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Divorce Lawyers

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 November, 2012

Clerks May Accept Same Sex Marriage Licenses in Maryland

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler says that Maryland court clerks can begin accepting applications for same sex marriage licenses immediately even though the law does not go into effect until January 1, 2013.

Clerks may also issue the marriage licenses any time after December 6, 2012, when Governor Martin O’Malley is expected to approve the same sex marriage law approved by voters earlier this month.

Gansler left it up to the court clerks whether or not to issue the licenses early.  If they decided to wait, January 1 is a holiday and the licenses have a two day waiting period.  So the marriage would have to take place on January 4 or later.

Here’s what you need to know to apply in Montgomery County.

Marriage by Telephone

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Noel Tshiani and Marie-Louise Tshiani met in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1993 when he was 35 and she was 18.  They decided to get married in the Congo, but on the wedding day, he was on assignment by the World Bank in another African country.  So he appointed his cousin to stand in for him and he participated by telephone.

They lived together first in Arlington, Virginia, then in Potomac, Maryland, and had three children together.  After about 15 years of marriage, Tshiani filed for divorce claiming that Noel was abusive.  The court in Montgomery County, Maryland awarded her alimony, child support, attorney fees and divided the martial property.

Noel appealed arguing that the marriage by telephone was not valid in the Congo and that it should not be recognized by Maryland.  Therefore, the divorce decree was invalid.

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals found that a marriage by telephone was legal in the Congo.  It also held that Maryland would recognize the marriage under the principles of comity.  Under that doctrine, state will give effect to orders and actions of foreign states out of deference and respect.  Therefore the divorce was proper and the decree was affirmed.

Tshiani v. Tshiani

The Gordian Knot

Monday, November 26th, 2012


I know some lawyers who are great at memorizing and reciting the law.  They can write compelling and persuasive letters and pleadings.

But there is something missing in their approach to the case.  It is dry, mechanical, rote and by the book.  It lacks juice or passion.  It fails to deliver a resolution.  The case is prolonged.

When Alexander the Great entered Gordium in the forth century B.C., he came upon a chariot tied with an intricate knot.  An oracle predicted that whoever was able to undo the knot would become king of Asia.  Alexander drew his sword and cut the knot in two.

There are some divorce cases that beg for a creative solution.

Thanksgiving Visitation Schedules

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

The holidays can be stressful.  We have relatives and friends coming for Thanksgiving dinner.  So we have been shopping and cleaning and cooking to get ready for the big event.

But some of my clients have to add to that the stress of child visitation disputes and lawyers and courts.  It makes me realize how important it is to be clear in drafting visitation schedules for co-parenting plans.  You can’t just say the parties will alternate holidays.  You have to spell it out in some detail:

“The parties will alternate Thanksgiving Day every year.  In 2012 and every even numbered year after that, the children will spend Thanksgiving Day with the mother.  In 2013 and every odd numbered year after that, the children will spend Thanksgiving Day with their father.”

Or you can split the day with the children having lunch at one house and dinner at the other house, alternating each year.  But set forth detailed pickup times and places.

Where to Find the Law

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

HammurabiWhen I started practicing law 37 years ago, we had shelves and shelves of books in our office library.

Now we don’t even have a library in our office.  We can fit a whole library on a computer disc or access the law on the Internet from our computers, laptops, pads or cell phones.

Babylon King Hammurabi is known as the law giver because he was the first one to have a code of laws written down.  He died around 1750 B.C.  The code was chiseled into stone tablets more than eight feet tall.  They were discovered in 1901 more than 3,600 years later.

I cannot help but wonder if our laws written on computer discs will survive for 3,600 years.

Uh, Oh, I Chose the Wrong Attorney

Monday, November 12th, 2012

by guest blogger, B. Lyttle, who has over five years experience in law and finance writing, and is a contributor for the Santa Barbara divorce attorney firm.

Getting a divorce is a tough situation for the married couple especially if issues like child custody and money matters are involved. Hiring a divorce lawyer is an important part of this process and requires good thought before you hire a lawyer for yourself.

A good divorce attorney will solve your case at a proper pace and by following proper procedure. On the other hand, an unnecessarily adversarial lawyer may make the things even harder and cause more conflicts to arise between you and your spouse.

Unfortunately, if you’ve picked the wrong divorce lawyer who is only increasing the rift between the two parties, here are five tips for you to handle an unnecessarily adversarial divorce lawyer:

1.  Be reasonable instead of being angry

Having a fight is not the solution to divorce. Some lawyers do think that indulging in the fight would end the entire conflict and successfully bring about a divorce. This is seldom correct. Follow your reasons instead of your anger.   Fights between the spouses are created sometimes because of adversarial lawyers.   Tell your attorney that you need a divorce and not a fight. Tell him or her to reach to the solution by following a proper path or it will only increase your stress and nothing else.

2.  Follow a collaborative approach

This is a good way to solve the problems in a bad marriage situation. Both you and your spouse decide to consult with collaborative lawyers to solve your disputes because of different point of views. This is known as the collaborative approach. Tell your lawyer that you want this type of divorce. He or she will work out the major issues on which the case rests. If at any point of time, he or she does not work according to your desires, you can hire another lawyer.

3.  Involve yourself proactively

This will ensure that the lawyer is not acting in an unnecessarily adversarial manner. Know about the position of your case in the court of law and inquire about the communications of lawyer to the court. If any kind of objectionable or conflict causing language is used at any time in the documents, you can get it removed. Follow the systematic steps to file the divorce petition and the process that follows. This will help in getting you the divorce as soon as possible and avoid any type of delay.

4.  Make your lawyer follow your instructions

You should make sure that you are giving instructions to your lawyer. Otherwise the divorce can not only be delayed but also you face the consequences in your divorce of the unnecessarily adversarial nature of the lawyer.  You want to get divorced but you do not need to destroy family relationships forever.   A divorce does not mean end of everything. You should opt for a peaceful separation and not participate in tactics that are misguided by an unnecessarily adversarial lawyer.

5.  Solve issues with minimum conflict

Try to solve all the major issues like property division, child custody etc without getting involved in excessive fights and conflicts. These are sensitive issues that must be handled with care.

In a nutshell, divorce can be painful situation for both the partners. Try to reduce this pain by being reasonable and get out of it without getting involved in the conflicts.

Maryland Voters Approve Same Sex Marriages

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Maryland voters approved same sex marriages at the ballot box yesterday.  Maine voters also approved gay marriage joining six other states and the District of Columbia.  Minnesota voters rejected a constitutional amendment that would have banned gay marriage in that state.

Courts and legislatures had allowed gay and lesbian marriages in other states, but this is the first time, in more than 30 attempts, that citizens of a state have approved the law by popular vote.

Gay couples will be able to wed in Maryland beginning January 1.

For more details, listen to my discussion of same sex marriage on the Jim Bohanan radio show.

Choosing a Divorce Lawyer

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Guest Post by Brandon Bernstein

As you begin the process of looking for divorce lawyers in Maryland, there’s surely already a great deal on your mind. Therefore, it’s especially important that you get started on the right foot.

With the following tips, you’ll learn a little bit about how to choose a divorce lawyer in Maryland, and how to ensure that you get on the same page and work with that lawyer to protect your best interests as much as possible.

Choose The Right Type of Attorney: Different divorce lawyers in Maryland may specialize in different approaches to the overall process.  What type of resolution are you seeking, and in which fashion? While many family law attorneys in Maryland offer both mediation and litigation services, others specialize in just one or the other and may or may not be the best fit for your specific needs or preferences.

Avoid Shopping Around Too Much: A popular trend these days is to have a free divorce consultation with as many attorneys as you can, and therefore prevent your ex from hiring those same attorneys and firms. While that’s certainly one approach, it may benefit you to simply find the right attorney, one whom you are comfortable with and who can deliver you the results you’re looking for, and get started with preparations as quickly as possible.

Never Sign Any Agreements Without Representation: What will that quick and easy separation agreement your spouse drafted up really hurt, right? Not so fast. Do not sign any types of agreements, or try to draw one up, on your own, without qualified divorce lawyers in Maryland. You may be setting yourself up for failure, and the wrong type of language, or the exclusion of an important clause, can come back to haunt you.

Understand the Process: Be sure that your attorney is upfront and direct with you about what to expect during the process. This includes everything from timelines to fees to steps along the way, how to prepare, and so forth. When you understand what to expect, you’ll be more at ease along the way.

Don’t Conceal Information: If there’s one person in the world you need to be honest and forthcoming with right now, it’s your divorce lawyer. Don’t conceal any information which is or potentially could be relevant to your case. It only muddies the picture and makes it more difficult for your attorney to protect you.

Trust: When searching for family law attorneys in Maryland, find somebody you can really trust and depend upon. Be sure that the divorce lawyer in Maryland that you choose is honest and dependable.

With the above tips, hopefully you’ll be able to have an easier time searching for and choosing between divorce lawyers in Maryland. If you’re facing an impending separation and divorce, don’t hesitate to take action as swiftly as possible.

The Law Offices of Brandon Bernstein is located in Bethesda, Maryland, and helps clients with numerous family law issues, as well as business and civil litigation, bankruptcy and estate planning. Visit for more information.

This Is Not a Fairness Store

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

“I’ve worked so long and so hard to be a successful businessman and I’ve made $3 million dollars. Now you’re telling me she gets half?” said Bill to his divorce lawyer, Elliot, in the hushed suite of offices. Elliot had table lamps that gave a calming glow because he hated the overhead florescent lights.

“Maryland is an equitable property state,” said Elliot. “That means the judge can do what he or she thinks is reasonable, taking into account certain factors. It doesn’t necessarily mean an equal division of property, but in most cases, it will be equal.”

“I want you to see to it that she doesn’t get half. It’s my property. All I want is what’s fair and just.”

“Then your expectations are too high and I can’t meet them. We don’t sell fairness here. There are laws and cases that have been tried before your case and the court must follow them.”

“So what do you sell here?” asked Bill.

“Our time, advice and experience. If you want a clear, honest division of property that is more or less equal, we can help you. But if you want more than that, then we cannot help you. Divorce is not fair.”

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