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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 October, 2009

Do You Have a Lousy Spouse?

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Ellen Gray and Jane Fields, friends who grew up together in Alexandria, Virginia, both of whom have small children, discovered their husbands were having affairs around the same time last year.

In a Eureka moment, the two women created LousySpouse.com, which they launched this summer with a kickoff at the Sequoia in Washington, DC.

Their site has a breezy style that’s a pleasure to read, and plenty of features like free work sheets and forms, checklists, a glossary of divorce terms, Q&A’s, and a discussion and support forum.   If you’re not sure if you have a lousy spouse, you can take the Lousy Spouse Test.

The site has been featured in the Washington Times and the Washington Post published a transcript of Jane’s online answers yesterday to some good questions, like “Should you tell a friend that her spouse is cheating?”

Do It Yourself Legal Sites

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

It is always nice to hear from other bloggers.  This morning, I received an email from Donna Mitchell, who has listed her Top 20 Sites for Do It Yourself Law on her blog, Paralegal Schools Online.  You can also find legal information specifically for Maryland, Virginia and DC divorces on our website.

Divorce Quotes

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

“My toughest fight was with my first wife.” – Muhammad Ali

Adultery No Bar to Custody

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Mary Louise Davis married John Franklin Davis, Jr. in 1958.  Sixteen years and three children later, Mrs. Davis, together with her six-year-old daughter Leigh, left the marital home and moved into an apartment.  Mr. Davis filed for divorce in Maryland on the ground of his wife’s adultery, and asked for custody of the children.

Judge Latham, after a custody investigation and a hearing, awarded custody of Leigh to the mother.  The father appealed to the Court of Special Appeals, which reversed the judge.  The Court said the father should have custody of Leigh because the mother had failed to show repentance for her adultery.

The mother appealed to the Court of Appeals.  The Court of Appeals held:

“Whereas the fact of adultery may be a relevant consideration in child custody awards, no presumption of unfitness on the part of the adulterous parent arises from it; rather it should be weighed, along with all other pertinent factors, only insofar as it affects the child’s welfare.”

The Court said the primary determination was the best interest of the child.  In determining this, Judge Latham had taken into account that Leigh had been living with her mother alone for the past two years and was adjusted to this arrangement; that she was doing well in school and was adequately provided for at home; that even though Mrs. Davis had engaged in adulterous conduct in the past, there was no  showing that it had ever deleteriously affected Leigh; and that Mrs. Davis had engaged in no sexual misconduct since February 1975.

So Leigh got to stay with her mother.

Davis v. Davis, 280 Md. 119; 372 A.2d 231 (1977)

Sorting Out Grounds for Divorce

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Grounds for an absolute divorce in Maryland can be a confusing and complicated concept.  You have to have grounds for divorce in order to file a complaint.  Grounds are reasons for the divorce.  Some grounds have a waiting period.  Others do not.  Some require you to live in separate places.  Others can occur while you are still living together.  Maryland has the traditional fault grounds.  It also has the more modern no-fault grounds.

No-Fault Grounds

The no-fault grounds are one year voluntary separation or two years involuntary separation.  Both of the no-fault grounds have a waiting period before you can file for divorce and you have to be physically separated continuously for that period.  That means you live in different places, or under separate roofs, as the court says.  You cannot meet the no-fault ground requirements if you both live in the same house.

Fault Grounds

The fault grounds are adultery, cruelty, excessively vicious conduct, desertion, insanity and imprisonment.  Three of the fault grounds have no waiting period before filing a complaint.  Those are adultery, cruelty and excessively vicious conduct.  You can live in the same house and file for divorce based on adultery, cruelty, excessively vicious conduct and even desertion.

Related Posts:

Filing for Divorce While Living Together
Child Custody While Living Together
Does Ricketts Apply to Actual Desertion?
Does Rickets Apply to an Absolute Divorce?
Ricketts Revisited

Some Thoughts on Suicide

Monday, October 19th, 2009

The London Mirror headlines scream that Madonna considered killing herself during her divorce from Guy Ritchie.

Madonna, 51, told Rolling Stone magazine: “It was a challenging year. I may have thrown myself off a building.”

She says that a busy work schedule was the only thing that stopped her.

Divorce, even for superstars, is a traumatic, stressful and emotional life event.  See Emotional Divorce.  It represents the end of future dreams and your identity as a married person.  Depression, anxiety, fear, anger and suicide are not uncommon feelings.

What is impossible to see, in the heat of the moment, is that divorce is also a learning experience.  It can be the beginning of a new life that is frequently better than the old life.  See Making Your Life Plan After Divorce.  Over the year or so that I work with my clients, I get to see many of them go from sad and uncertain at the beginning to happy and confident by the end.

So if you are contemplating suicide, better stick around.  The future may surprise you and be better than you think.

How To Pay for A Divorce Attorney

Friday, October 16th, 2009

That’s a question I get a lot.  How do you hire a divorce attorney when you have no money?  Here are some answers culled from the comments at OttawaDivorce.com:

  • Second and third jobs
  • Cash in all savings
  • Borrow from pension
  • Sell Assets
  • Borrow from friends and family
  • Credit cards
  • Cut living expenses
  • Line of credit
  • Home equity loan

Please leave a comment here and tell us how you paid for a lawyer in your divorce.

Related Articles:

Reasonable Legal Fees in a Divorce–Oxymoron?

The High Cost of Divorce.

Divorce Quotes

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

“Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.” – Phyllis Diller

Divorced Women Online Emagazine

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Cathy Meyer, Divorce Guide at About.com, has launched a new emagazine called, Divorced Women Online.  It is shock full of interesting articles like:

The Sweetness of Life After Divorce
The Divorcee Stereotype Is Alive and Well
The Dating Doom & Gloom Bandwagon

and my personal favorite (because I wrote it), Divorce Advice for Women.  So click on the link and look around.  You may even be inspired to contribute your own article.

Don’t Be Cruel

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Anuradha Das said her husband, Vincent Das, made her stay up all night in order to listen to him, isolated her from her friends and family, hitting, pinching and pulling her hair, and taunted her about what she would do when a protective order expired.   Anuradha filed for divorce in Maryland based on cruelty.  There was a trial and the divorce was granted.

Vincent appealed saying his wife had not proven cruelty as grounds for her divorce.  He claimed his conduct never endangered her life, person, or health, or would have otherwise caused her to feel apprehension of bodily suffering.

He cited older cases in Maryland which say that marital neglect, rudeness of manner, and the use of profane and abusive language do not constitute cruelty.  A divorce cannot be granted merely because the parties have lived together unhappily as a result of unruly tempers and marital wranglings, sallies of passion, harshness or rudeness.

However, there were several incidents of domestic violence over the history of the marriage including a one year protective order against Vincent.   Consequently, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals found that Vincent’s conduct far exceeded mere sallies of passion, harshness or rudeness.  It threatened Anuradha’s physical and emotional well-being.  The Court upheld the judgment of divorce on grounds of cruelty.  Das v. Das, 133 Md. App.1, 754 A.2d 441 (2000).

 
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