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Archive for February, 2014

Crawford Credits

Friday, February 21st, 2014

During their ten year marriage, Robert and Alice Crawford bought a house together as tenants by the entireties (a legal term for joint ownership by a married couple).

They separated in 1977. Robert left the house and Alice stayed. She paid the mortgage, real estate taxes and insurance until the house was sold three years later. The net sales proceeds were put into a bank account.

Robert sued for divorce and asked for half the bank account. Alice answered and said she was entitled to a contribution from Robert for the payments she had made on the house.

The trial court found that there was a presumption that the payments made by Alice were a gift to Robert and it divided the bank account equally.

The Court of Appeals said the presumption of gift doctrine should not apply when the parties are separated and that the trial court should consider whether Alice was entitled to some contribution for the payments she made.

When lawyers today ask for “Crawford Credits”, they mean contributions for mortgage, real estate taxes and insurance paid by one spouse for the marital residence after separation.

Crawford v. Crawford, 293 Md. 307 (1982)

Divorce Quotes

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

I dance
I fall down
I get up again
I go on dancing

— Hopi saying

Watching Movies Together May Reduce Risk of Divorce

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

I told my wife, Holly, this morning, about a study last year that concluded couples who watched movies together, and then had a conversation about what they saw, were 50 percent less likely to divorce.

Now Professor Ronald Rogge is conducting a new study in which he is asking couples to watch five movies in one month and then discuss them. Couples will pick their own movie or select one from a list of pre-selected films, then talk about the movie, guided by questions provided to them. The questions are about subjects like conflict resolution and providing support to each other during stressful times.

I said the movies were probably “chick flicks”. Holly asked me if they had done any studies on divorces by couples where the wife was forced to watch bad science fiction movies with the husband.

Divorce Poetry

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014
Aivazovsky - Shipwreck

I many times thought peace had come,
When peace was far away;

As wrecked men deem they sight the land
At center of the sea,

And struggle slacker, but to prove,
As hopelessly as I,

How many the fictitious shores
Before the harbor lie.

—  Emily Dickinson

Broken Heart Syndrome

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Can divorce affect your health? Feeling chest pains, shortness of breath, or dizziness? You may be suffering from Broken Heart Syndrome.

According to doctors at the Mayo Clinic, going through a divorce, break-up, or the death of a loved one can bring on symptoms like those of a real heart attack.

These symptoms are caused by a surge of stress-related hormones. In some cases, part of the heart temporarily enlarges and does not pump well.

Fortunately, the symptoms can be treated and reversed.

The Valentine Effect

Friday, February 14th, 2014

The number of people looking for information about divorce on Avvo.com spikes between New Year’s Day and Valentine’s Day. Avvo reports a 40% increase.

One reason for this may be that people use the romantic holiday to reevaluate whether they are happy in their marriage or not.

About two thirds of the people using Avvo for divorce information are women.

Avvo profiles and rates attorneys and also contains peer endorsements and client reviews.

Primary and Secondary Objectives

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Continuing the chess analogy, in chess, the primary objective is to capture the king. But do you know what the secondary objective is? It is to move your pawn across the board to the eighth row where it is magically converted into a queen.

In divorce, I like to start out by asking you what your primary objectives are.

Achievable objectives include:

  • keeping the house
  • keeping a business
  • keeping retirement funds
  • maximizing time with children
  • untangling the marital estate quickly and economically

However, you are likely to be disappointed if your primary objectives are:

  • winning the fight with your spouse and leaving him or her twisting in the wind
  • getting the judge to say you were right and your spouse was wrong
  • keeping all the assets
  • cutting your spouse out of your children’s lives

There are hidden secondary objectives in divorce as well:

  • not making an enemy of your spouse forever
  • maintaining a working relationship with the parent of your children
  • avoiding being called back into court to modify alimony or child support
  • avoiding making such a good deal that your spouse cannot meet its terms

Economic Recovery Means More Divorces

Friday, February 7th, 2014

University of Maryland sociologist Philip N. Cohen has published a new study showing that the U.S. divorce rate dropped during the recession of 2009 to 2011 and is bouncing back for the economic recovery.

This contradicts the notion that economic strain produces more divorces.

Cohen theorizes, “Divorcing presents costs in housing, legal fees, childcare and losses from diminished economies of scale. The recession may have increased the economic barriers that make these costs insurmountable for someone considering a divorce.”

Quick, Watson, the Game Is Afoot!

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

My son is too cool to be in the chess club at middle school. He thinks it is too nerdy. What can I say? I was a nerd.  I joined the chess club when I was in middle school. Only it was called junior high back then.

I played a lot of chess in my youth. I thought I was pretty good. That is until I met Marc. I met Marc in the army. He was a chess master. While waiting for the Viet Nam war to wind down, we had a lot of time on our hands. So Marc taught me chess.

I already knew how the pieces moved and how to checkmate. I thought that was all there was to know about chess. Marc opened my eyes.

I learned about power, time and space. I learned that each piece had a value and some pieces changed value depending on what stage of the game you were in. I learned that there was an open, middle and end game. I learned tactics with names like pin, fork and x-ray attack. There was a whole new level of complexity to the game I had played for years unaware.

I think this is true in practicing law as well, and divorce law in particular. When I started practicing, I knew the law (how the pieces moved) and how to win a trial (checkmate). But over the years, I have learned that my cases and clients have many more levels of complexity than I had first supposed.

Man Tries to Knock Down House in Divorce

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

A neighbor in Wakeman, Ohio, heard a loud banging sound. He looked outside and saw a man repeatedly smashing a red pickup truck into a house.

The sheriff was called who responded and arrested the man. The man is Jared Welch, 27. Welch is in the middle of a divorce.

The wife was not home at the time of the incident. Welch said he did not want the wife to get the house in the divorce.

 
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