BLACK LIVES MATTER

Premarital Agreements & Trusts

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, […]

Estate Planning in Light of Marriage Equality

The recent Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges makes marriage equality the rule in all U.S. jurisdictions. Couples whose marriages will now be recognized in all states should give some thought to these estate planning issues implicated by the ruling: Joint filing is available for income tax returns—not only federal returns, but also state […]

Premarital Agreements and the Young Couple

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 […]

Federal Civilian Employee Benefits and Divorce

There are complex federal laws and regulations that govern retirement benefits and health, life and long term care insurance benefits for federal civilian employees and annuitants. This article provides an overview of the benefits available to them and addresses what spouses contemplating divorce should know about these benefits. A unique aspect of the DC-MD-VA area […]

How Much Financial Disclosure is Adequate for a Valid Premarital Agreement?

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 […]

The New Uniform Premarital and Marital Agreements Act

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 […]

Common Law Marriage Equality

A common law marriage is a marriage that is entered into informally, without a license. Informal marriages have been abolished in most states, but they are still available in a handful of states and the District of Columbia. The required elements of common law marriage in DC are: (1) cohabitation; following (2) an express mutual […]