“Your goal is to get through the divorce, not to fight with your spouse.” — Stuart Scott

When I was ready to hire the first employee for my law firm, if you had asked me what I was looking for in an employee, I would have told you “Why, someone just like me.”

What a mistake that would have been.  Can you imagine two headstrong, stubborn attorneys, full iof themselves, arguing and debating all day long?

When I was  younger, and before my enlightenment, I knew I was always right.   People who didn’t think the way I thought were simply wrong.  Now I see the value in having partners who each view things a little differently than me.  For example, in a divorce, I might decide no child custody evaluation is needed.  One of my partners, a litigator, might say we need the evaluation in order to get the child’s preference into evidence at trial.

People make a similar mistake when looking for a spouse.  They look for someone like themselves.  First, no one will be exactly like you.  There will always be different agendas and your thinking will not always sync.  You can try to control the situation and persuade your spouse that your view is the correct one.  I guarantee that will not be a successful relationship strategy.

The enlightened approach is ‘viva la difference”.  Enjoy and embrace the fact that your spouse thinks differently than you.  That is what makes life interesting, richer and joyful.

 

 

 

“Why don’t men want to go to therapy?” my wife asked me as we rode to work together.  Shes works in an office three blocks away from mine.

“John Grey, in Men Are from Mars and Women Are from Venus,” I told her, “says that women solve their problems cooperatively with friends, while men solve their problems alone.  To ask for help would be a sign of weakness in a man.”

“That’s idiotic,” she retorted.  “We are all on the same planet, which is Earth.”

“Yes, but we have evolved differently.”  Rob Becker in Defending the Caveman says that prehistoric women would gather spices, fruits and vegetables, and had to communicate and trade information with one another.  Prehistoric men, on the other hand, had to be silent while stalking the woolly mammoths.

“If women have a better idea,” said my wife, “men ought to try it.”

“Men are not  just women in men’s clothing,” I replied, “They are different.”

When I got to my office, my first appointment was in the waiting room.   I escorted her to my office.  “What seems to be the problem?” I asked.

“My husband doesn’t want to go to therapy.”

“Hubby, you know where I am, why don’t you visit me?” wrote Ms. Lin to her husband online.  She had moved out of his home because his family was unfriendly to her.

“I got into a car accident, I’m in the ICU!”

“Hubby, I’m in the hospital ward.”

“Hubby, why do you keep reading my messages but not replying?”

“Hubby, is it necessary for things to become so cold between husband and wife?”

“Hubby, are you just going to be so ruthless and not ask me anything?”

“Hubby, why do you treat me like this?”

There was no reply.  When Ms. Line recovered, she filed for divorce, and presented the messages to the judge.  The judge said that failing to respond to the messages showed the state of the marriage and the foundations of the union had fallen apart.  He agreed with Ms. Lin that it was heartless of her husband to read her messages without replying, and granted her a divorce.

When we were boys, my pal, Jerry, and I built a motorcycle one night. Somehow Jerry had gotten his hands on a motorcycle.  But it was in pieces scattered on the floor of his room. There were no instructions. Only a frame, a motor, gears, cables and hundreds of nuts and bolts. We had screwdrivers and wrenches. And we were young and insane with the possibilities of where that motorcycle could take us if we got it working.

We worked all night on that machine. We built it wrong, tore it down, bolt by bolt, and started over many times that night. We probably built a dozen motorcycles before we got it right.

By morning, we had a motorcycle. It didn’t look like much, but to us it was worth its weight in gold. We took it out for a test drive. That’s when we discovered a major design flaw. At the first stop sign, you had to disengage the clutch with one foot, and press the brake with the other foot at the same time, so there was no foot to put on the ground and hold the contraption upright.

That motorcycle taught me a lot about problem solving.  You have to keep working on it, all night long, if necessary.  This requires patience and persistence, focus and concentration.  You may have to tear down the solution and rebuild it several times to get it right.  Even then you may have to go back to the drawing board in the morning.  I’ve lost many night’s sleep solving chemical engineering problems, briefing cases in law school, and studying tax law. And now I’m solving problems in marriages, divorces and separations.  It’s as complicated as building a motorcycle.

by James J. Gross

Valentine’s Day is coming up.  Some couples pick that day to get married.  It may seem like a good idea.  But you may want to rethink it.

Economists at the University of Melbourne tracked a million couples.  They found that 11% of the people who got married on Valentine’s Day were divorced after five years and 21% were divorced after nine years.  This compared unfavorably to couples who were married on ordinary dates.

Other holidays and special number dates like January 2nd, 2003 (1/2/03) also resulted in higher divorce rates.

by Michael F. Callahan

In Virginia, you can file to determine or modify child custody or child support in the circuit courts or in the juvenile and domestic relations district court (JDR).

However, filing a divorce in circuit court when there is a hearing on custody or support within 21 days,  will divest the JDR court of jurisdiction of a pending support or custody case.

Lawyers use this statute in appropriate circumstances to bring the child support issue to circuit court.  When the circuit court concludes a divorce case involving child support, it can order that jurisdiction for any modification of support shall be in the JDR court.

by Michael F. Callahan

Most pensions, 401(k)’s and other retirement plans pay benefits in addition to social security.  They are not intended to replace social security and employees covered by these plans are also earning social security credits.

When spouses distribute these plans in a divorce, they still have their claim for social security, and no unfairness results.

But some federal retirement plans and state government plans do not supplement social security.  Instead they provide a retirement income without social security.  Both the employee deduction and employer contributions are higher, you do not pay social security taxes, and you are not earning social security credits.

When one spouse has a government plan that does not provide for social security and the other has a plan that does allow for social security, should the court make an adjustment for the social security benefits?   This series of articles will explore Maryland law on that question.

“She’s Got A Way With Words”
by Blake Shelton

When you put two and two together
You figure out love’s got four letters
I shoulda known that when I met her
But she had to spell it out for me
After all that second guessing
It’s been a long hard history lesson
Hell that’s a class I got an F in
But now I understand perfectlyShe put the her in hurt
She put the why in try
She put the S.O.B. in sober
She put the hang in hangover (hangover)
She put the ex in sex
She put the low in blow
She put a big F.U. in my future
Yeah she’s got a way
She’s got a way with words
Yeah she’s got a way with wordsLittle words like “I” and “do”
Lying, cheating, screwed
Yeah all the words I thought I knew
They got a brand new meaning nowShe put the her in hurt
She put the why in try
She put the S.O.B. in sober
She put the hang in hangover (hangover)
She put the ex in sex
She put the low in blow
She put a big F.U. in my future
Yeah she’s got a way
She’s got a way with words
(Oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh)
Yeah she’s got a way with words
(Oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh)She put the her in hurt
She put the why in try
She put the S.O.B. in sober
She put the hang in hangover (hangover)
She put the ex in sex
She put the low in blow
She put a big F.U. in my future
Yeah she’s got a way
She’s got a way with words
(Oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh)
Yeah she’s got a way with words
(Oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh)She’s got a way with words
She’s got a way with words
Yeah she’s got a way with words

 

 

More than half the married people in the U.S. have thought about divorcing their spouse according to a survey by researchers at Brigham Young University.

However, as the researchers wrote in their study, “thoughts about divorce as just that — thoughts, not concrete actions, decisions, or even deep doubts.”

Thoughts about6 divorce are not only common in marriages, they can actually have a beneficial effect. The researchers say thoughts about divorce can be a needed wake-up call to work on your marriage and promote positive change.