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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 May, 2013

A Stormy Divorce

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Some people going through divorce will find anything to argue about.  Stephen Benson, a 64 year old investment banker, settled his divorce with his wife of three years, Kim Charlton, 56, a former model.  He agreed to pay her $365,000.

But when she removed a $150 copper weather vane from the top of their $4 million mansion, he claimed she damaged the house and refused to pay her until she returned it.

Charlton lugged the bulky weather vane to court as Exhibit A.  She pointed out the four screws she hired a worker to detach.

The Judge ordered Benson to pay the $365,000 immediately and let Charlton keep the weather vane.

Senior Rights

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

We frequently write about divorce for people over 50 on this website.  Joseph Atkins, webmaster and editor of Senior Dating Blog, has sent along this helpful list of 100 blogs about senior rights.

Paternity Tests Ordered in Cleveland Kidnapping

Friday, May 10th, 2013

Police have ordered DNA tests to determine whether Ariel Castro is the father of Amanda Berry’s 6 year old daughter.  He is accused of kidnapping and raping Berry and two other women and holding them captive in his Cleveland home for years.

Many will find it hard to believe that a person convicted of such awful crimes would be able to assert any parental rights such as custody and visitation.

But Maryland, DC and Virginia are among the majority of jurisdictions that do not have laws terminating parental rights upon conviction of rape of the birth mother. So is Ohio.  If Castro sues for custody and visitation, the judge will have to decide based on what’s in the best interest of the child.

Adultery No Bar to Custody

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

In 1978, Robert Swain divorced Nancy Swain because of her adultery.  She did not deny it.  In fact, she was living in an apartment with another man she intended to marry.

What Robert objected to was the order giving Nancy custody of their minor daughter.  His position was that exposure to an adulterous relationship inevitably causes detriment to the morals and welfare of a child of impressionable years.

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals disagreed.  It said there are no presumptions that adultery makes you an unfit parent.  Adultery is relevant only as if it actually affects the child’s welfare.  There is no presumption of harm.  Adultery will not tip the balance against a parent in a custody case.

Swain v.  Swain, 43 Md. App. 622; 406 A.2d 680 (1979)

Late Counterclaim

Monday, May 6th, 2013

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If your spouse files a Complaint for Divorce against you, you have 30 days from the date you are served to file an Answer if served in the state of Maryland.   Maryland Rule 2-321(a).

You may also file a Counterclaim against your spouse.  Maryland Rule 2-331(a).

But if you file it more than 30 days after your Answer was due, your spouse can file a Motion to Strike your Counterclaim for being late.  The court shall grant the motion unless you can persuade the judge that the delay will not prejudice your spouse.  Maryland Rule 2-331(d).

Legal Writing: Splitting Infinities

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

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“There is a busybody on your staff who devotes a lot of his time to chasing split infinitives. Every good literary craftsman splits his infinitives when the sense demands it. I call for the immediate dismissal of this pedant. It is of no consequence whether he decides to go quickly or quickly to go or to quickly go. The important thing is that he should go at once.” George Bernard Shaw, Letter to The Times (19th c.)

 
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