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Divorce Lawyers

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, 2009

Divorce Quotes

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

I tended to place my wife under a pedestal.
Woody Allen

Secret Swiss Bank Accounts

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

Suspect your spouse has hidden assets in a secret Swiss bank account?  USB, a Swiss bank, has agreed to turn over the names of 4,450 U.S. citizens that have accounts there to the IRS.

The IRS is investigating allegations of tax evasion.  But people hide money for all sorts of reasons, like to avoid creditors, and to avoid splitting up assets in a divorce.

So there are probably many spouses and ex-spouses that would like to get a look at the list.  But, it is not certain that the list will be made public.  The IRS is giving clemency to tax cheaters until September 23.  And IRS settlements are usually confidential.

One way an ex might find out, though, is if a spouse filed a joint tax return with the tax cheater, the ex might be notified by the IRS of the corrected tax filing because his or her name is on the return too.

Read more in this article at Time.com by Stephen Gandel

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

By Jill H. Breslau

Divorce lawyers sometimes finds themselves being part time social workers in dealing with the problems in family law.  Harvard Medical School is having a series of programs for psychologists, but the titles remind me of issues that family lawyers deal with daily.

1.  What’s Love Got to Do with It?: Updates on the Neurobiology of Attraction and Attachment. What? Love is just about the brain? And it causes so much suffering?  Divorce lawyers frequently have to deal with the underlying mystery in intimate relationships.

2.  Sex, Sexuality, and Sex Therapy: Female and Male Perspectives. Divorce lawyers, especially in “fault” jurisdictions (like Maryland, Virginia and DC), have to learn more about your sex life than is comfortable for anyone.

3.  Working with Couples Around Financial Issues. Interesting to consider this occurring during a marriage rather than at the end.

4.  Domestic Violence: Challenges and Opportunities for Intervention. Sadly, people in abusive relationships tend to forget what behaviors are acceptable and where to draw the line. Violent relationships tend to get worse without intervention. Yet people are often so ashamed that they don’t even tell their lawyers about it.

5.  Behavioral Therapy for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. When the client tells us about a spouse who is using drugs or abusing alcohol, do we go full speed ahead with the divorce? Or do we have resources to provide  information about the possibilities of rehabilitation, so the client can better assess his or her options?

6.  Stepfamilies: Ways to Live with Each Other. We talk about “blended” families, but divorce lawyers often see them as more like oil and water that don’t mix.

7.  Strategies for Dealing with Difficult Partners. Getting a divorce doesn’t change your difficult partner into a reasonable person.  If you have children, you still have to deal with them.

8.  Understanding High Conflict and Emotionally Distant Couples. While the traditional divorce lawyer may be able to avoid understanding these folks, a mediator, collaborative professional, or parenting coordinator could  benefit from knowing what drives high conflict and what creates emotional distance.  Both of these factors make shared decision-making during and after divorce a real challenge.

Divorce lawyers are not psychotherapists, but they need to know something about psychology and human behavior to be successful working with people going through a divorce.

Just Squeaking By

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

WashingtonPost.Com received over a thousand comments on its front page story Sunday by Anne Hull about Laura Steins, 47, of Harrison, New York.

Steins got the $2.5 million dollar house in her divorce and $75,000 a year in child support.  She makes $150,000 a year plus a bonus at her job as a MasterCard VP.  She also has about $50,000 a year in investment income.  That’s over $300,000 a year.

But it costs her $8,000 to $10,000 a month to keep up her 4,000 square foot house on three acres. Her property taxes are $35,000 a year, the nanny is $40,000, the gardener is $500 a month and there is someone to plow the driveway in the winter.

“A), I couldn’t sell the house right now,” she says, citing the slow real estate market. “B), this is where my kids go to school. And C), it’s where my job is,” says Steins.

A lot of comments, some from people who make closer to what the nanny makes than what Steins makes, were not sympathetic to her plight.

The High Cost of Divorce

Monday, August 17th, 2009

Using the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest statistics (2006), divorce360.com says the average American family is married, has two children, makes between $50,000 to $74,999 a year and owns a home worth about $185,000.

Based those statistics, divorce360.com, has added up the estimated costs of a divorce, including not only attorneys fees, but hidden costs like financial help, therapy for the parties and their children, and real estate costs for selling, buying or renting homes.

The average costs total $53,000 per divorce.

For a couple making $150,000 a year with a home worth $535,000, the average pricetag increases to $188,000 per divorce.

Felix the Cat and His Magic Bag of Tricks

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

The first image broadcast by network television was a picture of Felix the Cat.  I remember watching Felix on tv when I was a kid.  He had a Magic Bag of Tricks and whenever he got stumped by a problem, he would reach into his bag and pull out some tool or device that would help him solve the problem.

I wish I had a Magic Bag of Tricks in real life.  A lawyer can do a lot of things, but sometimes the tools in my toolbox are limited.  Clients look to their lawyers to solve all sorts of problems.  But first you have to have a problem that the law recognizes as a problem.  For example, I wrote recently that not every marital agreement is recognized by law as an enforceable contract.

The law does not provide a remedy for every wrong.  There is no legal tool that will turn your difficult spouse into a nicer, more reasonable and responsible person.   I can get alimony and child support and property, but I probably cannot recover damages for the hurt you felt during your marriage.  The court can give you a visitation schedule, but it can’t make your child want to visit with you.  I can’t make your spouse settle on your terms and I can’t make opposing counsel return my calls if they don’t want to.

As a mediator said to one of my clients, “I only have a pen, not a magic wand.”

Reconciliation as a Defense to Divorce

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

rec·on·cile

v.   rec·on·ciled, rec·on·cil·ing, rec·on·ciles

v.   tr.

  1. To reestablish a close relationship between.
  2. To settle or resolve.
  3. To bring (oneself) to accept: He finally reconciled himself to the change in management.
  4. To make compatible or consistent: reconcile my way of thinking with yours. See Synonyms at adapt.

v.   intr.

  1. To reestablish a close relationship, as in marriage: The estranged couple reconciled after a year.

In Maryland, reconciliation is sometimes raised as a defense to a divorce.

An actual reconciliation stops the one year period of separation required for desertion, voluntary and involuntary separation grounds.

It used to be that an offer of reconciliation, which was rejected, could also be a defense, and could turn the deserted party into the deserter.

Section 7-104 of the Family Law Article now provides that neither an offer, attempt nor a refusal of reconciliation, in and of itself, is a defense or a bar to a divorce.

The grounds for divorce of desertion and voluntary separation require proof that there is no reasonable expectation of a reconciliation.  So the court may still consider attempts to reconcile in that context as well as in the context of fault for alimony and property distribution.

The Five Year Itch

Friday, August 7th, 2009

You’ve heard of the seven year itch?  Well, it’s been moved up to five years.

A new study by the Max Plank Institute in Germany indicates that couples begin to tire of each other after only four years together.  The peak divorce risk occurs just before their fifth anniversary.

The good news is that those who make it to ten years are likely to remain married forever.

The Wedding Dance and the Divorce Dance

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

Click on these links for the YouTube videos that are sweeping the Internet.

Too Funny!

The Wedding (Jill and Kevin’s Big Day)

The Divorce (Jill and Kevin’s Last Day)

Divorce Is Enough to Make You Sick

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Divorce can be dangerous to your health, according to a New York Times article by Tara Parker-Pope.  A study by Linda Waite, a sociology professor at University of Chicago, will be published in the September issue of The Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

Her research, which included interviews with 8,652 men and women, indicated that divorce or death of a spouse affected their physical health in a permanent way.  This may be the result of stress causing a change at the cellular level.

“When your spouse is getting sick and about to die or your marriage is getting bad and about to die, your stress levels go up,” said Waite.  “You’re not sleeping well, your diet gets worse, you can’t exercise, you can’t see your friends. It’s a whole package of awful events.”

About 20 percent of the divorced or widowed people interviewed had more chronic health problems like heart disease, diabetes and cancer, compared with those who had been continuously married. Previously married people also had more mobility problems, like difficulty walking or climbing stairs.  Remarriage led to some health improvement, but people in second marriages still had 12 percent more chronic health problems and 19 percent more mobility problems than continuously married people.

 
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