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Divorce Lawyers

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 April, 2009

Do It Yourself Divorce Seminar

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Attorneys Nelson Garcia and James J. Gross of Thyden Gross and Callahan, LLP, will present “Do It Yourself Divorce” on Wednesday, May 6, 2009 at 7:00 pm at the Commission for Women, 4041 North Washington Street, Suite 100, Rockville, Maryland.  The cost is $20.  For more information call 301-279-1034.

TGC Lawyers in the News

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

John Thyden was quoted in an article on Marriage and Money in Good Housekeeping:

“Financial issues are the primary reason for 90 percent of divorce cases I handle,” says John Thyden, a prominent Washington, D.C., divorce attorney. “But it isn’t necessarily the amount of money a couple has that tends to trip them up. It’s the differences in their spending habits and especially their lack of communication.”

And Mary Beth Long, who writes the VA Family Law Blog, had these mellifluous words to say about us:

“Keeping it short, succinct and entertaining. The gent who writes the Maryland Divorce Legal Crier has a neat style. It is like a New Yorker cartoon morphed into a family law blog: quirky, entertaining and thought-provoking but, best of all, brief.  He may quote lyrics from a country song, give marriage preservation tips or explain the difference between extrinsic and intrinsic fraud. All is a couple hundred words. Bravo!”

Buy This House and Get a Free Divorce

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Having trouble selling your home?  Here’s a new incentive you might want to try.

In Spain, a real estate company is offering a free divorce if you buy a home from them, according to UPI.Com.

Geimsa realtors in Huelva, Spain, says this deal is for you if you are putting off your divorce because you can’t afford to move.

“A divorce is very expensive,” says Vanesa Contioso of Geimsa. “So we are offering new clients the free use of our lawyers to handle the process.”

No MD Child Support Revisions This Year

Friday, April 24th, 2009

It may not be a good idea to try to increase child support during a recession.  House Bill 1401 which would have increased Maryland Child Support Guidelines, for the first time in 20 years, did not make it out of committee.  The House Judiciary Committee plans do a “summer study” of the bill.

Dower and Curtesy

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

I started practicing law before there were computers or an Internet.  Now we send drafts of agreements to our clients by email.

There is a provision in most separation agreements in which the wife waives her dower rights and the husband waives his curtesy rights.

Almost always the client’s automatic spell checker will say the word “curtesy” in the waiver section should be spelled “courtesy”, and the client will bring this to the lawyer’s attention.

Neither the client nor the spell checker can be blamed, for lawyers speak in arcane and ancient code words that have their roots in olde English, French and Roman law.

Curtesy is the life estate a man inherits, under the common law, on the death of his wife in her real estate, provided they have a child.

Dower is the life estate a woman inherits, under the common law, on the death of her husband in his real estate, provided they have a child.

Celebrity Divorce Settlements

Friday, April 17th, 2009

1989:  Steven Spielberg to Amy Irving – $100 million.

1994:  Neil Diamond to Marcia Murphey – $150 million.

2006:  Michael Jordon to Juanita Jordon – $168 million.

2009:  Mel Gibson to Robyn Gibson – possibly $500 million.


Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

The judge has be certain of the proof before a divorce can be granted in Maryland.  In fact the law requires that the testimony of the plaintiff be corroborated by other evidence.

Section 7-101 of the Family Law Article states: “A court may not enter a decree of divorce on the uncorroborated testimony of the party who is seeking the divorce.”

That’s why we ask you to bring a copy of your marriage certificate and a witness to your uncontested divorce hearing.

The marriage certificate is corroborating evidence of your marriage.  If you don’t have a copy, you can also corroborate your marriage with the testimony of a witness who was present at the wedding.

The witness can corroborate residency, custody, the date of separation and that the separation was voluntary on the part of both parties for the year prior to filing the complaint, the usual grounds for uncontested divorce in Maryland.

Voluntary separation can also be corroborated by a Separation Agreement if (1) it states that the spouses voluntarily agreed to separate, and (2) it is executed under oath (i.e., notarized) before the divorce complaint is filed.  Section 8-104 of the Family Law Article.

Divorce Scam

Friday, April 10th, 2009

Police have arrested a 26 year old woman and her parents in India for running a divorce scam, according to BBC News.

She is accused of tricking nine rich businessmen into marrying her, then filing for divorce a few weeks later and demanding large sums of money.

One of the men complained to the police saying that the woman and her parents were harassing him for a dowry and threatened to file lawsuits if he did not pay up.

The woman’s lawyer denies the charges and says she has only been married once.

DC Council Votes to Recognize Same-Sex Marriages

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

Although same sex couples cannot be married in the District of Columbia, The DC Council has voted to recognize gay marriages performed in other states.  This is a preliminary vote with the final vote expected May 5th.  However, DC laws must be approved by Congress.

“I fully support today’s action and look forward to signing the legislation once the Council takes final action next month,” said DC Mayor Adrian Fenty.

The vote occurred on the same day as Vermont recognized same-sex marriages and a week after Iowa legalized them.

DC already has a domestic partnership law.  A bill to allow same-sex marriages in DC is expected soon.  Virginia and Maryland do not recognize same-sex marriages.

Read more.

Residency When Grounds for Divorce Occur in MD

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

In the Fletcher case, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals had to decide whether there was a residency requirement in a case where the grounds for divorce arose within the state.

The court discussed the statutory history and case law and decided as follows:

1.  If grounds for divorce occur within the state, there does not have to be one year of residency, but

2.  at least one of the parties must live in Maryland when the complaint is filed for the court to have jurisdiction over the divorce.

The court then turned its attention to the facts.  Louis had moved to Maryland from Virginia after his wife separated from him and hit a lottery jackpot.  He filed for divorce in Maryland, then she filed in Virginia.  The Maryland court said that Louis was not a bona fide resident because he was just after the lottery money, and it dismissed Louis’s case for lack of jurisdiction.

But the Maryland appeals court said that even if Louis had moved to Maryland to take advantage of its more favorable divorce laws, motive is not an issue in determining whether he was a bona fide resident or not.  The question is not why he moved here but whether he moved here and if he intends to stay.  The court said this was to be determined by such factors as where he lives, where he votes, where he pays taxes, where he receives mail, where his personal belongs are, his current driver’s license, and where he banks.

Therefore, with all due respect to Virginia, the court found that Maryland did have jurisdiction over the divorce and Louis was allowed to proceed with his divorce in Maryland.

Fletcher v. Fletcher, 95 Md. App. 114; 619 A2d 561 (1993)

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