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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 February, 2009

The Marriage Penalty

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Although President Obama promises taxes will be lower for 95% of taxpayers, a question I get from time to time is, “Can I save taxes by getting a divorce and just living together?”

Many two-income family taxpayers pay more taxes as a married couple than they would by filing separate tax returns as single individuals.  That’s called the marriage penalty.

The answer is you might save a little bit on taxes, but how much will a divorce cost you, both in terms of dollars and the good will of your spouse?

First, Congress has eliminated the marriage penalty for married couples making less than $132,000 and roughly equal incomes.

If a married couple earns $150,000, with equal incomes and a standard deduction, the marriage penalty is $500.

If they earn $200,000 under the same circumstances, they will pay a marriage penalty of about $787.

And there are other financial benefits to staying married, including inheritance taxes, insurance and Social Security, that you would lose if you got a divorce.  Finally, if you divorce in one year and remarry in the next, the IRS may disregard the divorce and require you to file as married anyway.

Source:  Post by Sue Shellenbarger

The Big Picture

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

I know when you are in the middle of a divorce, it seems like the most significant and important event in the world to you.  Looking forward it seems like an impossibly high mountain to climb.  But let’s look at “the big picture”.

Five million years ago, the Australopithecus, the earliest hominids appeared.

Three million years ago, Australopithecus Africanus, a slightly larger hominid, with a bigger brain evolved.

Two and a half million years ago, Australopithecus Robustus and Australopithecus Boisei arrived on the scene.

Two million years ago, Homo Habilis, meaning “skillful” appeared.

One point six million years ago, Homo Erectus evolved, and began expanding to the other continents and discovered how to use fire.

Three hundred to two hundred thousand years ago, Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens arrived.

Fifty thousand years ago, modern man emerged.

About ten thousand years ago, man began to herd animals and build cities, the beginning of civilization.

About five thousand years ago, the Sumerians invented writing and that was the beginning of history.  Metallurgy followed.

Thirty five hundred years ago, iron was smelted.

Five hundred twenty years ago brought gunpowder, artillery and the printing press.

Two hundred forty years ago the steam engine was invented and the Industrial Revolution began.

Sixty years ago, we invented nuclear weapons.

Fifty years ago, the space age.

Forty years ago, the Internet.

Hopefully, this will give you a little more perspective on where your divorce fits in the big picture.  And looking back on it, it will seem less like a mountain and more like a speed bump in your life.

The Divorce Lawyer’s Handbook for Staying Married

Friday, February 20th, 2009

CHAPTER THREE – TAKE A SECOND

Here’s a small concept with a big payoff to make your life and your marriage go smoother.  If you see a task that only takes a second, take a second and do it!

It only takes a second to make coffee in the morning for your spouse.

It only takes a second to set the table.

It only takes a second to pick up clothes, shoes and toys.

It only takes a second to take out the trash, empty the dishwasher or move clothes to the dryer.

It only takes a second to call your spouse and say I love you.

Feel free to add to the list in the Comments Section.

Chapter One – It Takes So Little to Do So Much

Chapter Two – Saying Hello

Woman Marries 23 Times

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

Linda Wolfe of Indiana, born Linda Lou Taylor 68 years ago, holds the Guinness world record for being the most married woman in history.  She’s said “I do” 23 times, according to Matt Bartosik writing for nbcchicago.com.

Linda’s first husband was George Scott in 1957, when she was 16 and he was 31. This was her longest marriage which lasted seven years.

Her shortest marriage was for 36 hours to Fred Chadwick.

In 1996, as part of a publicity stunt, Linda married Glynn “Scotty” Wolfe in Arizona.  Scotty was the most married man in the world.  Linda was wife number 29 for him.  But Scotty died the next year.

“I would get married again,” Linda told The Indianapolis Star.

Intrinsic Fraud

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Intrinsic fraud is, according to Black’s Law Dictionary, “that which pertains to issues involved in the original action or where acts constituting fraud were, or could have been, litigated therein.”

So is James Hresko’s claim of fraud by his ex-wife in concealing assets intrinsic fraud pertaining to issues that could have been litigated in his divorce?  Or is it extrinsic fraud which actually prevented an adversarial trial?  If the fraud is intrinsic, James cannot reopen his divorce.  If extrinsic, he can.

Well, it depends on where you live.  In California, Missouri or Montana, concealment of assets is extrinsic fraud that reopens the case.  In New York, Texas and North Carolina, it is intrinsic fraud and the case cannot be reopened.

The Court of Special Appeals decided that Maryland would follow the latter decisions and hold that misrepresentations of assets are intrinsic to the divorce.  It said that James was not prevented from trying his case.  Therefore, he could not reopen his divorce.

He had “every opportunity to examine these representations through discovery methods or in court.  Instead, he chose to file an uncontested answer and permitted the matter to go to judgment,” the court said.  “Public policy in this state demands an end to litigation.”

Hresko v. Hresko, 83 Md. App. 228; 574 A.2d 24 (1990)

Extrinsic Fraud

Monday, February 16th, 2009

James Hresko asked the court to reopen his uncontested divorce for fraud because he said his ex-wife misrepresented her assets in negotiating a settlement agreement.  But the Maryland courts will only reopen a case if the fraud is extrinsic, not intrinsic.

What is extrinsic fraud?  Black’s Law Dictionary says it is the type of fraud which is collateral to the issues tried in the case.  The court says it is fraud which actually prevents a trial. Examples of extrinsic fraud would be:

  • An opponent keeps a party away from court.
  • A false promise of compromise.
  • A party did not have knowledge of the suit.
  • An attorney pretends to represent someone they do not.
  • An attorney corruptly sells out his client.

James said his ex prevented him from trying the case by keeping him away from the court with a false promise of compromise.  To be continued.

Reopening a Divorce for Fraud

Friday, February 13th, 2009

James Hresko thought he could prove fraud in his divorce by his ex-wife Marie Hresko.  She told him she had no assets.  They settled their divorce with an agreement that gave her the option of buying him out of the house.  After an uncontested divorce, she exercised her option.  James thought she would have to get a mortgage to buy him out and he was stunned when she paid him $30,000 in cash.

James filed a motion to revise the judgment of divorce claiming that Marie had fraudulently concealed assets.

Thirty days after a divorce is entered in the court records by the clerk, it becomes final and unappealable.  In order to set it aside then, you must show that it was the product of fraud, mistake or irregularity.

But fraud comes in two varieties.  In Maryland, the type of fraud required to reopen a case must be extrinsic fraud and not fraud which is intrinsic to the trial itself.  Think you know how this case turns out?  Stay tuned for more discussion of extrinsic and intrinsic fraud.

Nightmare Divorce Stories

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Richard Ortiz has compiled some nightmare divorce stories by readers of DadsDivorce.com about crazy ex-wives.

Not to be outdone, Emerald Catron has a few divorce horror stories from women about what she calls jerkery and woe, which show that men can be just as crazy as women when it comes to divorce.

You are invited to top these stories with your own bad breakup or divorce gone awry story.  Hey, it’s cheaper than a therapist.

Divorce Quotes

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

“I always tell people that my husband went to the grocery store and never came back. He left me for a loaf of bread. And that loaf of bread was 23 years old.”

— Mary Ellen Sheets, founder & CEO of Two Men And A Truck International

Radio Station Gives Away Free Divorce for Valentine’s Day

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

WRXL-FM Radio in Richmond, Virginia is holding a contest called “Marriage Bailout 09” with a prize of a free divorce.  The station has made arrangements with a local law firm for a free, no-fault, uncontested divorce.

To enter, email crash@1021thex.com and tell him “why your soulmate ain’t got no soul.”

The lucky (or perhaps unlucky) winner will be announced on Friday the 13th of February.

 
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