So goodbye, goodbye
I’m gonna leave you now
And here’s the erason why
I like to sleep with the wiodwopen
And you kee0 the window closed
So goodbye
Goodbye
Gooobye

It turns out that thermostat settings are one of the biggest causes of conflict in marriages.  The wrong setting can cause one spouse to be too cold or too hot, and result in talks of divorce.

It’s not just mental either.  Scientists say that women have a lower body mass to surface area, slower resting metabolism and less muscle mass than men.  Therefore, they may feel more comfortable with warmer temperatures.

Financial considerations might come into play as well.  In the summertime, you can save between one to three percent on your air conditioning bill for each degree you set the thermostat over 72 degrees.

We found another way to raise money for your divorce.  Worthy.com is a website that has online auctions where professional jewelry buyers will bid for the diamond in your engagement ring.

Unlike mining diamonds from the earth, which can harm indigenous peoples and the environment, Worthy.com mines the largest cache of diamonds on earth – us.  After all, there is no physical difference between a new diamond and a used diamond.

Worthy.com will grade your diamond, take pictures and post it for auction.

Can’t afford a divorce lawyer?   Need new furniture for your divorce apartment?  Plumfund.com is a website where you can ask people to contribute money for your divorce.

The site describes itself as “Free online crowdfunding for the people we love.”  It has different categories, from baby to funeral, to create a registry for your life events.

You can register your wedding and honeymoon under the Honeyfund category.  I found the divorce requests under “divorce” by using the site search function.

Greg is talking to experienced divorce lawyer, Jeb, about property distribution in a divorce.

“We have separate bank accounts and that $60,000 is in my name alone,” Greg says.

“Doesn’t matter,” Jeb advised, “it’s still marital property.”

“What if I should spend the $60,000 before the divorce?”

“It depends on how you spend it.  If you buy a car or a Rolex, those items become marital property.  If  you buy consumables, then the money is gone and the court can’t divide it.”

“What if I give it to my brother as a gift?”

“That won’t work,” Jeb told him.  “The court can undo that gift.”

(to be continued)

 

by James J. Gross

Randy Work and Mandy Gray married 22 years ago.  Randy  was an executive at Lone Star Funds and their marital estate was worth $225 million dollars by the time they divorced in 2015 in England.  The court split the money equally between

Work appealed and argued that he should receive 61% because of his special contribution.  U.K. judges have distinguished cases where success is of a “wholly exceptional nature” and people who’ve become very wealthy through ordinary means.

The three judge appeal panel ruled against Work, however, and upheld the lower court’s finding that the fortune was the result of “being in the right place at the right time, or benefiting from a period of boom,” not professional genius on the part of Randy.

 

by Michael F. Callahan

The Maryland Court of Appeals has issued its ruling in Milton E. Jackson v Gayle S. Jackson., the case we have been discussing in this last series of articles.

Mr. Jackson was a federal employee with retirement funds under the CSRS system – a large pension, and no social security.  Ms. Jackson was a state government employee – covered by social security and a smaller pension.

Mr. Jackson’s argued that a part of his pension should be treated as social security benefits and not counted when equalizing the pensions of each party.

The Court of Appeals ruled that:

(a)  a state court could not divide social security benefits of a spouse in divorce because federal law establishing social security preempts that.

(b)  The trial court may not calculate and offset the value of a spouse’s future social security benefits from the other spouse’s pension benefits before division of that pension between the spouses in a divorce.

(c)  However, the trial court must consider the spouses’ respective entitlements to social security benefits in determining a martial award as an “other factor” under Maryland divorce law.

So in the end, the Court left a way around the prohibition against dividing or offsetting social security benefits.  It left it to the judge’s discretion to determine a marital award based on “other factors” including social security.  And the judge doesn’t even have to show how the marital award is calculated.   The judge just needs to say that all factors were considered.

 

 

by Michael F. Callahan

Federal law prohibits the assignment and attachment of social security benefits.

The U.S. Supreme Court had a chance to examine similar provisions regarding railroad retirement benefits in Hisquierdo v Hisquierdo.  In that case, the Court said a state divorce court may not treat railroad retirement benefits as marital property due to federal preemption.  Further the court said the state court could not award an offset against other marital property on account of the benefits.

In Dapp v Dapp, 211 Md. App. 313 (2013). the Maryland Court of Special Appeals (CSA) considered whether a trial court could enforce an agreement dividing Husband’s railroad retirement benefits between the spouses.  The CSA held that the federal legislation referred to above preempted the Maryland divorce court’s jurisdiction and the trial judge had no power to enforce the agreement to divide these benefits.

So will the Maryland Court of Appeals, the states highest court, allow an offset for social security benefits in Milton E. Jackson v Gayle S. Jackson, a case that is currently pending before it?   Stay tuned.

 

by Michael F. Callahan

In Pleasant v Pleasant Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals (CSA) held that social security benefits cannot be treated as marital property and it affirmed the trial court’s decision taking no account of them.

But the court’s opinion includes this footnote 3 that seems contrary to the court’s decision:

“In an appropriate case, of course, it may be that a court could consider the fact that a party is receiving, or will receive, social security benefits, as ‘any other factor’ in determining whether to make a monetary award.”

Maryland’s divorce law provides that the judge must consider certain factors in distributing property, the last of which is any other factor the court considers appropriate.

by Michael F. Callahan

In 1993, The Maryland Court of Special Appeals (CSA) held that the court could not divide social security benefits because they were not martial property under state law but rather governed by federal law.  Therefore the CSA affirmed the trial court’s decision equally dividing the marital portion of husband’s pension when received but not dividing the wife’s social security benefit.  The court made no other adjustment to the equitable distribution of marital property for social security.  Pleasant v Pleasant, 97 Md. App. 711, 632 A.2d 202 (1993).

 

I think my wife has a lot of shoes. But it is nowhere near Tracey Hejailan’s 80 pairs in one of her multiple walk-in closets in a house in Monte Carlo. She is divorcing her husband, multimillionaire, Maurice Amon, in New York, where the couple also has a home.

But Amon claims the shoes are evidence that the couple actually lives in Monaco.

The difference could be worth tens of millions because New York divorce law is based on shared martial property while Monaco divorce law is based on which spouse has legal title. At issue is the art collection, which includes a Basquiat and a Warhol.