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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 September, 2009

Garcia to Present Divorce Seminar in Spanish

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Nelson A. Garcia will present Divorce Legal Seminar in Spanish at the Commission for Women’s Counseling and Career Center in Rockville Maryland on October 13, 2009, from 6:00 to 9:00 pm.  This seminar will help you to learn the different aspects of the process of separation and divorce. You will learn how to choose an attorney, how property is distributed, and how to get a restraining order, in case of domestic violence. How to obtain custody and alimony for your children will also be discussed. At the end of the session, you will have the opportunity to ask questions.  The cost is $30.  Here is the seminar announcement in Spanish.

SUS DERECHOS LEGALES EN EL DIVORCIO:

RESUMEN GENERAL Y TEMAS RELACIONADOS CON LOS HIJOS

Martes, 13 de Octubre, 2009, 6-9 pm

Este seminario, presentado en español, le ayudará a conocer los diferentes aspectos del proceso de separación y divorcio. Se discutirá cómo escoger un abogado, cómo conseguir separación de bienes y la forma de obtener una orden de protección en casos de violencia doméstica. También se discutirá cómo obtener la custodia de sus hijos y asistencia para su manutención. Al cierre de la sesión, habrá oportunidad para preguntas y respuestas.  Costo: $30

Nelson A. García, a family law attorney in the firm of Thyden Gross and Callahan, LLP has volunteered for several years at the Commission for Women as a presenter.  Mr. Garcia also volunteers in free legal clinics at a number of organizations including CASA de Maryland in domestic violence, child custody and divorce matters.  He received his J.D. from Boston College Law School and his B.A. in English and Business co-majors from Florida State University.  He is a member of the Maryland and District of Columbia Bar and is currently Secretary of the Maryland Hispanic Bar Association and a member of its Legislative Committee.

Divorce as an Economic Indicator

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Warren Buffet watches freight rates to gauge the state of the economy.

Jim Cramer says his oracle is the number of cardboard containers sold.

A financial analyst on MSNBC said that people buy more blue jeans when the economy is expanding.  Also, men buy brighter colored ties.

But one indicator was most interesting to me.  An increase in divorces indicates an economic recovery is on the way.  The theory is that a lot of people have been stuck in bad marriages because they couldn’t afford to get a divorce.

Unfiling for Divorce

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Most people are pretty clear that they want to get divorced by the time they see me.  But I tell them that everything I do is reversible, in case they change their minds.

Once in a while some of them do.  How do you “unfile” a complaint for divorce?

Maryland Rule 6-205 has the answer.  Paragraph (a) says that if your spouse has not filed an answer, you can dismiss a complaint by filing a Notice of Dismissal.  If your spouse has filed an answer, you will need him or her sign a Stipulation of Dismissal.

If you cannot get your spouse to sign, then paragraph (b) requires you to ask the court for an order dismissing the case.

The first dismissal, according to paragraph (c), is without prejudice, meaning you can refile your complaint later, if you change your mind again.

Notice of Intent to Relocate with Children

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Section 9-106 of the Family Law Article of the Maryland Code provides that the Court may, in any custody or visitation proceeding, include a notice provision for intent to relocate in its order.  It is not automatic.  You have to ask for it.

The provision is so that the non-custodial parent has a chance to go to court and seek a change in custody or visitation.

The problem up to now has been that the notice period is 45 days and that has not been enough time to obtain a hearing date.  So the move usually has already happened by the time you get in front of a judge.  The home has been sold.  The kids have been enrolled in a new school.

So Section 9-106 has been revised, effective October 1 of this year, to provide for a 90 day notice period.  And if you file a petition within 20 days of receiving notice, the court will give you an expedited hearing.

When Process is More Important Than Price

Friday, September 18th, 2009

When Process Is More Important Than Price

Sam’s Story

Sam, a lawyer friend of mine, goes to a flee market and sees an ornate, antique grandfather clock that he likes.  “How much for that clock?” he asks.

“This clock is truly beautiful, is she not?” says the owner, a man with a handlebar moustache, who lovingly puts his arms around the clock.  “A true heirloom.  I am sad to see it go, but I will reluctantly part with it for $1,500.”

“Is that the best you can do?” says Sam who is known in legal circles for his negotiating skills.  “I’ll give you $400 for it.”

“I could not possibly accept $400,” says the owner, “but for you, today only, if you pay with cash, I will sell it for $1,400.”

The bargainers go back and forth, parry and thrust, feints and jabs, until finally, a long time later, a deal is struck and the clock is sold to Sam for $800.

Bill’s Story

Bill, a banker I know, goes to the same flea market on the same day and spies an ornate, antique grandfather clock.  He inquires about the price and is told it is $800.  He says, “I’ll take it.”

Both men leave with their grandfather clocks.  Which one do you think is most satisfied with his new purchase?

So it is with divorce negotiations.  There is a rush to get to the final numbers.  But if one party feels rushed, they may dig in their heels.  Sometimes people just need the process of settlement discussions to feel satisfied with the final outcome.

Free Five Minute Consultation with Attorney

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

I haven’t tried this myself yet, but NewLawyer.com claims they can connect you instantly with a lawyer in any state, using phone-to-phone technology, for a free five minute consultation.

Michael Foti, the marketing director at NewLawyer.com says the purpose of the website is to “provide legal advice to anyone and everyone who needs it.”

Five minutes with an attorney is not very long, but it just might be enough to answer that burning legal question you have about your case, and the price is right.  If you try this service, leave a review here in the comment section for the rest of us.

Unintended Consequences of a Stay

Friday, September 11th, 2009

by Michael F. Callahan

The “law of unintended consequences” (also called the “law of unforeseen consequences”) states that any purposeful action will produce some unanticipated or unintended consequences. – Wikipedia

Here are some of the consquences if a motion for stay is granted in a divorce appeal:

You’re still married so you cannot remarry.

If you die, your spouse is your widow or widower and has important rights with respect to your pension, 401(k) account, intestate estate (if you have no Will) and the right to elect against your Will if you have disinherited him or her.  In Virginia your spouse is entitled to a share of your augmented estate which includes non-probate assets and certain property transferred during your lifetime.

If you and your spouse own the former marital residence (or other real property) as tenants by the entirety and the divorce judgment is stayed then you still own it in that peculiar old common law tenancy.  If you die, he or she takes the whole property, you cannot leave your interest in the home to the kids, and you cannot borrow against or assign you interest.

In Maryland and DC you’re still earning marital property every day when you go to work.  If the case is remanded for a new hearing your further accumulation of money, property, pension credits, and other assets may be on the table for equitable distribution at that future trial.

When you seek to obtain a stay of a judgment of divorce, it just may be a case of “be careful what you wish for”.

Stays

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

by Michael F. Callahan

Sometimes, a person appealing a divorce wants more than a review of the trial judge’s ruling.  He or she wants the trial court’s judgment stayed while the case is being appealed.

The appellant who wants a stay in Maryland, Virginia or DC must request the stay and file a bond to ensure that if the trial court’s judgment is affirmed, there are funds to pay whatever is required.

The law in DC had been that an appeal automatically stayed the final judgment of divorce.  In 2002, however, the court adopted Rule 8 which provides that you must now file a motion for a stay pending appeal in the Superior Court (the trial court) within thirty days of entry of judgment.  That court then decides whether to grant a stay and on what terms.  The Superior Court’s decision on the stay is also appealable.

Many interesting and potentially disastrous consequences flow from a stay of the judgment of divorce which I will discuss in my next post.

Appeals

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

By Michael F. Callahan

Sometimes a party to a lawsuit is not satisfied with the trial judge’s decision.   When that happens that person might want to file an appeal.  Generally, and in all divorce cases in all three local jurisdictions, you can appeal “as of right.”  You may not win but you can appeal.

In due course, if the unsatisfied person, now called the appellant, does everything right and on time, the appellate court judges will review the trial judge’s decision.  The appellate judges give deference to the trial judge’s findings of fact because he or she saw and heard the witnesses and the appellate judges did not.  The appellate court judges do not give deference to the trial judge’s rulings regarding the law.

If they conclude the trial judge was wrong, they reverse.  Usually though, that means they remand the case back to the trial judge to conduct a further hearing, if necessary.

NFL Divorces Higher Than Average

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

As we get ready to kick off the Fall football season, here comes news that the divorce rate in the National Football League may be as high as 80%.

Greg Bishop, in a New York Times article, asked Kris Jenkins, nose tackle for the New York Jets, why so many football marriages fail.

Jenkins, married just last month, listed the following reasons:   rampant infidelity, women who target athletes, trophy wives, lifestyles not conducive to marriage and players being surrounded by entourages, which can discourage intimacy.

 
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