Indefinite Alimony and Signing Bonuses in Maryland

Maryland Court of Special Appeals Analyzes Signing Bonuses with Strings Attached and Indefinite Alimony Bryant v. Bryant, 220 Md. App. 145 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. 2014) Held: The Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County (“the circuit court”) did not abuse its discretion in awarding Wife indefinite alimony, Md. Code Ann., Fam. Law § 11-106(c)(2), based on the employment of Wife, the lifestyle she and Husband enjoyed, Husband’s ability to pay alimony, disparity in parties’ income, Wife’s responsibility for the children, inability of Wife to save for retirement, and Husband’s incentive payments from employer.  Loan payments by Husband’s employer, despite their vesting requirements, were more akin to a signing bonus, and therefore were considered income. Facts: In 2010, Husband accepted a job with UBS as a financial advisor.  Husband’s income was structured in the form of a $1,305,000 “loan.” Under the unconventional payment structure, Husband would receive a series of payments pursuant to the “loan,” and UBS would forgive Husband’s debt over a nine year period as long as he maintained satisfactory employment with the global financial firm. In 2012, after nearly twenty years of marriage, Wife filed for divorce.  At trial, Husband argued that the lump sum payments derived from read more…

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Mutual Consent Divorce

Maryland Legislature Creates Path to Quicker Divorce During the 2015 Legislative Session the Maryland General Assembly passed SB472 – “Family Law – Grounds for Divorce – Mutual Consent.” The new law takes effect October 1, 2015. With this action, the legislature has made the divorce process for some married couples seeking a divorce much easier and less time consuming. To obtain a divorce in Maryland, a party must be able to prove their grounds for the divorce at the time of filing. The grounds for divorce in Maryland include the following: Adultry – No waiting time is required Desertion – Presents in the form of actual or constructive desertion and one year must have passed Conviction of a felony or misdemeanor – After incarceration for a minimum of one year on a sentence of three years or more One year of Separation – Must live separate and apart and without cohabitation for one year without interruption Insanity – Confinement to a mental institution must be for at least three years Cruelty – No waiting time is required Excessively Vicious Conduct – No waiting time is required To this list the General Assembly has added Mutual Consent. However, the new grounds read more…

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Federal Forfeiture Law’s Expansionary Trend: Implications for the Targets of White-Collar Crime & Enforcement

The United States has adopted a broad set of forfeiture statutes designed to disgorge illicit proceeds generated through criminal activity. When many of these laws were adopted by Congress in 1984 the idea was to target property that represents the profits from illegal activity. S. Rep. No. 98-225, at 84 (1984), reprinted 1984 U.S.C.C.A.N. 3182, 3267.  The level of power provided to the federal government to enforce its forfeiture laws is vast. Along with the complex criminal and civil procedure issues presented, it can be difficult to grasp how to respond when confronted with a forfeiture claim – civil or criminal. It is important to understand that forfeiture is a proceeding against property. This allows the government to seek forfeiture through a criminal, civil, or parallel criminal and civil actions. In a criminal case, forfeiture is a form of punishment directed at the convicted person. See e.g., 18 U.S.C. § 982 (a)(1) (mandating the forfeiture of property when certain financial crimes have been committed). However, in a civil forfeiture proceeding, the property is the defendant for allegedly being used to facilitate or be the proceeds of criminal activity. In that situation, the government’s burden is a preponderance of the evidence read more…

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Paternity Paradox

Court of Special Appeals of Maryland Considers Fatherhood, Donated Embryos, and In Vitro Fertilization Sieglein v. Schmidt, No. 2616 Sept. Term. 2013, 2015 WL 5021392, at *2 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. Aug. 25, 2015) Held: The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland affirmed an order of the Circuit Court for Harford County finding that the father was in fact the legal parent of minor child, despite the fact that child had been conceived through in vitro fertilization (IVF) via donated sperm and egg during the marriage. Facts: Parties met on a dating website and, each bringing children from prior relationships, were married shortly thereafter.  Prior to meeting his new wife, father had a vasectomy, and during their months dating had expressed his desire not to have any more children.  Despite this, following their marriage, mother expressed a desire to have another child.  Father refused to undergo a reversal of the vasectomy, but the parties sought assisted reproductive services from a Maryland fertility clinic.  Both parties signed the relevant documents accepting the relevant purpose, risks and benefits of the procedure.  The parties pursued the IVF option utilizing donated egg and sperm, and through this method a child was conceived and born of the read more…

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