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Thyden Gross and Callahan LLPCounselors and Attorneys at Law



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 April, 2010

Don’t Make a Project Out of a Phone Call

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

“You got done in an afternoon what the others couldn’t get done in the previous 30 days.” – A Happy Client

Here is what I did:

1. picked up the phone and called the other lawyer.

2. listened carefully to the other side’s position and what they wanted.

3. broke the problem down into two separate issues.

4. problem solved one issue at a time.

5. picked up the phone and told my client what the other side wanted, item by item.

6. pointed out to both sides that their interests were the same.

7. gave them win/win options.

8.  didn’t just argue my client’s position.

Phone calls are better than letters and emails to get things done because you have the opportunity to ask questions, clarify misunderstanding, explore options and give feedback.

Which King Had More Wives?

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

It looks like Larry King is heading toward his 8th divorce (with 7 wives — he married the last one twice).

I bet you don’t know who had more wives, Larry King or King Henry the Eighth.

The answer is here.

Maryland’s New Child Support Guidelines

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Following reconciliation of the house and senate bills, the Maryland Legislature has passed HB 500 – Child Support Guidelines Revision.

The bill has a new matrix for child support, which goes into effect for new cases filed on or after October 1, 2010, and it will increase the amount that most non-custodial parents will have to pay.  The new guidelines will go up to $15,000 in combined income instead of the old cap of $10,000.   However, you cannot petition for an increase in old cases just because the new law has passed.  There would have to be some other change in circumstances.

The legislature did not pass two other proposed bills discussed here:

SB 577 – Family Law – Grounds for Absolute Divorce – Time Requirements.  This bill would have shortened the required separation period from one year (voluntary) and two years (involuntary) for no fault divorces to six months and one year respectively.

SB 578 – Family Law – Grounds for Divorce.   This bill would have allowed people to obtain no fault divorces while separated but living in the same house.

Dower, Curtesy and Mahr

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

One thing that makes our law practice in DC and its Maryland and DC suburbs interesting is that we have a lot of international clients, such as employees of the World Bank or International Monetary Fund.  We are used to prenuptial agreements and waivers of common law rights like dower and curtesy and all rights granted under Maryland law or any other state or nation.  But when you have clients who married under Islamic law, you may also have to inquire about Mahr.

Mahr (also spelled mehr, meher, or mahrieh), according to is “a gift, mandatory in Islam, which is given by the groom to the bride upon marriage in Islamic cultures (in contrast to other cultures’ bride price, which is paid to the bride’s father).  It is considered to be a form of appreciation, as well as providing certain guarantees for the woman.”

The gift may be slight or major involving investments and real estate according to the social status of the bride.  It can be paid in installments, one at marriage and the other if the husband dies or the parties divorce.

“According to a tradition in Bukhari, the mahr is an essential condition for the legality of the marriage: ‘Every marriage without mahr is null and void’.”  Encyclopaedia of Islam.  The Qur’an also mentions Mahr at verse 4:4.

How Judges Decide Cases

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Take this Cognitive Reflection Test from MIT professor Shane Frederick and see how you score.  If you get them right, you are cognitive, meaning you concentrate and deliberate before making a decision.  Get them wrong and you are intuitive, making fast and spontaneous decisions.  Answers are in the comment section below.

1.  A bat and a ball cost $1.10 total.  The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball.  How much does the ball cost?

2.  If it takes five machines five minutes to make five widgets, how long would it take 100 machines to make 100 widgets?

3.  In a lake, there’s a patch of lily pads.  Every day, the patch doubles in size.  If it takes 48 days for the patch to cover the entire lake, how long would it take for the patch to cover half of the lake?

Vanderbilt professor Chris Guthrie decided to ask about 300 judges at a conference to take the test in 2008.  The results?  Only 15% got all three answers right.  The majority of judges appear to make hasty and intuitive decisions.

Divorce Quotes

Friday, April 9th, 2010

“Am I married, you ask boss?  Wife, kids, grandkids, mortgage-the whole catastrophe!” — Zorba the Greek

Credit Card Companies Can Predict Divorce

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Visa is able to look at your credit card purchases and predict if you are about to get a divorce, according to The Daily Beast.

Why does Visa care if you are getting a divorce?  People going through a divorce are a higher risk because they are more likely to miss a credit card payment.

“Credit card companies don’t really care about divorce in and of itself,” says Ian Ayres, Yale Law School Professor, and author of Super Crunchers.  “They care whether you’re going to pay your card off.”

Negotiation Tip — Get Specific

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

Sometimes I draft a Separation Agreement, send it to the other side, and receive a response that says “My client rejects your proposal.”

Or the other side will send me a proposal and my client says, “It’s ridiculous.  I don’t like anything about it.”

Both responses leave something to be desired in moving the case forward.  So my reply is always, “What, specifically, don’t you like about it?”

This simple question seems to disengage emotion and engage logic.  Once I get the other side, or my client, going through the document item by item, we can discuss options, concessions and counterproposals.  I put these in a letter to the other side and we can then focus only on the objections, which narrows the issues to be negotiated.

Country Songs We Wish We’d Written

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010


by Tim McGraw

I spent fifteen hundred dollars on your damn dog’s collar
Put new spinners on you Escalade
I swear I almost started cryin’
when you brought up buyin’ diamonds
Lord I’m spending more than I’m getting paid
You got more purses than Versace
Got more rings that Liberace
Fill your closes full of fancy shoes
All my credit cards are cookin’
Girl you don’t know what your puttin’ me through

You got me walkin’ past the fellas
Holdin’ drinks with pink umbrellas
on some island that I can’t even spell
Then we slide over to Gucci
Right before we go for sushi
That’s a version of my personal hell
You just spent all day long trying on Louis Vitton
There’s a thousand things that I’d rather do
Lord my mom would beat me senseless
if she saw what I was spending on you

Divorce Quotes

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

“Love is an exploding cigar we willingly smoke.” – Lynda Barry

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