Entries by James J. Gross


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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Help! Just Found Out Divorce Mediation Is Tuesday!

“Just found out divorce mediation is Tuesday afternoon!!! Help! I’m nervous What do I do?! What do I say? How do I dress? How do I act? What questions should/shouldn’t I ask? Give me all tips/advice you all have please! ” — Nicole’s post on Facebook Advice for Handling Divorce Mediation Nicole: Everybody is nervous […]

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Litigating Military Pensions in a Divorce

Divorces are full of tripfalls and traps and pensions are the quicksand of divorces.  Dividing military pensions adds another level of difficulty altogether. Howell v. Howell When John and Sandra Howell got divorced  in Arizona the state court awarded Sandra 50% of John’s military retirement pay.  She began receiving payments a year later when John […]

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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 […]

Understanding Each Other

President-Elect Biden calls for us to try to understand each other. I just got off  the phone with a friend who voted for President Trump. I am trying to understand why. My friend does not wear protective masks because he says that physics proves a mask will not stop the Covid virus. He says most […]