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Divorce Lawyers

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 ‘Separation Agreement’

A Rose, a Hawk or a Peppercorn

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Question:

Why does my separation agreement say “in consideration of the sum of ONE DOLLAR ($1.00), to each of the parties in hand paid by the other, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged”?

Answer:

Mere promises are not enforceable by the court.  The court requires something more to have an enforceable contract.  Each party must give something of value to the other.  That is called consideration.

The consideration may be nominal.  “A rose, a hawk, or a peppercorn will suffice.”   Williston on Contracts.

Modern lawyers, many of whom may not even know what a peppercorn is or where to find one, have found it more convenient to make one dollar the consideration.

Negotiation Tip — Get Specific

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

Sometimes I draft a Separation Agreement, send it to the other side, and receive a response that says “My client rejects your proposal.”

Or the other side will send me a proposal and my client says, “It’s ridiculous.  I don’t like anything about it.”

Both responses leave something to be desired in moving the case forward.  So my reply is always, “What, specifically, don’t you like about it?”

This simple question seems to disengage emotion and engage logic.  Once I get the other side, or my client, going through the document item by item, we can discuss options, concessions and counterproposals.  I put these in a letter to the other side and we can then focus only on the objections, which narrows the issues to be negotiated.

Seminar on Separation Agreements

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

TGC Attorneys James J. Gross and Nelson A. Garcia will speak at the Commission for Women tonight at 7:00 pm on Negotiating a Separation Agreement with Your Spouse.

The seminar will include the advantages of an agreement over a contested divorce, what to include in an agreement, tips and tactics, strategies for negotiation, the different stages of negotiation and different negotiation techniques.

The cost is $20.  Call (240) 777-8300 for more information.  The Commission for Women is located at 401 N. Washington Street, Rockville, Maryland.

Corroboration

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

The judge has be certain of the proof before a divorce can be granted in Maryland.  In fact the law requires that the testimony of the plaintiff be corroborated by other evidence.

Section 7-101 of the Family Law Article states: “A court may not enter a decree of divorce on the uncorroborated testimony of the party who is seeking the divorce.”

That’s why we ask you to bring a copy of your marriage certificate and a witness to your uncontested divorce hearing.

The marriage certificate is corroborating evidence of your marriage.  If you don’t have a copy, you can also corroborate your marriage with the testimony of a witness who was present at the wedding.

The witness can corroborate residency, custody, the date of separation and that the separation was voluntary on the part of both parties for the year prior to filing the complaint, the usual grounds for uncontested divorce in Maryland.

Voluntary separation can also be corroborated by a Separation Agreement if (1) it states that the spouses voluntarily agreed to separate, and (2) it is executed under oath (i.e., notarized) before the divorce complaint is filed.  Section 8-104 of the Family Law Article.

11 Reasons a Divorce Agreement Is Better Than a Divorce Trial

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

When clients tell me they want a Divorce, I usually tell them what they really want is a Divorce Agreement, also called a Separation Agreement or Marital Settlement Agreement, for the following reasons.

1. Residency. Before you can even file a Divorce Complaint, one spouse has to be a resident for a year in Maryland or, if the grounds for Divorce arose in Maryland then one spouse has to be a resident at the time of filing. It’s six months in Virginia and DC. There is no residency requirement for a Divorce Agreement.

2. Grounds. You have to have Grounds, or reasons for a divorce, before you can file a Divorce Complaint. But you can have a Divorce Agreement even if you don’t have grounds for Divorce yet.

3. Separation. No-fault Divorces require a period of Separation first. You can have a Divorce Agreement even if you are still living together.

4. Cost. A Divorce Trial can cost $20,000 or more. You can get a Divorce Agreement for $5,000 or less.

5. Time. It might be a year or more before you have a Divorce Trial, and that’s after you file your Divorce Complaint. You can have a Divorce Agreement today.

6. Trial. The actual Divorce Trial itself can last a day or a couple of weeks. But if you have a Divorce Agreement, then an Uncontested Divorce Hearing takes about 20 minutes.

7. Limitations. A Divorce Court Judge has certain limitations in what he or she can order placed in the Divorce Law by the Legislature. You are not restricted by these Divorce Laws in a Divorce Agreement.

8. Detail. A Divorce Decree might be a page or two and leave many questions unanswered. But a Divorce Agreement can be as long as you want and cover every detail.

9. Control. In a Divorce Trial, a Divorce Judge will make the decisions for you, and he or she is a stranger to your marriage. You can control the outcome with a Divorce Agreement.

10. Privacy. A Divorce Trial is public and some of the information about your divorce is available on the Internet. A Divorce Agreement can be kept confidential.

11. Appeals. Your spouse can appeal a Divorce Trial, but not a Divorce Agreement.

In fact a Divorce Agreement can give you almost everything a Divorce Trial can give you, except an order dividing pension plans (“QDRO”) and the right to remarry. A Divorce Trial is the course of last resort, only when you and your spouse cannot reach a Divorce Agreement.

 
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