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Thyden Gross and Callahan LLPCounselors and Attorneys at Law



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 September, 2008

Abba’s Solution to Money Crisis

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

“Money, Money, Money”



I work all night, I work all day, to pay the bills I have to pay
Ain’t it sad
And still there never seems to be a single penny left for me
That’s too bad
In my dreams I have a plan
If I got me a wealthy man
I wouldn’t have to work at all, I’d fool around and have a ball

Money, money, money
Must be funny
In the rich man’s world
Money, money, money
Always sunny
In the rich man’s world
All the things I could do
If I had a little money
It’s a rich man’s world

A man like that is hard to find but I can’t get him off my mind
Ain’t it sad
And if he happens to be free I bet he wouldn’t fancy me
That’s too bad
So I must leave, I’ll have to go
To Las Vegas or Monaco
And win a fortune in a game, my life will never be the same

Celebrity Marriage News

Monday, September 29th, 2008

Ryan Reynolds and Scarlett Johansson got married yesterday.  I wish them the best of luck, but the wags at have posted an article entitled, “Place Your Bets”.  You can vote for “when the fat lady sings” – one year, five years or till death.


Thursday, September 25th, 2008

Yesterday, I thought I had reached agreement with opposing counsel in a divorce case.  Today, opposing counsel has taken my simple three line agreement and turned it into a complex, ambiguous, three-page legal instrument that misstates the deal and satisfies no one.  As a result we are headed back to court.

A former boss once told me if I wanted to write well as a lawyer, I should read Shakespeare.

Maryland Rule 2-303(b) says each averment of a pleading shall be “simple, concise and direct”.

Washington state has a similar Rule 8(a) which requires a “short and plain statement” of allegations.  After reading a 465 page complaint, Judge Ronald Leighton, U.S. District Court, wrote this opinion:

“Plaintiff has a great deal to say,
But it seems he skipped Rule 8(a).
His Complaint is too long,
Which renders it wrong,
Please re-write and re-file today.”

This reminds me of two limericks that are good examples of making your point concisely:

“There was a young man from Peru,
Who ended his limericks at line two.”

“There was a young man from Verdun.”

Divorce Lawyer Is New Fall Fashion Accessory

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

Vogue Magazine has published the 40 best trends for Autumn.

Number 13 on this list of most useful accessories is the divorce lawyer.

“The new best friend: a good divorce lawyer: cometh the credit crunch, cometh the great settlement,” says Vogue.

The theory is that the current financial woes on Wall Street may have an adverse impact on those marriages based more on material advantages than love.

State Shuts Down Online Divorce Company

Friday, September 19th, 2008

Many clients ask about getting an online divorce.  I have seen a couple of on line agreements that weren’t filled out properly by the clients.  And I have seen one for Washington, DC, where the on line form terminated child support at age 18.  DC law provides for child support until age 21.

Now comes news of the State Attorney General’s Office for Washington State closing down Online Divorce, a Delaware Company.  According to Hector Castro at SeattlePI.Com, the company charged $249 for a divorce and claimed that its staff included “divorce specialists.”

But after complaints from customers that they couldn’t get services or refunds, the state began investigating and found that the company was providing paralegal services without attorney oversight, a violation of state law.  The company ceased doing business in Washington state and at last report is looking for an attorney.

Changing Your Name

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

I saw a tv show where the lawyer called his witness to the stand.

“Please state your name in a loud and clear voice for the court,” said the lawyer.

“Objection!” shouted the opposing counsel rising to his feet.

“Basis?” said the judge peering over his glasses from the bench.

“Hearsay, Your Honor.  The witness has no personal knowledge of his name.  He has only heard it from other people and those are inadmissable as out of court statements.”

Real life lawyering, alas, is not like television lawyering, and I once had a judge say to me, “Counsel, if you really want to make a hearsay objection to every school and medical record, we are never going to get through this trial.”

As it turns out, under the common law, you can call yourself by any name you want to call yourself, as long as it is not done for an illegal, fraudulent or immoral purpose.  You do not need a court order to do so.

But if you want to change your name on your driver’s license, voter registration or social security card, the agencies involved will usually require you to get a court order.

One way to do this is in a divorce.  Family Law Section 7-105 provides that the court shall change the name of a party to either the name given at birth or any other former name the party wishes to use.

Sometimes people like to keep their married name even after a divorce.  Maybe they have built up a business reputation under that name or they want to keep the same surname as the children.  One question I get from time to time is, “Can I make my wife stop using my surname after a divorce?”  The answer is no since people have a right to call themselves by any name they wish.

What if you want a new name that you haven’t used before?  The divorce court cannot do it, but Maryland Rule 15-901 provides another way to obtain a court order changing your name by filing a Petition for Change of Name and publishing notice in the newspaper.

Free Guide to Collaborative Divorce

Monday, September 15th, 2008

Divorce Magazine has published a free Guide to Collaborative Divorce which you can download in pdf format.  The guide contains informative interviews with Stuart Webb, who came up with the idea, and Pauline Tessler, who wrote the book on Collaborative Divorce.  Collaborative law is one of several ways to reach an agreement in a divorce.  Each party hires a lawyer trained in Collaborative Law and they proceed through four way meetings to identify problems, explore options and negotiate solutions.

Free Book on Cheating

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Courtesy of the Oprah Show, between now and 4 p.m. EST Friday, September 12, 2008, you can download a free copy of The Truth About Cheating. Author M. Gary Neuman explores why men stray and what you can do to prevent it.

Some Advice for Obama on Pigs in Lipstick and Cows with Five Legs

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

Being born in Missouri, I know my way around a farm, and I am familiar with the phrase that Obama used yesterday.

He was talking about McCain and Palin’s new “change” mantra.  He said you can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.

The McCain campaign said that was a sexist remark and that since Palin is the only candidate who wears lipstick, Obama was calling Palin a pig.

I recommend that Obama stop talking about pigs and start talking about cows instead.  He need only look for example to that great president from his own home state of Illinois.

When Abraham Lincoln was a lawyer arguing a case, he used this line of questioning:

Lincoln said, “Well, let’s see how many legs has a cow?”

“Four, of course,” came the reply disgustedly.

“That’s right,” agreed Lincoln. “Now suppose you call the cow’s tail a leg; how many legs would the cow have?”

“Why, five, of course,” was the confident reply.

“Now, that’s where you’re wrong,” said Lincoln. “Calling a cow’s tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”

Nobody called Lincoln sexist for this and everybody understood what he meant.

The Divorce Gene

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

Scientists have found a gene they say is linked to an increased risk of breakdown in relationships, according to an article in the Telegraph by Roger Highfield today.

The researchers found that men with one version of a gene – called the “334” version, or allele, had low scores on a Patnership Bonding Test and were less likely to be married or reported having marital difficulties.

“Women married to men who carry one or two copies of (the gene) were, on average, less satisfied with their relationship than women married to men who didn’t carry it,” said Hasse Walum, one of the scientists.

The discovery, reports Highfield,  raises the highly speculative possibility that scientists could one day develop drugs to target the gene in an attempt to prevent marriages from falling apart.

And if that happens, divorce lawyers will need to find another line of work.

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