T 301.656.8850 Ext. 480
7735 Old Georgetown Road
Bethesda, MD 20814-6130
B.A., The Ohio State University
J.D., The George Washington University Law School
District of Columbia
Linda J. Ravdin, a principal in the firm, concentrates in divorce and family law for families of all kinds. She joined Pasternak & Fidis in 2002, after 28 years with the firm she established after law school.
Linda is experienced in the resolution of spousal support claims, property issues of all kinds, and custody and child support. She has resolved disputes about the validity of premarital agreements, postmarital agreements and separation agreements, as well as the division of private, governmental and international organization retirement benefits, stock options, deferred compensation and nonqualified retirement benefits, businesses and professional services practices, real estate, and securities. She incorporates tax planning as part of negotiating family dissolution settlements. Linda is the co-author of the only comprehensive manual on divorce and family law of the District of Columbia. She is an experienced trial lawyer but believes in solutions that keep her clients out of court whenever possible. She works with clients who choose the collaborative process, mediation, or other forms of alternative dispute resolution. She is an experienced mediator and a volunteer facilitator with the D.C. Superior Court Family Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Program.
Linda is a nationally known authority on the law of premarital and postmarital agreements and has taught other lawyers all over the United States. She is the author of several books on premarital agreements, including Premarital Agreements: Drafting and Negotiation for the American Bar Association, as well as numerous articles. From 2010-2012 she served as the ABA Family Law Section Advisor to the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) Drafting Committee on the Uniform Premarital and Marital Agreements Act, adopted by the ULC in 2012.
Linda has taught a variety of continuing legal education programs, including programs on premarital agreements, the distribution of assets in divorce, division of retirement benefits at divorce, spousal support, and dissolution of same-sex marriages.
Linda is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. Both Washingtonian and Bethesda magazines have included her in their lists of the best divorce lawyers in the Washington area.
A lover of theatre, Linda also enjoys skiing, traveling, reading, museums, music, and baking. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of Round House Theatre, the firm’s neighbor in Bethesda, and she tries to attend every opening night.
A premarital agreement is a contract between persons intending to marry. It determines spousal rights when the marriage ends by death or dissolution. All states enforce properly made premarital agreements. However, laws governing validity vary among the states. What if a couple signs a premarital agreement in Virginia and later moves to Maryland? Will a Maryland court enforce the agreement even though Maryland law of validity imposes a higher standard than Virginia law?
Contract law permits the premarital agreement to choose the law that will govern a dispute about validity of the agreement or enforceability of a specific provision even when the dispute must be resolved in another state’s courts. Can the couple rest easy, knowing the law chosen in the contract—Virginia law in the… MORE >
In July 2016, the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) adopted the Uniform Family Law Arbitration Act (UFLAA). It can now be considered for enactment by state legislatures. Ideally, it will be enacted by all states and the District of Columbia so that there will be a uniform approach to arbitration of family law disputes across the U.S.
These are the key provisions:
Scope. Parties can agree to submit any existing or future family law dispute to binding arbitration, including division of property, a claim for spousal support, custody and child support, a claim of breach of a marital agreement or a dispute about how to implement the terms of such an agreement. A party who entered into an agreement to resolve a future child-related dispute by… MORE >
Alternative dispute resolution embraces a variety of processes designed to resolve legal disputes outside of a formal court proceeding. One such option is binding arbitration. In binding arbitration a neutral decision-maker, who could be a retired judge or a lawyer with expertise in the subject matter of the dispute, is appointed make a decision to resolve a legal dispute. Arbitration has been used for many years to resolve commercial, construction, labor, and many other types of legal disputes. It is rare in the family law arena, but that could change.
The Uniform Law Commission (ULC) is currently working on a Uniform Family Law Arbitration Act (the UFLAA). It will be presented to the Commission at its annual meeting in the summer of 2016. If the… MORE >
This article was originally published in the American Bar Association’s Family Advocate, Vol. 38, No. 2, (Fall 2015) p. 10-13, and is reprinted here with permission. PDF available here.
Adequate financial disclosure is essential to a valid and enforceable premarital agreement. When one party is the beneficiary of a third-party trust or the settlor of his or her own trust, the existence, key terms, and value of trust assets will necessarily figure into that disclosure. Even if a trust does not already exist, the parties may wish to incorporate one or more trusts into their premarital agreement terms.
Disclosure of existing trusts
The proponent of a premarital agreement will achieve maximum protection of property rights if financial disclosure is substantial, accurate, and meaningful—in other words, if it exceeds the minimum… MORE >
A premarital agreement is a legally binding contract between two people who intend to marry that determines the property rights of the surviving spouse upon the death of the first spouse and that may also determine property and support rights if the marriage ends in divorce.
Not so long ago the typical person considering a premarital agreement was older, had been widowed or divorced and had children from a prior marriage for whom he or she wanted to provide at death. A premarital agreement remains a useful planning tool for such individuals. When there is a significant disparity in property and income, the economically better off partner may wish to limit his or her financial obligations, especially in the event the marriage ends in divorce. Even… MORE >
Too Much is Enough.
Two recent cases, one from Maryland and one from Virginia, point up the importance of financial disclosure in premarital agreements. In each case the challenging spouse launched a multi-faceted, and ultimately unsuccessful, attack on the agreement. Inadequate financial disclosure was but one facet of the attack. Had the financial disclosure been done better, in both cases, the litigation might have ended sooner with less expense to the defending spouse.
In Stewart v. Stewart, 76 A.3d 1221 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. 2013), the husband identified his major assets, a farm and a concrete business. However, he did not provide any values. Maryland case law has described a complete list of assets with fair valuations as the gold standard for financial disclosure. The Stewart… MORE >
In July 2012 the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) approved a new uniform act, the Uniform Premarital and Marital Agreements Act (UPMAA). The ULC (also known as the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws) is a 121 year old organization of legal scholars and practicing lawyers. It researches, drafts and promotes enactment of uniform state laws on subjects that would benefit from uniformity. For example, it created the Uniform Commercial Code, the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, and the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act. It is up to the legislature of each state whether to adopt a uniform act, and whether to make any changes to the text.
The UPMAA, if adopted, would replace the 1983 Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA). Twenty-seven states, including… MORE >
Some people planning to marry want to enter into a premarital agreement. A business owner may have particular concerns that may cause him or her to consider a premarital agreement. There are a variety of issues the lawyer for the business owner needs to pay special attention to.
Why a business owner may seek a premarital agreement. A business owner may want a premarital agreement to protect his or her exclusive rights to the business if the marriage fails, and to control the disposition of the business after his or her death. At divorce, whether appreciation in the value of a premarital business is marital property can become the subject of an expensive court fight. Similarly, the value of the good will of a business can be disputed, with competing expert witnesses and substantial risk for the owner. A premarital agreement can take… MORE >
A bill has been introduced in the District of Columbia City Council that would expand the authority of D.C. Superior Court to grant adoptions to same-sex couples. Under current law, a same-sex couple may adopt a child together if the petitioner lives in the District of Columbia or the child is in the legal care of the District of Columbia or a D.C. licensed adoption agency. A male couple who arrange for a private adoption of a child born in D.C. cannot adopt if they both live in Virginia because Virginia courts will not grant adoption to same-sex couples. The bill would allow this couple to adopt in D.C. Superior Court based on the child’s birth in D.C. The D.C. adoption decree will be entitled… MORE >