late.

Read the case (PDF).

Laptop on Holiday Leads to Breakups

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

Taking a laptop on holiday can break up a family warns Professor of Psychology, Gary Cooper, of Lancaster University in the Daily Express.

“People seem to think a holiday is about having a short break and catching the sun while doing a bit of work. That’s dumb,” according to the Professor. “A holiday isn’t just for rest and recuperation but to commune again with your family, connect with your children. Obviously if the employee is stupid enough to take their laptop with them and tell their employer that they are available, then they are going to be exploited.”

I must confess that I have taken a laptop with me on every vacation with my family. Deb Shinder says she does too at wxpnews.com. She points out that laptops can be misused on a vacation just like a book, golf clubs or a fishing rod. But they are a tool than can allow you to get away from work and take a vacation in the first place. And they can benefit your family time by provoking interesting conversation, providing entertainment and helping you find places and things to do while on your vacation.

Do you take your laptop on vacation? Do you think your spouse ought to leave the laptop at home? Let us know what you think.

Divorce Stories

Sunday, August 17th, 2008

?What do you say when someone asks you about your former spouse or marriage?  Is it an awkward moment?

Miss Conduct, who is Robin Abrahams, a writer with a PhD in psychology, answered this question from a reader today in the Sunday Boston Globe.

People use stories, Miss Conduct says, to make sense of the world.  If you don’t provide them with one, they will supply their own, and it might not be one of your liking.  So you have the chance to provide a story that you want them to repeat to others.

Miss Conduct suggests one like this:

“Who can ever explain why these things happen? We realized we wanted different things out of life [or a similarly elevated but basically accurate summary], and it just didn’t seem possible to go on as a couple. We’re still on good terms, though, and I’m doing OK.”

She says this story tells them there were causes for the divorce but even you don’t know them all, your ex is not a villain, and you are not devastated and don’t need a lot of emotional support.

What is your divorce story?

Divorce Quotes

Saturday, August 16th, 2008

My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.
Rodney Dangerfield

No Fear

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

Fear is a prevalent emotion during a divorce.  And there are a lot of things to be afraid of, like:

  • An uncertain future
  • Financial hardships
  • Loneliness
  • Unhappiness

“I have many great fears of my pending divorce. I’m afraid of my kids looking at another man as a second dad. Though we have agreed on joint custody of our 4-year-old boy and unborn child, that still means they will be with her next husband the same amount of time I am. I’m afraid that I will never be as happy with anyone else as I have been with my wife. I know I will get jealous of her being with another man – being intimate with him, telling him she loves him. It tears me apart inside.” Andy’s Dad at Divorce360.com

Andy says his wife was his one true love.  But let me tell you one of the Secrets of the Universe.  True loves are like street cars.  There’s another one coming along every five minutes.

Here’s another Secret of the Universe.  You only meet your one true love after you have lost your one true love.  Just ask my clients who have remarried.

Andy’s Dad’s fears are reasonable, but given time, they will become less and less important to him.  His life will become complicated with new relationships.  Eventually his fears will fade, and his feelings will become peace, tranquility, serenity and happiness.

What are your divorce fears?  Feel free to leave them in the comments section.

Mother’s Custody Rights

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

By Jill H. Breslau

Historically, in Maryland, there was a time when the father was the preferred custodian for the children, since he had the duty to provide for their protection, education, and maintenance.

Later, there was a maternal preference, especially in the case of young children, called the Tender Years Doctrine. Now, the law requires that neither parent be given preference solely because of his or her sex.

The standard for determining custody is the Best Interest Standard; that is, what arrangement for access to both parents will be in the best interest of the child. There are many criteria for Best Interest, but the court has broad discretion to make decisions. Factors considered in custody disputes include the fitness of the parents, their character and reputation, what the parents want and what agreements they may have reached, the preference of a child who is old enough to form “a rational judgment,” the age, health, and sex of the child, and such other factors as whether there has been abandonment, abuse, or adultery (if detrimental to the child).

What does that mean, in practice? Statistics reflect that in the vast majority of divorces, mothers get primary custody—whether by agreement or by court order. Why? Because the law looks backward to determine the future. Whatever circumstances have existed before carry the most weight in a court’s determination about what ought to happen in the future. So if a mother has been the person who has taken the children to the doctor, if she knows their teachers and their clothing sizes and who their friends are, if she has made the babysitter arrangements and play dates and handled most of the day-to-day decision-making and discipline of the children, she will have a good chance of obtaining custody.

 
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