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Thyden Gross and Callahan LLPCounselors and Attorneys at Law

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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 the ‘Child Support’ Category

Depreciation as Income

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

In the Mumma case, the wife called the court’s attention to the depreciation deduction that the Husband was taking for his business.  She pointed out that depreciation is a non-cash flow event and so the money is available to the Husband.

The argument on the other side is that equipment really does wear out and needs to be replaced eventually.  When it does, it will take cash flow to purchase new equipment.

Taking a look at the Maryland Child Support Guidelines in Section 12-201 of the Family Law Article, we see that income from self employment means gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses.

However, the statute goes on to say that ordinary and necessary expenses do not include accelerated depreciation, investment tax credits, or any other expenses the court determines in not appropriate to subtract.

So what about straight line depreciation?  Does the fact that the law expressly disqualifies accelerated depreciation but not straight line depreciation mean you get to deduct it from income?  Or does the catch-all provision at the end allow the court to decide?  In the cases I have tried, the trial judges have included straight line depreciation as income.

Are Gifts Income?

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Albert  Mumma married Jean in 1952 and they had three children together.   Albert supported the family as an architect.  He had an office in Georgetown.  In 1968 the parties had a violent altercation and they decided to divorce.

The judge awarded $200 a month in alimony and $500 a month in child support to Jean, plus attorney fees and costs.  Albert appealed complaining that he was ordered to pay support of $8,400 a year, while his income was only $9,422 in 1968 and $12,726  in 1969.   Jean countered that, among other things, he received gifts from his parents.

The DC Court of Appeals reversed the trial court, holding that “gifts do not constitute income” and suggested that Albert’s income tax returns would be an appropriate guide to his actual income in the absence of affirmative evidence otherwise.

Mumma v. Mumma, 280 A.2d 73 (1971)

Doctor Loses License for Failure to Pay Child Support

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

The Maryland Board of Physicians has suspended the medical license of Rockville eye surgeon, Michael Duplessie, for failure to pay child support.

Duplessie, however, has left the country and opened an office in Kuwait.

Duplessie owes more than $100,000 in past due child support.  The mother has several judgments against him.

The Board says it has used its power to suspend a medical license in only four other cases.

Teen Sues Parents for College Money

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

by Nelson Garcia

An 18 year old teenager from Lincoln Park, New Jersey has filed suit against her mother and father.

She claims they tossed her out of their home and cut her off financially.

She is suing for immediate support, current private-school fees and future college tuition.

She would not have a case in Maryland and Virginia, where parents are obligated to support children until age 18 unless they are still in high school, in which case it’s to 19 or graduation from high school, whichever comes first.  But that would be it.  In DC child support is to age 21.

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.

Why Hiring a Lawyer is Important Even in an Uncontested Divorce

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Guest Article by Myburgh Law P.C.

During an uncontested New York divorce, many couples feel the understandable desire to speed things along as quickly as possible. It’s common to fall into the trap of thinking that, because the dissolution of the marriage is quick and uncontested, they will not need the services of a lawyer. While it is true that an uncontested marital dissolution will enable both parties to go their separate ways much more quickly, there are both long term and short term reasons why hiring a qualified New York attorney is important even in an uncontested divorce.

As part of the process, both parties will have to come to a marital settlement agreement, also known as a stipulation of settlement. If there are children involved, a parenting plan has to be agreed upon as well. Thus, a mutual agreement must be reached on terms such as child custody, where the child will reside, child support, spousal support, division of debt and division of assets. Marital settlement agreements and parenting plans can quickly become confusing to someone who does not have training in family law. A lawyer with experience in family law will ensure that their client understands the terms they are agreeing to and will work to make sure that their client’s wishes are fairly represented in the final agreement.

While some people may feel that they are able to represent their own needs in an uncontested situation, it is easy to underestimate the emotional toll that the dissolution of the marriage can have. Increased levels of stress and frustration often occur during the negotiation process. While these reactions are to be expected, they sometimes prevent individuals from making decisions which are best for the long term. A momentary rash desire to just have the process be over can result in life-long consequences when it comes to assets such as retirement savings, pensions, investments, houses, and 401ks. An attorney can look after these interests for their client without the added emotional turmoil often felt by the client.

Additionally, not all uncontested divorces remain that way through the entire legal process. Unfortunately, some parties will begin negotiations and realize that they simply did not agree on as much as they previously believed they did. Child custody arrangements are often a major point of contention between the parties, as is debt division. If the negotiations do take a turn towards contested territory, it’s good to have an attorney present to help one navigate through the much trickier legal issues surrounding this type of marital dissolution.

However, the proceedings may go just as smoothly as expected. Yet if one partner has a lawyer present, the one without legal representation may feel exposed or resentful without proper counsel. In such situations, both parties having an attorney to represent them promotes an atmosphere of equality and cooperation that is necessary for a successful negotiation.

Ultimately, a divorce is a life-altering event whether it is contested or uncontested. While the dissolving of a marriage will rarely be entirely pleasant, having the proper representation can be the deciding factor in how smoothly the process will go. Having a comparatively quick, hassle-free dissolution of marriage is very possible, and choosing to use the services of an attorney familiar with all aspects of family law is the best way to reach that goal.

How Much Do Kids Cost?

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Costly Kids

Divorcing a Narcissist

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Why would anyone marry a narcissist?  Because they can be charismatic and charming and put on a show to make you fall in love with them.  Only later will you discover the reality.  It’s all about them.

Narcissists lack the capacity most of us have for empathy and emotionally recognizing the needs of others.  The narcissist thrives on constant conflict to stay connected and fight for his or her own rights.  They are usually oblivious to the needs of their spouse or children.

The narcissist will not forgive and move on if you divorce them. Their anger lasts for years sometimes.  They cling to the narcissistic injury: “How could you do this to me?”

It is probably not possible to have an amicable divorce with a narcissist and co-parent in a reasonable way. They will disparage the other parent, make up false allegations, and resist child support because that requires giving money to their ex.  Their feelings of entitlement get in the way of dividing assets fairly.  They do not think about what is best for the children. They think about what is best for them.

The narcissist is not aware or conscious of their own bad behavior and feels entitled.   They have excuses for everything and blames others for their actions. They are used to exploiting others to meet their own needs. The way to regain power now is in creating massive chaos in the divorce process and using the children as pawns.

Sometimes it takes two to Tango.  But sometimes it takes only one.  Divorcing a narcissist requires an understanding of this personality type.  It may require a mental health consultant and appointment of a strong parenting coordinator for post divorce disputes.

Learn more.

Debtor’s Prison

Friday, May 4th, 2012

“If your guy doesn’t pay his alimony, we’ll file a motion for contempt and you can tell him we’ll be asking for jail time,” said Sobel, who was representing the ex-wife.  He didn’t like the ex-husband’s attorney, Caster, ever since he had yelled at Sobel and hung up on him in another case years ago.  Sobel had a long memory.

“Come on, Sobel,” Castor said.  “The judge is not going to put my guy in jail.  It’s contractual alimony, not court ordered alimony.”

“Whadya mean, Castor?  The Agreement is incorporated into the Divorce Decree.  That makes it a court order.  And your client has failed to comply with it.”

“Well there is no imprisonment for debt in Maryland.  Check the state constitution, Sobel.”

“You check it, Castor.  I’ve got it right here.  Section 398 of Article III says ‘No person shall be imprisoned for debt, but a valid decree of a court of competent jurisdiction or agreement approved by decree of said court for the support of a wife or dependent children or for alimony shall not constitute a debt within the meaning of this section.’

“Sobel, me and my client will, as they say, see you in court.”

“Tell your client to bring his checkbook or a toothbrush, Castor, for when he goes to the slammer.”

MD Mulls Child Support for College

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

A bill has been introduced in the Maryland House of Delegates to extend child support to age 21 if the child is enrolled in college.

A similar bill was defeated last year.

Under current law, a Maryland divorce court cannot order a parent to pay for college, but can enforce an agreement that provides for this.

Do you think the court should make parents pay for their children’s college?

See House Bill # 986.

 
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