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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 June, 2010

Wall Street 2 Spins Off a Dispute

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

A divorce settlement agreement is supposed to take care of everything related to the marriage and divorce, past, present and future.  So lawyers usually take great care in drafting them.  They have to peer into the future, predict everything that can go wrong, and select just the right words for clarity in case some judge is trying to figure out what they meant ten years from now.

Which is what the judge has to do in movie star Michael Douglas’s divorce, reports  His ex-wife, Diandra Douglas, has filed suit for 50% of his income from Wall Street 2.

Her $45 million dollar settlement in 2000 has a provision that states she is entitled to half his earnings from any residuals, merchandising or spinoffs of movies made during the marriage.  She claims that Wall Street 2 is a “spinoff”.  He claims that it is a “sequel”.  What a difference one word makes.  How would you rule if you were the judge?

From a King to a Jack

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

“Break, break for a thousand years, O Sea,
And still you’ll never be as broke as me.” – Anonymous

If you think the Great Recession is tough on you, pity the poor millionaires who can’t afford their divorces.

Elon Musk, co-founder of PayPal and owner of Tesla Motors, says “about four months ago, I ran out of cash.”   His wife wants stock in Tesla, the house, alimony child support and six million dollars.

Tiki Barber, former New York Giant, lost his $300,000 a year contract with NBC in May of this year after he left his pregnant wife of 11 years for a 23 year old intern.  He says his career is in tatters and he cannot afford to pay the settlement amount demanded by his wife.


Divorce Is Contagious

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Social contagion, according to a report at, is the spread of behavior or emotion through a group.  Professor James H. Fowler of the University of California, San Diego, says divorce can spread like a virus from one couple to friends, family, coworkers, and even to people at least two degrees of separation away.  Fowler studied 5,000 people.

“We think of a regular contagion like the flu. You get a virus and you’re more likely to spread the symptoms to someone else. This is not just true for a virus. This is true for a lot of social behaviors,” Fowler said.

If you get divorced, your friend may not get divorced, but they can pass the divorce fever on to your friend’s friend. “Some people can be a carrier of the disease without actually exhibiting the symptoms,” Fowler said. “They can carry a virus, but they might not get a fever or cough.”

How The Rich and Famous Settle

Friday, June 18th, 2010

If you are curious about how the rich and famous settle, has posted the Stipulated Judgment which contains the settlement agreement between Charlie Sheen and Brooke Mueller.  They will have joint legal custody and Brooke will have primary physical custody of their two children.  Charlie will have them on the first, third and fifth weekends of the month from Saturday at 10 AM until Monday at 10 AM.

Charlie will pay Brooke $55,000 a month for child support, plus other expenses, but not less than the child support paid to Denise Richards.

No alimony, but Brooke will get a million dollars for her share of the house, several bank accounts and other assets.  Both agree not to disparage each other in front of the kids.

Redlining Amended Pleadings

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

I received an Amended Complaint for Divorce today, but no copy showing changes from the original Complaint.  The attorney who drafted it was probably in a hurry because trial is coming up.  Or maybe, like me, he has an old copy of the Maryland Court Rules on his desk.

In 1995, Section (e) was added to Rule 2-341, the rule that concerns amendment of pleadings.  Entitled “Highlighting of Amendments”, it requires a comparison copy be filed showing deleted text by lining through or enclosing it in brackets, and text that has been added by underlining or bolding it.

Lawyers sometimes call this redlining because the wordprocessor will do it for you in red, and before there were word processors, we probably used a red pen.

The lawyer’s punishment for failing to provide a redline?  I’m working on the Motion to Strike Amended Complaint right now.

Choosing the Right State for Your Divorce

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

by Michael F. Callahan

Jean and Joe had been married a long time but they did not spend much time together.  Jean was the high earner and she spent lots of her time on the road for business. The clearest event establishing the separation was Jean’s purchase of a home in Virginia in her own name seven years ago.  Husband lived in Maryland.

Because the date for determining whether property is marital is separation in Virginia and the trial date in Maryland, Jean’s lawyer decided to file the case in Virginia rather than Maryland. Otherwise Jean might have to divide everything she had acquired over the seven year period that the spouses had lived apart and had completely separate finances.

Joe’s lawyer filed an Answer submitting Joe to the Virginia Court’s jurisdiction and never raised the lack of personal jurisdiction.  If Joe’s lawyer had gotten Jean’s Virginia case dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction and filed Joe’s complaint in Maryland, everything Jean had accumulated during the seven years of separation up to the date of divorce or would have been marital property.  The case settled on favorable terms to Jean.

Divorce Quotes

Monday, June 7th, 2010

“Divorce is not a solution, but an exchange of problems.” — Armand Nicholi II

Shopping for the Best Marital Property Law

Friday, June 4th, 2010

by Michael F. Callahan

When you and your spouse have separated, intending to remain separated, and do not have a property settlement agreement, in Maryland and the District of Columbia the property you acquire from the date of separation until the date of divorce is marital property. In Virginia such property it is not presumptively marital, and in general is determined to be separate property, unless special facts and circumstances are established to overcome the presumption.

Property means anything of value including wages, 401(k) accumulations, vehicles, real property, etc.  In a particular case, like one with a long separation before divorce where one spouse earned a lot more and acquired a lot more property than the other, this difference in the law can make a huge difference in outcome.

If you have a long separation and a big difference in post-separation property you probably want your divorce case to be heard in Virginia if you are the spouse with more post-separation property and you want it heard in D.C. or Maryland if you are the spouse with less post-separation property.  A little planning and bold action can get you into the best court for your case.

Marital Property Laws:

Country Songs We Wish We’d Written

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Pray for You
Jaron & The Long Road to Love

I haven’t been to church since I don’t remember when
Things were going great til they fell apart again
So I listened to the preacher as he told me what to do
He said you can’t go hatin’ others who have done wrong to you
Sometimes we get angry but we must not condemn
Let the good Lord do his job, you just pray for them

I pray your brakes go out runnin’ down a hill
I pray a flower pot falls from a window sill
And knocks you in the head like I’d like to
I pray your birthday comes and nobody calls
I pray you’re flyin’ high when your engine stalls
I pray all your dreams never come true
Just know wherever you are, honey, I pray for you

The Gore Divorce

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Tipper Gore and Al Gore announced in an email to friends that they are separating after 40 years of marriage.  They said they labored over the decision for a long time and reached a mutual agreement to live separately.  The reason given was that they had grown apart.

My wife and I have different pursuits.  She stays home with our children.  She is the president of the PTA.  She is working on a local political campaign.

I manage a busy law office and spend most days puzzling out how to untangle complex financial relationships between divorcing spouses.  Sometimes, while I am in the middle of a million dollar deal, and trying hard to concentrate on some troublesome aspect, my wife will call me.  The fish died, my son made the swim team, what was in that salad we had last week, and oh by the way we need milk.

Do I stop what I’m doing, take a deep breath and redirect my mind to her world?  You bet.

We are different, but we respect the differences, sometimes even finding humor in them.   We have different worlds but they intersect at home, family and raising our children.  We interact, communicate and participate.  Growing apart is a decision you make.  The opposite decision is staying together.

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