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Thyden Gross and Callahan LLPCounselors and Attorneys at Law

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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.

Posts Tagged ‘fault’

Maryland Alimony Factor #6

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

The sixth factor the court has to consider in determining the amount and duration of alimony is “the circumstances that contributed to the estrangement of the parties.” MD Family Law Article 11-106(6).

But can adultery after separation contribute to the estrangement of the parties? Nan Willoughby married Robert Willoughby in 1928.  They had a stormy marriage for several years and Nan moved out in 1966 filing for divorce based on constructive desertion. Robert then moved in with another woman and Nan filed a supplemental complaint for adultery.

The trial judge found that the husband’s adultery was the fault that destroyed the home. The husband appealed arguing that the home had been destroyed with the separation of the parties some time before.

The Maryland Court of Appeals disagreed with the husband finding that:

Appellant wishes to isolate one point in time and determine the ‘fault which destroyed the home’ as of that time. We think the concept is broader than this, and permits the trial judge properly to consider all of the circumstances resulting in the destruction of the marriage, including the conduct and acts of the parties both prior and subsequent to actual physical separation.

Willoughby v. Willoughby, 256 Md. 590 (1970)

Reconciliation as a Defense to Divorce

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

rec·on·cile

v.   rec·on·ciled, rec·on·cil·ing, rec·on·ciles

v.   tr.

  1. To reestablish a close relationship between.
  2. To settle or resolve.
  3. To bring (oneself) to accept: He finally reconciled himself to the change in management.
  4. To make compatible or consistent: reconcile my way of thinking with yours. See Synonyms at adapt.

v.   intr.

  1. To reestablish a close relationship, as in marriage: The estranged couple reconciled after a year.

In Maryland, reconciliation is sometimes raised as a defense to a divorce.

An actual reconciliation stops the one year period of separation required for desertion, voluntary and involuntary separation grounds.

It used to be that an offer of reconciliation, which was rejected, could also be a defense, and could turn the deserted party into the deserter.

Section 7-104 of the Family Law Article now provides that neither an offer, attempt nor a refusal of reconciliation, in and of itself, is a defense or a bar to a divorce.

The grounds for divorce of desertion and voluntary separation require proof that there is no reasonable expectation of a reconciliation.  So the court may still consider attempts to reconcile in that context as well as in the context of fault for alimony and property distribution.

Divorce Quotes

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

“All the passions make us commit faults; love makes us commit the most ridiculous ones.”

François de la Rochefoucauld

The I Love You Defense

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2005

If you don’t have fault grounds for divorce in Maryland, there are two no-fault grounds — one year voluntary separation and two years involuntary separation. One defense to a complaint based on one year voluntary separation is that the separation is not voluntary. This means it will take two years to get divorced instead of one. I call this the I Love You Defense. You say that you still love your spouse and want the marriage to continue. At the same time, you let the other side know that you will relunctantly agree to a divorce within one year if the price is right. In order for this to work you must show that you have made some attempts at reconciliation.

 
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