News Archives

Dissipation of Marital Assets in Divorce:

Dissipation of assets occurs in a divorce case when joint funds have been spent for other than family purposes with the intention of reducing the amount of money available. In other words, one spouse spends money so that the other spouse can't get their fair share. In the recent case of Riker v. Riker, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals determined a trial court had made a mistake when it determined that a wife had improperly taken retirement funds out of an account and awarded the husband a judgment for these funds less taxes and fees. The Court of Special Appeals said the taxes and fees should not have been deducted.

Who Makes the Survivor Benefit Selections?

In a divorce case, a pension survivor benefit is an asset which is in play for division. Recently the Maryland Court of Special Appeals struck down a decision of the Carroll County Circuit Court which determined that a former husband had the right to make a selection of the options available for a survivor benefit which had been assigned to his wife. The appeals court held that the Circuit Court, among other things, had to look at what a reasonable person interpreting the parties' agreement would have decided. This case illustrates that division of retirement benefits is a complicated process and is best accomplished when experienced divorce lawyers are involved in preparing the property settlement agreements. 

Reasons Needed for Denial of Lawyer Fees

In a recent unreported Maryland Court of Special Appeals Case the trial court in a divorce case awarded no attorney's fees to a wife after awarding her alimony. The appeals court held that this decision was erroneous. The appeals court made this determination because it claimed the proper analysis was not performed by the trial judge. This was because the husband had equity in the parties home that was to be sold, had significantly higher income, had a lack of living expenses, and his wife had considerable debt. As a result the appeals court determined that the trial court needed to conduct an analysis of the financial status and respective needs of the parties in order to justify its denial of attorney's fees to appellant. 

Custody Can Be Resolved When Parties Reside Together

In a recent unreported case, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals determined that a court can make custody determinations while the mother and father continue to reside together. This case involved some unique facts, however, this case is a marked change from prior treatment of custody disputes. 

Sexual Abuse Conviction Does Not Alter Visitation

In an appeal of a divorce and custody decision in Prince George's County, The Maryland Court of Special Appeals recently held that a father's dishonesty concerning a conviction for sexual abuse of an adult does not result in mandatory modification of a visitation schedule mandating that the father have tiebreaker authority in certain decisions. Instrumental in the appellate court's determination was the fact that the court had ample evidence before it concerning the conviction at the time the initial determination was made. 

A Price is Paid for Falsely Claiming Domestic Violence

It is well known that some people often falsely allege assault or other acts of domestic violence in order to remove their spouse or domestic partner from the home or gain sole or primary custody of a child. In the recent custody case of Rex v. Rex, an unreported case decided by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. A mother filed several meritless order of protection proceedings against the father and took other actions to deny him access to his child. As a result, the trial court held that the mother manipulated the visitation schedule for no sound reason and granted the father primary residential custody during the school year. This decision was upheld by the appellate court. 

Grandparents Can Get Custody (It takes a Crazy Situation)

In a recently decided unreported Maryland Court of Special Appeals Decision the appellate court upheld the trial court's determination to award the grandparents custody of the biological parent's child. The trial court indicated that it awarded the grandparents custody because of the "craziness" in the parents' house. Among other things, another woman lived with the parents and engaged in a sexual relationship with both of them; The mother engaged in sex with another man besides her husband; the parents used marijuana and other drugs; and, the child spent long periods of time away from both parents. 

The Reemergence of Pay-When-Paid

In the recent unreported case of Young Electrical Contractors, Inc. v. Dustin Construction, Inc. the Maryland Court of Special Appeals reaffirmed the validity of a pay when paid clause. In this case a subcontractor sought payment for several change orders which were denied by the owner. The court held that the prime contractor had met all its obligations when it submitted the change order requests to the owner. The court suggested that the subcontractor's remedies were against the owner, but gave no information about how these remedies could be exercised. The court indicating it was applying Virginia law, but cited Maryland cases in the decision and harmonized Virginia and Maryland law. Missing from the decision was any indication whether a prime contractor would be required to aggressively pursue payment on behalf of a sub or whether any standard of good faith would be applied to the prime contractor's conduct. The Young case also did not indicate whether the same standard would be applied if payment was sought from a bond. 

Make Sure You Own It Before You Insure It

Small business owners often use their "company" vehicles for personal travel. They also tend to be lax about the titling of these vehicles and they end up in personal names. Beware! In the Virginia case of Selective Way v. Apple, the Fourth Circuit held yesterday that a vehicle insured under a company policy was not insured under the commercial general liability policy where it was listed. The reason given was that it was not owned by the company! As a result, the insurer did not have to provide indemnity in a personal injury lawsuit. 

Bankruptcy Filer Keeps Personal Injury Claim

The recent Maryland Court of Appeals case of Morton v. Schlotzhauer involved a personal injury claim brought, at the last minute, by a woman who had filed bankruptcy and failed to list her personal injury claim as an asset. When this oversight was discovered, the opposing party sought to dismiss her case. This is because if a person does not list and exempt the asset, they no longer own it. The woman bringing the case was successful in getting the bankruptcy court to declare that the property belonged to her retroactively to the date she filed for bankruptcy. The Court of Appeals held that she had validly filed the personal injury case and could keep the money that, at one point, never belonged to her. 

Email Us For A Response

How Can We Help You

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Frederick Office
170 West Patrick Street
Frederick, Maryland 21701

Phone: 301-668-5111
Fax: 301-668-2770
Frederick Law Office Map

Silver Spring Office
12114B Heritage Park Circle
Silver Spring, Maryland 20906

Phone: 240-833-2284
Fax: 301-942-8296
Silver Spring Law Office Map

Upper Marlboro Office
14452 Old Mill Road
Suite #301
Upper Marlboro, Maryland 20772

Phone: 301-736-5432
Upper Marlboro Law Office Map