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Thyden Gross and Callahan LLPCounselors and Attorneys at Law



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 the ‘Children’ Category

Children Jailed by Michigan Judge for Refusal to Visit Dad

Friday, July 10th, 2015

The cases where the children refuse to visit a parent are among the most frustrating for parents, divorce lawyers, judges and therapists.

I’ve seen judges order months of reconciliation therapy. I’ve had one judge tell me, “I can’t send a crane to pickup the child and one house and drop them off at the other house.” Another judge said “A 15 year old can go almost anywhere they want on their own. A 15 year old can go to the bus station and buy a ticket.” None of these solutions are usually very satisfying to either parent.

Now one judge in Michigan has come up with a different idea. She is holding the children, ages 9, 10 and 15, in contempt for refusing to have lunch with their father and putting them in a juvenile detention center until they change their mind. The mother’s attorney has filed a writ of habeas corpus to free the children which is scheduled for July 15, 2015.

Read more about this case.

Would You Let Your Children Walk Home Alone

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

by Nelson A. Garcia

Rafi Meitiv, age 10, and his sister Dvora, age 6, were walking along Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring when a passerby spotted them and called the police. A police officer asked the children what they were doing, to which Rafi replied, walking home from the park. The officer then went to the Meitivs’ house to talk with the parents, Alexander and Danielle Meitiv, who were amazed that their efforts to give their children independence has landed them in legal trouble.

In February, 2015, Child Protective Services said the parents committed “unsubstantiated neglect” of their two children,  This means that this agency will keep a file on the family for at least five years, which could leave the Meitivs vulnerable to prosecution if they let their children, walk home unattended again

The couple intend to appeal the finding, and say they will continue to allow their children to play or walk together without adult supervision.  “We don’t feel it was appropriate for an investigation to start, much less conclude that we are responsible for some form of child neglect,” Danielle Meitiv said.  The couple practice what is known as “free-range parenting”, which is a belief that kids should be given the tools and confidence to safely navigate their neighborhood without their parents.

Maryland law prohibits children under the age of eight from being left unattended in a dwelling or car, but makes no reference to the outdoors. Maryland law also allows children from the age of 13 to supervise other children. This may be the case that forces Maryland Courts to clarify the law in this area.  It raises the question of what age should children be considered old enough to be on their own in public.  Also when should authorities step in to trump the rights of parents to decide this question for their children and otherwise decide how to raise their children.

Nelson A. Garcia

For more information about this case, call Nelson A. Garcia at 301-907-4580301-907-4580 (extension 103) or email him at

Honey Maid Ad Targets Blended Families

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Honey Maid, which makes those delicious graham-crackers, is celebrating families that have been reconfigured by divorce.

The company’s new advertising campaign is intended to send a message that: “Just because a family has broken up doesn’t mean they are broken.”

Gary Osifhin, a marketing director with Honey Maid’s parent company, Mondelez International, points out that one in ten of the 73 million children in America live with a step-parent.  And 42% of American adults are part of a blended family.

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.

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

Controversial Film “Divorce Corp” Puts Family Law System on Trial

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

The film, narrated by Dr. Drew Pinsky is an expose type documentary of the $50 billion a year divorce industry.The filmmaker, Joseph Sorge, says he was inspired by his own divorce and custody battles. He uses interviews with lawyers, judges and others to try to show the failings of the family law legal system in America.

“It’s an unregulated mess in which children are ripped from their homes, insulting judges play God with parents’ lives, and unlicensed custody evaluators are more like extortionists,” according to Sorge. “Audiences will be surprised to learn just how damaging the family courts process is, people don’t realize a judge can just take the kids away because they don’t like you.”

Do Economic Fators Contribute to Marriage Woes?

Monday, November 11th, 2013

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“Do Economic Factors Contribute to Marital Stability?” created and shared by CashNetUSA.

Paying for College

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

The divorce rate in America seems to be on a steady rise with almost 50% of marriages predicted to end in divorce. There are a variety of reasons for the rapidly growing number of divorce cases from infidelity issues to just incompatibility between two people. However, one major factor that seems to be common is the pressure of financial issues. With the current state of the American job market, many couples can feel the pressure of unemployment and debt on their marriage. The average American credit card debt alone is about $15,000 and the average mortgage debt is about $147,000. This does not include any debt from car loans or student loans either.

Today many Americans carry the burden of debt, whether from the costly fees of going through a divorce or even those years spent in college accumulating those student loans. As of 2013, the average student loan debt was about $31,000. By paying the monthly minimum payment the time to pay off such a loan could be almost half the lifespan of the average American. This infographic by Consolidated Credit tracks the history of student loan debt in America and gives insight into how much you truly pay for your college education.


Outrageous Behavior

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Justin Steen, a divorce lawyer, woke up without an alarm every morning at exactly 5:00 am.  After his workout routine, he arrived at his office at 7:00 am and start organizing his day.  The phone rang at 9:00 a.m.

“Mr. Steen, it’s Julie Palmer,” said the caller, “You’ll never believe what my husband did now.”

“What did he do, Julie?”

“He booked our twelve year old on a ski trip without even telling me!”

“That’s outrageous.  I’ll call his attorney right now and follow up with a strong letter.  Don’t worry.  This will work against him when we get to trial.”

As soon as Justin hung up with Julie, the phone rang again.

“Hello, Mr. Steen, this is Ken Stevens,” said the caller.  “My wife has our daughter stuck in a day care center which is boring and just a glorified baby sitter.  I want to enroll her in a horseback riding program for the summer and my wife is against it.

“Why that’s outrageous.  I’ll call her lawyer right now and follow up with a strong letter.  Don’t worry.  This will work against her when we get to trial.”

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.

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