Morriah H. Horani, Partner

Morriah H. Horani, Partner

Divorce and Family Law

Child Custody and Support

Premarital Agreements

Will Contests

Trust Modification and Termination

Trustee Disputes

mhorani@pasternakfidis.com

T 301.656.8850 Ext. 454

F 301.656.3053

7735 Old Georgetown Road
Suite 1100
Bethesda, MD 20814-6130


Education

A.B., Brown University

J.D., University of Maryland School of Law

Bar Admissions

Maryland

District of Columbia

Virginia

Morriah concentrates her legal work in resolving family disputes. She has a complementary practice in both family law and trust and estate litigation. Morriah is a trial lawyer with an active tri-jurisdictional practice in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Morriah’s years of experience in settling disputes complements her extensive trial practice work so that she can serve a broad range of client needs, from challenging litigation to the thoughtful, personal settlement work necessary to preserve family relationships notwithstanding difficult legal disputes. While her first goal is to preserve family resources by keeping cases out of court, when the case demands it, Morriah provides vigorous representation in trying court contests. Morriah has been specially trained in the Collaborative Law process and can represent clients in any type of out-of-court settlement process.

In her family law practice, Morriah has handled cases involving custody, divorce, child support, alimony modification, same-sex disputes, post-judgment enforcement and modifications, premarital and post marital agreements, and legions of other family law issues. Morriah is also a trained child advocate who can serve as a child’s lawyer in a court dispute.

Morriah’s fiduciary litigation practice focuses on helping clients untangle the complexities of estate and trust matters and skillfully representing them in court. Morriah approaches these cases with Pasternak & Fidis’s elite team of estates and trusts lawyers so that these matters have the benefit of their deep understanding of evolving, complex estate and trust laws. Morriah’s fiduciary litigation experience includes will challenges, trust reformation actions, trustee disputes, estate administration conflicts, and other probate disputes.

Morriah is also a seasoned appellate lawyer having both defended and successfully overturned trial court rulings on appeal. Morriah briefed and argued a noteworthy, precedent-setting case before Maryland’s highest court, the Maryland Court of Appeals, in 2010. She has also handled appeals in the Virginia Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Court of Appeals, and the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.

Morriah earned her undergraduate degree in Public Policy and American Institutions at Brown University and her law degree and health law certificate at the University of Maryland School of Law. Morriah had the honor of serving as a trial court judge’s law clerk prior to joining Pasternak & Fidis in 2007. Washingtonian magazine interviewed and quoted Morriah in one of its issues, and The Maryland Daily Record quoted Morriah’s legal analysis in September 2014. Super Lawyers recognized Morriah as a Super Lawyers “Rising Star” in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

An avid tennis player, Morriah has qualified for the United States Tennis Association’s national championships three times. Her tennis teams have won both State and Mid-Atlantic Sectional Championships multiple times. Morriah has been the captain of a competitive Montgomery County, Maryland women’s tennis team since 2008. Morriah also has a Mah Jongg group and runs in 5K races with a local club. She volunteers each year for the Brown Alumni Association to interview high school students applying for undergraduate admission to Brown University. Morriah also serves on the Board of Cedarbrook Swim and Tennis Club and volunteers her time to monitor a specific stretch of the C&O Canal in conjunction with the U.S. National Park Service. Morriah lives in Kensington, Maryland with her family of humans, cats, dogs, and homeless kittens, which she fosters in partnership with a Virginia/Maryland animal rescue organization.

Noteworthy Cases

Boemio v. Boemio, 414 Md. 118; 994 A.2d 911; 2010 Md. LEXIS 184
Morgan v. Kifus et al., 2011 Va. App. Lexis 126

Activities and Affiliations

  • Maryland State Bar Association
  • Bar Association of Montgomery County, Maryland
  • Virginia State Bar
  • Fairfax Bar Association (Judicial Screening Committee) (2015)
  • Montgomery County Inns of Court
  • Arlington Bar Association

Legal Volunteer Work

  • Contributor of Legal Materials, The People’s Law Library of the Maryland State Law Library
  • Volunteer Circuit Court for Montgomery County Family Law Self Help Center
  • Volunteer D.C. Superior Court Family Court Self-Help Center

Presentations

  • “Grown-Ups Supporting Grown-Ups: Adults’ Obligations to Support Their Parents and Adult Children in Maryland, Virginia, and D.C.,” Estates, Trusts and Probate Law Series (Part 2 of 10): District of Columbia Bar Association, October 2015
  • “D.C. Domestic Relations Law Custody, Visitation, Parentage, and Child Support,” District of Columbia Courts, Multi-Door Dispute Resolution Division, 2011

Recognition

  • Super Lawyers – Rising Stars – Divorce & Family Law (Maryland 2016)

Publications

  • “Divorce May Be Hazardous to Your Health: Health Care Issues Affecting Divorcing Spouses,” Family Law News, Maryland State Bar Association, December 2013
  • “Interlocutory Appeals in Family Law Cases,” Family Law News, Maryland State Bar Association, July 2011
  • “The Collaborative Divorce Option in a Nutshell,” The Maryland Bar Bulletin, November 1, 2010
  • “Divorce Gets Even Hairier: Pets and Marital Dissolution,” Family Law News, Maryland State Bar Association, May 1, 2008
  • “Case Note: Krebs v. Krebs,” Family Law News, Maryland State Bar Association, February 2009

Blog Posts

September 10, 2015

Kids and Their Lawyers: Children’s Custody Attorneys in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia

The old saying “out of the mouth of babes” neatly packages the concept that children can say perceptive and remarkably wise things, despite their youth. Although children may have much to offer in insight, they are usually indirect, unvoiced participants in custody cases. But children can have a direct voice and be represented by their own counsel. This article describes the types of child advocacy in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

Maryland A Maryland judge may appoint counsel for a child who is the subject of a custody proceeding to serve any one of three different roles: 1) to decide whether to waive or assert a child’s legal privilege of nondisclosure (“child privilege attorney”); 2) to advocate for the child’s best interest (“best… MORE >

December 30, 2014

Death and Divorce: A Lethal Legal Combination

Death and divorce—both events are extremely difficult and stressful in and of themselves. However, when death and divorce happen at roughly the same time, the consequences can be unexpected and may seem wildly unfair. Separation and divorce can have a significant impact on estate planning issues, which require diligent attention when marital issues arise.  Otherwise, the death-­and-divorce cocktail may shake out in a very unintended way.

Prior to Divorce When a couple begins to live separate and apart (which may include a separation under the same roof), without obtaining a limited divorce or legal separation order and without signing a separation agreement, the fact of the estrangement alone generally has no legal effect on the inheritance rights or fiduciary authority of a surviving spouse.  In other… MORE >

April 30, 2012

New Year, New Opportunity to Clean Up a Marital Mess

With each new year comes another opportunity to evaluate one’s life and make changes for the better. That can be particularly true in the domestic context, where a marital mess may be lurking. This article explains how postponing or prolonging a divorce or living in an ambiguous marital status may have a long-reaching, even catastrophic, impact. There’s no time like the present to start cleaning up a marital mess.

The Perils of a Prolonged Separation and Divorce

Maryland law recently changed to shorten the separation time to get a divorce from two years to one. This intimates that time is of the essence, and it definitely is when it comes to divorce. Separating without actually divorcing is perilous. Unless the spouses have a marital… MORE >