With Valentine’s Day coming up, John Husband writes about this un-holiday if you are Single Over Thirty. You can subscribe to his column here. And here’s an idea. Celebrate Happy Divorce Day by taking your divorce lawyer to lunch.
To keep your marriage brimming
With love in the loving cup
When you’re wrong admit it;
And when you’re right, shut up.
— Ogden Nash
Why is that lawyers do not return telephone calls? We are supposed to be in a service business after all. Divorce clients are under stress and when they call their lawyer they really want to talk to him or her.
The Client’s Mantra
I needed a lawyer.
I called you.
I couldn’t get you.
I got another lawyer.
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.
What can you do when a spouse locks you out? If talking doesn’t work, you can hire a locksmith to let you in. Or you can take a more direct approach and force a window or a door as long as your name is on the deed or the lease. It is perfectly legal to break into your own home.
Maryland business owners, who are getting a divorce, are sometimes surprised to learn that their spouse is a secret partner in their business. The price can be up to 50% although their other partner, Uncle Sam sometimes gets a share, too. When the spouse’s lawyer calls me to make an appointment with a business valuation expert, they say “They can’t do that, can they?” Yes, they can. Marital property includes any asset acquired during the marriage, no matter how titled. That includes businesses and pensions plans, as attorney John King explains in this press release.
A wife can ask the divorce court to change her name back to her former name at the divorce hearing in Maryland. Under common law, you can call yourself anything you want to as long as it is not to defraud anyone or interfere with their rights. Maryland law is the same. But sometimes a court order will make it easier to change things like a driver’s license, social security, bank accounts and credit cards. You can petition the court to change your name, but you avoid the extra cost by asking for it at your divorce hearing.
The court granted an emergency divorce the same day it was filed to the wife of the BTK Killer on grounds of mental and physical distress. Here is the petition and divorce decree.
The judge did not think it was too funny when a witness testified in a battery case in a shirt that said “Wanna raise some hell?” on the front and “Hell yeah!” on the back. He was jailed for contempt of court. It is always a good idea to wear proper attire to divorce court. This improves your credibility on the stand and avoids distractions according to a Washington Post article from the Associated Press.
The State of Our Union 2005, an annual report by the National Marriage Project at Rutger’s University, states that divorce and marriage rates have been on the decline for the last twenty years. Meanwhile, more couples are deciding to live together without the benefit of marriage, and about eight percent of households in the USA are now made up of unmarried couples. Forty percent of these households have children. But cohabiting couples have twice the breakup rate of marriages.