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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 December, 2013

Irreconcilable Differences

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Gulfnews.com reports the following reasons for divorce in Kuwait this year:

  • A woman discovered after one week of marriage that her husband used bread to eat peas rather than a fork.  She was disgusted and shocked by his lack of table manners and eating etiquette she said.
  • A woman wanted to divorce her husband for squeezing the toothpaste from the middle of the tube instead of the end.
  • A man divorced his wife for refusing to get him a glass of water.   She said the maid could do it.

Legal experts say a major reason for divorce in Kuwait is failure to accept differences in the other person.

Maryland Courts Favor Divorce Over Annulment

Monday, December 30th, 2013

Arthur Hall met Patricia in 1966.  They were both separated and in the process of divorcing their respective spouses.  Patricia was divorced in 1967 and in 1968 Arthur received a copy of a divorce decree from his attorney.  Arthur and Patricia married in 1970.

But there was a glitch with Arthur’s divorce from Helen and, in 1973, he learned that it had been invalidated.  In 1974, Arthur and Patricia separated.  He filed for an annulment stating the marriage was void from the beginning since he was married to his first wife at the time of the marriage to his second wife.  Patricia counterclaimed for divorce.

The Court had the power to either annul the marriage or dissolve it by divorce.  Guess which one it chose.

The Court said:

“It is conceded that the parties entered into the marriage in good faith. Thereafter they pursued a rather normal marital relationship for almost four years during which time they sincerely believed they were legally married. An annulment of the marriage fails to recognize any marital relationship between the parties, while a divorce, on the other hand, does recognize the marital relationship. It can hardly be denied that a normal marital relationship did exist between the parties to this cause, even after Arthur obtained a divorce from his first wife in December 1973.  Under such circumstances this Court believes that the dissolution of the marriage by divorce is more appropriate than by declaring it annulled.”

Hall v. Hall, 32 Md. App. 363 (1976)

A Place for Kindness in Divorce

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

Guest post by Evelyn Crowther

Divorce changes us. That’s obvious on many levels. We go from being part of a couple who share a home, finances, interests and a mutual set of values on what’s important in life, to two separate people who appear to disagree on everything.

At the beginning we are hopeful, perhaps naively so? We are in love with the other and full of anticipation at the great life we are going to build together.

There is a sense of invincibility about being able to withstand difficulties that will arise; after all, our love is the real thing. We communicate well, listen attentively, we are thoughtful and considerate with one another. Our lovemaking is passionate and inventive, and the concept of separation and divorce is unthinkable – something that happens to others, but not us.

For many couples, divorce can be just as passionate as those early months of new love; only the passion is expressed as anger, bitterness and hatred for the person we once cherished. It’s as if love has turned itself inside out and upside down.

Divorce might sometimes be a necessary process, but are anger and nastiness really inevitable? Is it possible to make the whole process less traumatic by simply attempting kindness? Many couples find themselves on a path of vengeance, because they have forgotten who the other person really is.

Remember what you initially loved about your spouse. What are the characteristics that drew you towards him or her? Is it possible to see beyond the current difficulties, to the person who still exists beneath the layers of grievance?

The pain of divorce makes us selfish.  We forget that the other person is hurting just as much as ourselves. We may not immediately want to see angry, manipulative or greedy behavior as a result of deep hurt, but why do we believe that we alone have the monopoly on pain?

Pain is ugly, it’s infuriating, but perhaps by relaxing our clenched fists surrounding our need to be right, we could be the one to extend small acts of grace to the other, and by so doing, open up the possibility of reciprocal kindness in return.

Kindness takes courage, but it could be a risk worth taking.

Divorce Songs We Wish We’d Written

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

“Say Something”
by A Great Big World

Say something, I’m giving up on you.
I’ll be the one, if you want me to.
Anywhere, I would’ve followed you.
Say something, I’m giving up on you.

And I am feeling so small.
It was over my head
I know nothing at all.

And I will stumble and fall.
I’m still learning to love
Just starting to crawl.

Say something, I’m giving up on you.
I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you.
Anywhere, I would’ve followed you.
Say something, I’m giving up on you.

And I will swallow my pride.
You’re the one that I love
And I’m saying goodbye.

Say something, I’m giving up on you.
And I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you.
And anywhere, I would have followed you.
Oh-oh-oh-oh say something, I’m giving up on you.

Say something, I’m giving up on you.
Say something…

Relationship Breakdown Due to Addiction

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Guest post by Evelyn Crowther

In the strictest sense, addiction refers to physical dependence on a substance that provokes unpleasant or dangerous symptoms upon its withdrawal, such as certain drugs or alcohol. However, addiction is a term that’s also used in a wider sense to mean the compulsive repetition of certain behaviors that cause disruption to life, and over which the participant has little control. Gambling, sex and online gaming are examples of the kinds of behaviors that can easily spin out of control, resulting in personality changes that threaten the integrity of a relationship.

Divorce and Addiction

Relationships fall apart and couples divorce for a multitude of reasons and it’s rarely an easy process. For the couple dealing with addiction, it can be as traumatic as divorce involving infidelity, because the addiction itself is like a third person in the relationship.

Admitting the Truth

Addicts are liars, and deceive nobody more effectively than themselves. Addiction creates a huge amount of shame for the person ensnared by the behavioral or substance dependency, often leading to elaborate attempts to cover up their behavior.

Partners of addicts often notice troubling personality changes as their loved one becomes increasingly defensive or angry. There are often worrying financial issues that come to light, and in some cases – also the threat of violence.

Struggling alone with confusing and contradictory behavior can create anxiety and depression for someone living with an addict, as they attempt to understand what is happening around them.

One of the most courageous things either party can do is to break the silence and admit that an area of life is out of control. Admitting helplessness is the first of the steps in the famous 12 Step Program, but isn’t necessarily limited to alcohol addiction. Surrender can be seen as a principle that applies to all areas where we have lost control of our lives.

Support of Others

It’s usually by taking that first difficult step of admitting what is happening, that people seek and find a connection with others who are also struggling, or on the road to recovery. There is so much help and support out there – often locally, and discovering that we are not alone makes disclosure a risk well worth taking.

Bad Way to Say You Want a Divorce

Friday, December 13th, 2013

The lawyers at TGC paused in our efforts to prosecute or defend the adultery, abandonment and cruelty of others in order to celebrate at our annual holiday lunch at Food Wine & Co.

The table talk turned to food and somebody mentioned leg of lamb.

It reminded me of the classic short story by Roald Dahl, “Lamb to the Slaughter”.  If you haven’t read it, click on the link.

I won’t spoil the ending, but let’s just say, don’t turn your back on a spouse with a frozen leg of lamb in her hands, when announcing that you want a divorce.

Divorce’s Silver Lining Playbook

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

UK divorce lawyer, Marilyn Stowe, wrote on her blog today about a new study which indicates a past hardship like divorce may increase your ability to enjoy the present.

The researchers surveyed about 15,000 people about whether they had resolved past hardships like loss through death or divorce or they were still struggling with them.

Then they assessed the level of enjoyment these people experienced in the present from small positive events like seeing a waterfall or going for a bike ride.

The people who had resolved past hardships showed a higher capacity for enjoying the present moments than those who were still experiencing unresolved problems from the past.

“The worst experiences in life may come with an eventual upside…The present research lends some credence to the notion that bad days might make the good ones better,” the study concludes.

51 Jurisdictions, 51 Different Sets of Divorce Laws

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Guest post by Alfred Jacobs who writes on behalf of Jarmanlaw about divorce laws, Oklahoma City family law attorneys, and more.

There are 50 states and the District of Columbia in the US. Each jurisdiction has a unique way of considering marriage and divorces. State divorce laws vary widely on the matter of dissolution of marriage bonds, child custody, visitation rights, support, property distribution and alimony. In almost all states, for the separation to be legal, it must be certified by a court. The path to a court decree may be through mutual, pre-agreed terms or a highly contested, acrimonious legal battle.

It helps to have a legal attorney by your side conversant with the specific state divorce laws applicable to your case and to where you are living and filing for divorce. Complicating the issue is the matter of child custody and visitation rights factored into the state divorce laws. State divorce laws of the state where you reside apply to divorce proceedings, not where you were married and there is a minimum residence time required as well, with each state specifying different periods. State divorce laws allow for divorce petitions on grounds of a fault, on no fault basis or mutual consent. Some states require a suitable time interval after separation before a divorce petition can be filed.

Should you proceed on grounds of a fault, on a no-fault basis or seek mutual consent for a divorce? Which method would yield the maximum benefit for you out of dissolution of the marriage and safeguard your interest as well as that of your children?

These are matters your attorney can help you decide based on his expertise, depth of knowledge of state divorce laws and the merits of your case. A caring, compassionate lawyer knows all that is involved in divorces and does his best to resolve differences in the first stage. That failing, he will get both parties together to arrive at a mutual understanding on the terms of separation and institute divorce proceedings only as a last resort should neither side be willing to compromise.

Rising Home Prices Mean More Divorces

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Mary Shanklin at the Orlando Sentinel reports that local divorce attorneys and real estate agents are seeing more unhappy couples calling it quits because home prices are rising.  They can now get some cash out of their houses to start over.

Before the recession of 2007-2009, divorcing couples fought over the children and the house.  But when real estate values fell, many homes were underwater, and the mortgage became the debt that neither spouse wanted.

So many couples stayed together until they could sell their home for a profit without ruining their credit.

 
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