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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 February, 2013

Tax Planning for Divorce (Part 5-Payments to Your Ex)

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Guest Post by John Ellsworth, Esq.

If you’re paying alimony, you can take a tax deduction for the payments, even if you don’t itemize deductions.

Keep in mind, though, that the IRS won’t consider the payments to be true alimony unless they are spelled out in the divorce agreement. This is another rule for you to memorize: unless the divorce decree spells it out, it’s probably not going to be accepted by the IRS as alimony.

Your ex, meanwhile, must pay income tax on those amounts. Be sure you know your ex-spouse’s Social Security number. You have to report it on your tax return to claim the alimony deduction.

The opposite is true for child support: You don’t get a deduction for paying child support and the recipient doesn’t pay income tax.

Getting a Divorce or Pretending That Everything Is All Right?

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Guest post by Corina David

Divorce is a traumatic experience, no matter if this happens after 6 or 16 years of marriage. But despite the bitter taste, it might be the only remedy possible to a relation that is anyway doomed to failure.

When children are involved, the situation becomes even more complicated, as many decide to tolerate each other for a few more years until the children are old enough either to understand or leave home and have their own lives. A relationship like this is like a pair of socks that needs constant mending. And the truth is that despite the laudable intention of being economical, you’ll still have to buy a new pair of socks – better quality maybe. This is pretty much the same with a relation – if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work; get used to the idea, do something and don’t use the children as an excuse.

Priority or not?

Children shouldn’t be an excuse, indeed, but should be a priority. Growing up in a medium where tension can be felt might harm them more in the long term than if you were to cut the bad from its roots.

There are many family law professionals who can provide special counselling sessions to couples who want to divorce. The golden rule is to never speak badly of your partner in front of your children. After all, he’s their father, or she’s their mother.

While traumatic at first, children will eventually get used to the idea. Also, when there is more than one child involved, they should not be “divided” between the parents, even if one of the children may be the father’s or mother’s favourite.

Should the in-laws receive counselling?

Divorce affects not only the children, but the grandparents as well. Sometimes, special counselling sessions for the grandparents may be a good idea, as they might be inclined to partner with their own grown-up children and see the former husband or wife as the “enemy”.  Obviously, this will affect the little ones. Grandparents need to understand that while their grown-up children may have had problems, that was just between them and should not let this affect their relation. Family law firms offer advice that can be really helpful. There are also special counsellors that do this.

Remember that words have the power to destroy and to connect, therefore words should only be uttered after they have been wisely thought. And no matter how well you might think you handle the situation, there’s always a case, or someone else’s experience, or words of wisdom that can make a huge difference.

So don’t hide in the closet! Seek advice and talk to people. Divorce happens, the same way life happens, the same way marriage happens. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Promises Kept

Monday, February 25th, 2013

I saw a clip from Kevin Spacey’s new tv show called House of Cards.  I am paraphrasing here.

“The secretary said, “I know he made a promise, but circumstances have changed.”

Spacey said, “It is the nature of promises to be kept no matter what the circumstances.”

I have received a couple of emails recently with the same theme.  The writer has signed a Separation Agreement  and divorced years ago, and now regrets the promises made in the Agreement.  One says things have changed.  Another says, “I felt pressured to sign.”  Both want me to undo what they have done.

I must tell them there is no hope unless they can give me a ticket for time travel.  An order incorporating an agreement is final and unappealable 30 days after it is entered.  Duress means someone held a gun to your head.

One reason that agreements are written and signed is that someone may change their mind later and not wish to keep a promise because circumstances have changed.  Absent a provision involving alimony or children, you will find that most agreements are written in concrete and cannot be easily set aside.  So call me before you sign, not after.

Do Women Talk More Than Men?

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

“My wife said I don’t listen to her – or something like that.”

Women speak about 20,000 words a day. Men speak about 7,000.  If a husband uses up all his 7,000 words at work, and the wife uses a like amount during the day, then when they get home, the husband has used up all his words.  The wife still has 13,000 more words to say.

A University of Maryland study says there is a reason women are more talkative than men.  They have a higher amount of the Foxp2, known as the language protein, in their brains.

See TGC attorney Lois Finkelstein’s interview on this story at WUSA TV.

Heavy Drinking Is Divorce Predictor

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

In a Norwegian study of close to 20,000 couples over a 15 year period, researchers found that heavy alcohol drinking correlated with an increasing risk of divorce.

The risk was especially high in couples where the woman was a heavy drinker and the man was a light drinker.

The conclusion was that the level of alcohol use and the level of alcohol incompatibility are divorce predictors.

Tax Planning for Divorce (Part 4-Child and Child Care Tax Credits)

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Guest Post by John Ellsworth, Esq.

Even if your ex gets the dependency exemption for the child, you can continue to claim the child-care credit for work-related expenses you incur to care for a child under age 13, if you have custody.

But only the parent who claims a child as a dependent may claim the $1,000 child tax credit.

Country Songs We Wish We’d Written

Monday, February 11th, 2013

Mama’s Broken Heart

by Miranda Lambert

I cut my bangs with some rusty kitchen scissors
I screamed his name ‘til the neighbors called the cops
I numbed the pain at the expense of my liver
I don’t know what I did next I just know, I couldn’t stop

Word got around to the barflies and the baptists
My mama’s phone started ringin’ off the hook
I can hear her now sayin’ she ain’t gonna have it
Don’t matter how you feel, it only matters how you look

Go and fix your make up, girl it’s just a break up
Run and hide your crazy and start actin’ like a lady
Cause I raised you better, gotta keep it together
Even when you fall apart
But this ain’t my mama’s broken heart

A Free Divorce for Valentine’s Day

Friday, February 8th, 2013

“What do you want for Valentine’s Day, dear?  Diamond earrings?”

“No.”

“A fur coat?”

“No.”

“A Mercedes?”

“No. I want a divorce.”

“Well, I wasn’t thinking of something quite that expensive.”

Attorney Walter Bently III of Southfield, Michigan, is offering a free divorce for Valentine’s Day on his website. Just tell him the most compelling story about why you deserve a free divorce.  The winner will be announced on Valentine’s Day.

Five Tips on How to Work Effectively with Your Divorce Lawyer

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Guest article by Houston divorce lawyer Scott Morgan. He is board certified in family law in Texas and has represented divorce clients since 1994. He is the founder of the Morgan Law Firm which has offices in Houston and Austin.

It’s official, you’re getting divorced. The first thing you should do is retain an attorney that you feel comfortable working with. Your attorney is your guide through the divorce process – it is a process that can be long and complicated, so it is important that you develop a strong working relationship. If you will follow a few simple guidelines you greatly aid your attorney in helping you to achieve your objectives and your case will go much more smoothly.

Tip #1 – Be Honest With Your Attorney

Lying is the quickest way to ruin your attorney-client relationship and case. Your attorney depends on the information you provide to create a strategy for your case. The more thorough, accurate information you can provide, the better your attorney can help you reach your goals.

Tip #2 – Be Realistic About Your Objectives

Your attorney cannot predict the specific outcome of your case, but they can give you a general idea of what to expect and how the court system often proceeds in similar situations. You will only hurt yourself and your relationship with your attorney if you continually ask your attorney to do things that are not within the realm of realistic divorce proceedings.

Tip #3 – Be Organized

Get your ducks in a row, and keep them that way. Your attorney will ask to see a lot of financial documents, and may also seek school or medical records, emails, etc. It is a lot of paper work to get in order, but it will be so critical to your case that it is very important to follow your attorney’s instructions in providing this information. The better you can organize your documents, the less time (and money!) your attorney will have to spend on it.

Tip #4 – Be Unemotional

Divorce is not easy on the emotions, but the more you can keep your emotions out of your decision making, the better your attorney can serve you. The court system does not favor those that are trying to ‘get even’–if you find that you cant get past your emotional pain, it is a good idea to hire a therapist to help you with those issues so your attorney can focus on the legal issues.

Tip #5 – Be Willing to Follow Your Attorney’s Advice

Your attorney can not work on your behalf if you are unwilling to follow his instructions. There is a method to the madness of divorce and the more you are a willing and compliant participant, the less time your attorney will spend spinning his wheels to help you accomplish your goals. If your attorney asks you to do something–or to refrain from doing something–do your best to comply in a timely manner.

Your attorney is your ally in the divorce process, but he is not a magician. He will do what he can to help you navigate the proceedings, but he cannot do so effectively unless you are an active partner.

 
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