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Archive for July, 2009

Letter from Opposing Counsel

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

As I kiss my wife goodbye this morning, she says “Have a nice day.”

“I would,” I tell her, “but my enemies have other plans.”

I received another one of those letters that annoy me from opposing counsel today.  This one starts out by saying the wife is disappointed in the husband’s settlement offer.

It would surprise me one day to receive a letter that says opposing counsel’s client is delighted by my client’s settlement offer.

He might as well be telling me that it is raining outside or the sun is shining.  Thanks for the weather report, but what does that have to do with the business at hand?  The letter goes on for three pages of counterproposals, but I am already put in a too bad a mood by his beginning to view them with much favor.

That is why I always try to begin such letters with something like, “Thank you for your proposal.  It was a pleasure speaking with you.  I look forward to trying to settle this case with you.”  You get the idea.  People are more likely to settle cases with people they like than people they don’t like.

The Case of Mr. and Mrs. Balfour

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

“I promise to send you 30 pounds a month,” said Mr. Balfour to his wife,  before he set sail for Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) on assignment as an English civil engineer in the early 1900’s.  Mrs Balfour’s doctor said that she should stay in England for her health rather than return to the jungle climate of Ceylon.

“I think it is better that we stay separated,” wrote Mr. Balfour, and he stopped the payments.  Mrs. Balfour obtained a divorce and alimony.  In addition, she sued him for breach of contract for the 30 pounds a month he had promised her.

The lower court held that Mr. Balfour had to continue to pay her as agreed.  The Court of Appeal unanimously reversed, finding that there was no agreement enforceable in law.

Although the judges’ reasons differed, the heart of their analysis was that married couples make agreements all the time, to pay an allowance, for example.  The court said that not all domestic agreements rise to the level of a contract enforceable by law.  Balfour v Balfour [1919] 2 KB 571

Dear Diary

Monday, July 27th, 2009

According to Max Blumenthal in the Daily Beast, former Republican Congressman Chip Pickering kept a secret diary in which he wrote about his extramarital affair with Elizabeth Creekmore Byrd at the infamous C Street House in Washington, D.C.

The judge would not allow the diary to be introduced at Pickering’s divorce hearing on July 7 and placed it under seal at the Mississippi courthouse.

However, Mrs. Pickering has filed an alienation of affection suit against Byrd, and it is possible that the diary may be made public in this lawsuit.  Apparently other members of congress and residents of the C Street House are worried about what Pickering had to say about them in his diary.

Seminar on Separation Agreements

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

TGC Attorneys James J. Gross and Nelson A. Garcia will speak at the Commission for Women tonight at 7:00 pm on Negotiating a Separation Agreement with Your Spouse.

The seminar will include the advantages of an agreement over a contested divorce, what to include in an agreement, tips and tactics, strategies for negotiation, the different stages of negotiation and different negotiation techniques.

The cost is $20.  Call (240) 777-8300 for more information.  The Commission for Women is located at 401 N. Washington Street, Rockville, Maryland.

Country Songs We Wish We’d Written

Saturday, July 18th, 2009

Senoritas don’t care-o

When there’s no dinero

Toes by the Zac Brown Band

The C Street House

Friday, July 17th, 2009

The infamous “C Street House” will make a good novel and movie.  The Christian home for legislators near the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, DC seems to be another Peyton Place.

The Associated Press reports that earlier this week Leisha Pickering filed a lawsuit against Elizabeth Creekmore Byrd of Jackson, Mississippi, for alienation of affection (a suit that is barred in MD, VA and DC but not in Mississippi).

Mrs. Pickering is divorcing Chip Pickering, a former Republican Congressman, now a lobbyist.  She alleges that Chip Pickering and Creekmore Byrd had an affair while Pickering was in Congress and living at the C Street House.

The Coming Boom in Divorces

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

Gregory Rodriguez has an interesting prediction in his Los Angeles Times column.

He notes a a recent survey by the Institute of Divorce Financial Analysts in which 68% of its members have seen clients who could not afford to get divorced because of recession-related financial problems.

“So even as most of us are looking forward to happier days of an economic recovery, there must be a number of Americans who are waiting patiently to be able to afford to experience the pain and suffering of divorce,” says Rodriguez.

“You’ve heard of the pent-up desire and aspiration that are released after times of war? That’s why we get such phenomena as baby booms. When this economic recovery finally arrives, prepare yourselves for a boom of an entirely different sort.”

Get Divorced and Live Together

Monday, July 13th, 2009

An article from the St. Louis Post Dispatch says the hard economic times are causing some couples to stay together before, during and even after they divorce.

With home values shredded and retirement assets dwindling, many unhappy couples are realizing they don’t need to spend more money on divorce lawyers, and they are more willing to compromise and settle.

One husband said he didn’t have the money to move out, so the couple stayed together during the divorce, and when it got too stressful, he went to the movies or she went out with friends.

“My attorney was very up front with me,” he said. “She said, ‘The more you guys (argue) about this, the more it’s going to cost you.'”

Emotional Divorce

Friday, July 10th, 2009

A legal divorce means a marriage has ended and it usually takes between three months and a year, depending on how much conflict is involved.

However, an emotional divorce may not be on the same time track as the legal divorce.  In fact, Corinne Frontiero, at Baltimore’s Examiner.Com, says it typically takes two to two and a half years to recover emotionally from a divorce.

She provides an inventory of ten questions to ask yourself to see if you are on the road to recovery.

War of the Tylers

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

After three years of bitter divorce litigation, Richard Shenkman-Tyler, 60, an advertising executive in South Windsor, Connecticut, took his ex-wife, Nancy Tyler, an attorney, hostage yesterday.  Through a news reporter, he demanded a priest to give her last rights and requested a judge to remarry them.  He told police there were explosives in the house.  Finally after setting the house on fire, Shenkman surrendered to police last night.  Nancy Tyler escaped unharmed.  More details.

 
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