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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 November, 2009

The Divorce Elevator

Friday, November 27th, 2009

Here’s some clever advertising for a divorce attorney in Germany featured on Advertolog.com and CoolAd.com.  As you get on the office elevator, you see a poster of a newly married couple on the elevator doors.  But when the doors open, the couple splits apart.  The sign in the elevator is for divorce lawyer, Sabrina Stobrawe.

A Glass Half Full

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

If you are single and have never been married, be thankful you are not unhappily married or divorced and paying alimony and child support.

If you are unhappily married, be thankful you are not single and alone on Thanksgiving.

If you are separated or divorced, be thankful that you are not stuck in an unhappy marriage and you are free to find a more compatible mate.

If you are happily married, be thankful for that and enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Divorce Vaccine

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Mary Astell at Woman’s Day says she only knows a few people with H1N1, but she has a ton of friends who are divorcing, separating or thinking about it.

Relationships that seemed rock solid have bitten the dust.

How, she wonders, can a marriage be made immune from divorce?  If only there were a divorce vaccine, she says, she would gladly stand in line and roll up her sleeve for a shot.

Billion Dollar Divorce

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

It’s not all that often that Federal prosecutors ask to intervene in your divorce.  But then not every divorce involves billions of dollars owed to the government.

According to today’s Washington Post, Walter Forbes, 65, former Chairman of the Cendant Corp. was sentenced in 2007 to serve 12.5 years in prison for accounting fraud in the 1990’s.  In 1999,  Forbes sold the family’s nearly $6 million, 11,000-square-foot New Canaan mansion in New Canaan, Connecticut, to his wife, Caren Forbes for $10.  Although Forbes owes the government and Cendant over $3 billion in court-ordered restitution, his wife owes nothing and so they couldn’t collect from her.

But when Caren Forbes filed for divorce in Bridgeport Superior Court in January of this year on the grounds that the marriage was irretrievably broken, the government asked the divorce judge to order her to transfer assets back to Walter Forbes.

Last week, Judge Howard Owens ordered Caren Forbes to transfer ownership of homes in Connecticut and Rhode Island, and half of the couple’s jewelry and art collections back to Walter Forbes so the government and Cedant can attach them and recover the money.

The Divorce Lawyer’s Handbook for Staying Married

Friday, November 13th, 2009

CHAPTER FOUR – PLAYING A CUSTOMER GAME

If you are not in sales, you may come across the term “customer game” late in life, as I did.  What is a customer game?  It’s when you are playing golf, chess, racketball or some other game with your customer and, although you are better, you let them win.

If you are having an argument with them, the customer is always right, even when you know they’re not.  Sometimes you have to play a customer game in an argument and let them win.

If you are in business, your customers are crucial to your success. They are how you make your living.  You want them to be happy.  That is why you let them win.

If you work for someone else, then think of your boss as your customer.

That doesn’t mean you have to be fake or insincere.  But it doesn’t take a lot to smile, be attentive, pleasant and courteous.  If you took your customers for granted and treated them poorly, they would not stick around for very long.

Now, today’s tip for staying married: Treat your spouse as well as you treat your customers and let them win a customer game once in a while.

What Is An Uncontested Divorce?

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

Divorce cases are either contested or uncontested.  If the Answer to the Complaint denies one or more of the statements contained in the Complaint, then you have a contested case.

A case is uncontested if you have a comprehensive Separation Agreement, in writing that is signed by both parties.  In other words, to have an uncontested case, you and your spouse must be in agreement on grounds, custody, child support, alimony and property distribution and every other issue in your divorce.

Sometimes a client will tell us they have an uncontested case, but when we ask they have no Separation Agreement.  They may tell us the have everything worked out, but once we get into the details of visitation, debt division, valuing pensions and the like we find that they are not in agreement.  Following a lot of negotiation, we finally come to terms and sign the negotiated agreement.  Then we can file a Complaint for an uncontested divorce.

Divorce Law Indiana has a good post on this topic called “Uncontested Divorces — Do They Exist?”

Testimony of The Corroborating Witness

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

You have to have oral testimony by the plaintiff, in person, and in the courtroom, to obtain a divorce.  Family Law Section 1-203 and Rule 9-209.

That testimony has to be corroborated by someone or something other than the parties to the divorce.  Family Law Section 7-101(b).   A marriage certificate can corroborate the marriage.  A notarized written agreement signed before the complaint was filed can corroborate a mutual and voluntary separation.  Family Law Section 1-104.

But most of your testimony is corroborated by a witness.  That testimony also has to be oral and in court “unless otherwise ordered by the court for good cause”.  Rule 9-209.

What is good cause?  The court has allowed me to use telephone testimony in a handful of cases where the corroborating witness was a geographically distant relative or a busy mental health professional.  In one uncontested divorce, I was permitted to corroborate adultery with the deposition transcript of the paramour, but the judge let me know he would have preferred live testimony.  If you are going to try to corroborate without a witness in the courtroom, call the judge’s clerk or secretary before the trial to make sure it will be permitted.

Related Articles:  Corroboration, You Have to Testify to Get Divorced

The Civilised Divorce

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Helen Kirwan-Taylor, writing for the Wall Street Journal Europe today, describes a new trend in divorces:  The civilised divorce.

She says she first noticed the trend when a friend showed her a professionally taken black and white Christmas card of a recently divorced couple from Stockholm. “There they were smiling away on the card with their immaculately dressed children, even though inside they posted separate addresses below their names.”

This couple, writes Kirwan-Taylor, have a personal Civilised Separation Agreement in which they agreed to protect the children, respect one another, split everything down the middle fairly and never quarrel openly.

Think this will catch on in America?

Alimony Statistics

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009
  • Americans paid $9.4 billion in alimony to former spouses in 2007.  (IRS)
  • That’s up from $5.6 billion a decade earlier.  (IRS)
  • 97% of alimony-payers were men last year.   (U.S. Census)
  • The percentage of women supporting ex-husbands is increasing.  (U.S. Census)
  • Women made up 46.7% of the work force last year.  (DOL)
  • That’s up from 41.2% in 1978.  (DOL)
  • Women, 45 to 54 years old, earn 75% as much as men the same age.

– from “The New Art of Alimony” by Jennifer Levitz for the Wall Street Journal

Happiness Plan

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Divorce is such a depressing life event, the pursuit of happiness can seem pretty far away.

However, Craig Harper has some interesting thoughts about happiness today at Lifehack.org.

“Could it be that happiness lies not in the chasing, but rather in the choosing?” asks Harper.

Is happiness joy and contentment, or is it the absence of fear or pain?

Harper says he found happiness when he stopped looking for it in the chasing, acquiring, accumulating and even planning.  He learned to let go, and when he did, he found that he already had happiness.

If you are divorced or separated, where do you look for your happiness?

Related Posts:

The Zen Divorce

Twelve Things You Can Do to Get Over Your Divorce

How to Decathect

Emotional Divorce

 
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