Entries by James J. Gross

The Three Phases of Divorce

I break a divorce into three phases. This approach helps clients know where they are in the divorce process, for timing and budgeting purposes. This breakdown also helps clients understand all of the components that can be expected in the divorce process. Phase 1: Initial Pleadings and Hearings This phase typically includes: Complaint Answer Counter-complaint […]


The Old School Lawyer

As a thoroughly modern divorce lawyer, I am at my computer, marking up a Marriage Settlement Agreement and emailing it first to my client and then to opposing counsel to get their comments (in different colors) on my draft. It was not always thus. I used to be an old school lawyer. My First Word […]

Wound Too Tight

Does it seem to you like people have shorter fuses these days?  Have you noticed people are losing their tempers more quickly, frequently and over smaller things?  A lawyer hung up on me the other day. That’s certainly not the first time, and won’t be the last, but I was only halfway through my second […]

The Call

One of these days, you too will get “The Call”. It will be opportunity calling. Expect miracles. My son is off to Boston University for his final year of college. He is majoring in journalism and political science. I wrote this to give him some fatherly advice. When I finished it, I thought you might […]

Checklists for Your Child Custody Battle

Contested Child Custody Checklist In contested child custody cases, Maryland courts apply the best interests standard.  Montgomery County v. Sanders, 38 Md. App. 406, 381 A.2d 1154 (1977).  This means the judge’s best guess as to where the child will be better off in the future.  However, there are certain factors the judge must consider […]

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The Thin Man’s Divorce

“I’ve never been divorced before,”said the thin man sitting across the desk from me. His dark narrow eyes darted back and forth as he nervously sipped the bottled water my receptionist had given him.  He sank into one of the two wing-back chairs in my office. “I don’t know anything about it.  I have a […]

My Commencement Speech Advice for New Graduates

It’s graduation time!  Caps will soon be flying as a new crop of graduates join the work-a-day world. My youngest graduates from high school this year. Time for commencement speakers to encourage and offer advice for new graduates. I remember a lawyer spoke at my graduation from law school. He told us that while we […]

Go Ask Alice

When you negotiate or mediate divorce settlements for a living like I do, sooner or later you get to a closed door. We call that an impasse.  Both parties grit their teeth, cross their arms, and dig in their heels. Further progress seems impossible. I don’t have dynamite or a magic wand to open that […]