Lawyers usually handle the legal and financial issues in a divorce and leave the emotional issues to a counselor or therapist. But I keep a box of tissues on my desk because people cry a lot in my office.

Divorce hurts, whether you are the one that’s left or the one that’s leaving. There is not a lot of help or information out there about dealing with the pain of divorce.

I stumbled across, a site that has some tips and articles on the emotional issues in separation and divorce.

Although the international situation is desperate as usual, divorce is in the news again today.

CARMEN ELECTRA, former “Baywatch” star and DAVE NAVARRO, former guitarist with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, are amicably separating after their 2003 wedding on MTV’s “Til Death Do Us Part”.

PAUL MCCARTNEY has hired divorce lawyer Fiona Shackleton to handle his divorce from HEATHER MILLS. Shackleton represented PRINCE CHARLES in his divorce from DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES.

And, since divorced people are just people between marriages, these two stories about marriage caught my attention.

Two bachelors wanted to find out the secret of amazing marriages. So they started interviewing peopole with long marriages. They have written a book and made a video called Project Everlasting.

And divorce attorney Paul Sullivan has started Marriage Miracles in LaVale, Maryland, a faith-based service which helps couples having difficulty in their marriage. In his office, Sullivan offers two menus, one for divorce and one for marriage. Seems like a good idea to me.

I can never remember which financial statement I have to file and when – the nine page long form at Rule 9-203(a), the one page short form at Rule 9-203(b) or none at all. Fortunately, the answer is provided in Maryland Rule 9-203:

(e) Financial statement – Spousal support. If spousal support is claimed by a party and either party alleges that no agreement regarding support exists, each party shall file a current financial statement in substantially the form set forth in Rule 9-203 (a). The statement shall be filed with the party’s pleading making or responding to the claim. If the claim or the denial of an agreement is made in an answer, the other party shall file a financial statement within 15 days after service of the answer.

(f) Financial statement – Child support.– If establishment or modification of child support is claimed by a party, each party shall file a current financial statement under affidavit. The statement shall be filed with the party’s pleading making or responding to the claim. If the establishment or modification of child support in accordance with the guidelines set forth in Code, Family Law Article, §§ 12-201 – 12-204 is the only support issue in the action and no party claims an amount of support outside of the guidelines, the required financial statement shall be in substantially the form set forth in Rule 9-203 (b). Otherwise, the statement shall be in substantially the form set forth in Rule 9-203 (a).

So if you are asking for alimony, file the long form with your complaint or within 15 days of filing your answer.

If you only want guidelines child support, file the short form with your complaint or answer. But if you want child support in excess of the guidelines, file the long form with the complaint or answer. It’s all in Maryland rule 9-203.

Dr. Nicholas Bartha, 66, of New York recently sent an email to his ex-wife wife saying:

“When you read this … your life will change forever. You deserve it. You will be transformed from gold digger to ash and rubbish digger. You always wanted me to sell the house. I always told you I will leave the house only if I am dead.”

Tuesday morning, the six million dollar town house in New York exploded, injuring 15 people including Dr. Bartha who was pulled alive from the wreckage.

Police and fire officials say a gas line had been tampered with, according to

Divorced in 2005 on grounds of cruelty, Dr. Bartha lost a recent appeal, resulting in a four million dollar judgment against him by his ex. The house was being auctioned to pay for it. He had been served eviction papers on Friday.

Todd Hollis of Pittsburgh is suing Tasha Josephs for defamation after several women posted comments about him on a website called according to this article on Wired News.

Hollis, an attorney himself, says the website does not have safeguards to ensure the truthfulness of the items posted.

Josephs says it is a cost-effective weapon in the war on cheating men. The website says is coming soon.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of Anna Nicole Smith in her law suit to try to collect 88 million dollars from the estate of her late husband. This was not a final ruling on the merits.

Smith, former Playmate of the Year and topless dancer, married Texas oil billionaire, J. Howard Smith in 1994 when she was 26 and he was 89. She said he promised her half his estate.

She lost her case in Texas probate court. But she won in federal bankruptcy court in California. Then the U.S. Court of Appeals said the state court action preempted the federal court action and she could collect nothing. The U.S. Supreme Court today overturned that decision.

Denise Richards, 35, has obtained a Protective Order against Charlie Sheen, 40. Her 17 page affidavit, filed in their divorce and custody battle, has been published on the Internet. If you don’t want to read it, here is the summary: drugs, gambling, hookers, abuse and porn. Sheen replies, “I deeply regret her response to my request for the court to decide what’s best for our children has taken the form of baseless allegations that I deny. For the sake of my children, I am electing not to reciprocate in kind.”

I was thinking about timing today. It makes a difference which side of the equation you are on. If only one spouse is making money then half of the mortgage principle payments, savings, investments and pension plan contributions may go to the other spouse until the separation agreement or divorce. So you can see how the strategy of one spouse might be to speed things up while the other spouse may want to slow things down.

Sometimes spouses will say to me that they knew it wasn’t going to work from the beginning. When I ask them why they stuck with it so long, they say “because I thought he/she would change.” The amazing part is that I hear this from people that have been married five years, fifteen years and thirty years.

There is an article in the Washington Post today by Alicia Ault that says an unhappy marriage can affect your health. And the longer you stay and older you get, the more damage it does to your health, possibly because of the stress.

Walk Away Wife Syndrome

After you have been a divorce lawyer for as long as I have, 30 years or so, you begin to see some patterns in your cases. One is the Walk Away Wife Syndrome.

There will be about a million divorces this year. And the majority of them will be filed by women.

Men and women handle their relationships differently. A woman monitors the relationship, and if she becomes concerned about it, she tries to fix it. To a man, this may seem like complaining. A man might react to it by withdrawing. Neither party’s needs are met.

The woman may suppress her feelings, in hopes that the man will change. Finally, the wife believes she has only one choice for happiness which is separation and divorce. This is called the Walk Away Wife Syndrome.

The man is often caught unaware by this, and even if he tries to change now, it is too late.

James. J Gross is the co-author of the e-book How to File For Divorce in Maryland, available for download today on DivorceNet.Com for $19.95.

He is also the author or co-author of the following books which are available at

  • Fathers’ Rights: The Best Interest of Your Child Includes You
  • File for Divorce in Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC
  • Money and Divorce

He has been selected by Washingtonian Magazine and Maryland Superlawyers as one of the region’s top divorce lawyers.

Mr. Gross is a practicing partner in the Chevy Chase, Maryland law firm Thyden Gross and Callahan. He is the author of the blogs Maryland Divorce Legal Crier, The Daily Answer Desk, and Not Just Every Other Weekend and the e-mail newsletter In the Courts.

Mr. Gross is a seasoned and experienced divorce lawyer and eminently qualified to answer your questions, provide legal assistance, and to speak with authority on divorce, child custody issues, child support, property distribution, alimony, and family law topics.

We know that you will enjoy reading his insightful commentary and thoughtful blog postings.