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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 November, 2010

A Divorce Lawyer’s Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, let me take a moment to list the things that I am thankful for:

1.  A spouse who is agreeable, understanding, lives within our budget, and never ever calls me at work to see when I am coming home.

2.  Children who make straight A’s in school and do not whine, complain or make demands.

3.  Staff and colleagues who never show up late, call in sick, or take vacations and who make my work easier not harder.

4.  Vendors who keep our computers running perfectly all the time, serve summons, print stationery, prepare transcripts and don’t charge an arm and a leg.

5.  Clients who appreciate our work for them, acknowledge it, and pay their invoices promptly and cheerfully.

6.  Opposing counsel who return phone calls, act civilly, and work with us to resolve cases.

7.  Judges who nod in agreement with what we argue, sustain our objections, overrule our opponents, grant our motions, and remark that our clients have hired such skilled, experienced and wise counsel.

Wait a minute.  What fun would that kind of life be?  A life without surprise, difficulties and challenges would be pretty boring.  So instead, let me be thankful for every day that I wake up with problems to solve.  That’s what makes life interesting.

Grossing Up Income

Friday, November 12th, 2010

A lot of employees of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund reside in the Maryland suburbs of DC and do not pay US Taxes on the income they earn.  So someone making $100,000 a year tax free nets about the same amount of money as a US taxpayer who makes $130,000.

Since child support is based on income, it is a natural thought process, if you represent the recipient, to try to gross up tax free income.  And in fact, that was a common practice in Montgomery County Maryland until the Lemley case in 1994, when the Maryland Court of Special Appeals said:

“By ‘grossing-up’ Mr. Lemley’s tax-free pension, the Circuit Court of Montgomery County undoubtedly intended to place him on equal footing with the many parents who pay taxes on their income. In a broad sense, that strikes us as a reasonable approach. The devil, of course, is in the details, and wrestling with those details is a job best left to the legislature rather than the courts. The award of child support is reversed and remanded for an award based on the actual dollar amount of Mr. Lemley’s disability pension.”  Lemley v. Lemley, 102 Md. App. 266, 292 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. 1994)

Who Gets Custody of the Friends?

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Karen Stewart, President of Fairway Divorce Solutions, says that in addition to splitting up your CD’s in a divorce, you are also forced to cut off an entire social network that may have been nurtured for years.

“Within a circle of friends, you expect certain people to align with you,” Stewart is quoted as saying in a Toronto Sun article by Tanya Engberg.  “Friends can’t be in both camps, but often they don’t know what to do. Their normal stance is, ‘I think it’s best if I stay out of it,’ but that’s not the way it works. Your family and close friends can’t stay out of it.”

Divorce is an entire life overhaul.  In addition to the end of the romance, you have to accept the loss of your former spouse’s family members and friends that you have known for years.

“For me, I closed that chapter and started all over,” says a 41-year-old divorced father with two children.  “I maintained friendships for a short while, but it became uncomfortable. They do take sides, no matter what they tell you. Parents are always going to support their own child. If you want to start over, you have to cut ties with mutual friends and say goodbye to the in-laws.”

Stewart says that saying goodbye is tough, but inevitable.

Right-itus

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

“May you have a lawsuit in which you know you are right.”  – Ancient Chinese Curse

We all listen to that small voice inside our heads that says, “I’m right and if you don’t see that, then you’re crazy.”

Unfortunately, this can work against us.  It makes us stubbornly cling to positions without being able to see other options that might be beneficial.  I see this all the time in settlement negotiations and litigation.

It also happens in marriage as well.  The next time you argue with your spouse, ask yourself, “Would I rather be happy or be right?”  Being right is such a powerful attraction that many people would pick it over being happy.

I think one of my friends said it best.  “I only knew for sure I was right one time in my life.  And that time I turned out to be wrong.”

 
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