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Before I Do: A Legal Guide to Marriage, Gay and Otherwise
     

Before I Do: A Legal Guide to Marriage, Gay and Otherwise

by Elizabeth F. Schwartz, James Obergefell (Afterword)
 

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Not long ago, same-sex couples had to jump through endless hoops to make their relationships even close to legal. Happily, those days are over. Same-sex couples no longer have to operate as outlaws—they too can have in-laws! But here’s the rub: many gay and lesbian couples, accustomed to living off-grid, are so thrilled to have the benefits of

Overview


Not long ago, same-sex couples had to jump through endless hoops to make their relationships even close to legal. Happily, those days are over. Same-sex couples no longer have to operate as outlaws—they too can have in-laws! But here’s the rub: many gay and lesbian couples, accustomed to living off-grid, are so thrilled to have the benefits of marriage that they gleefully jump into marriage without fully understanding the consequences.

In her first book, Before I Do, leading gay rights attorney Elizabeth F. Schwartz spells out the range of practical considerations couples should address before tying the knot. She explores the rights marriage provides and those it does not. With cameos from some of the most prominent LGBT professionals, Schwartz explains all of the implications of marriage from name changes and getting a license to taxes, insurance, Social Security, and much more.

Substantial chapters on estate planning, pre- and post-nuptial agreements, and organizing finances make Before I Do relevant for all couples, young and older, and a crucial handbook for anyone considering marriage—because, as Schwartz explains, just because you can get married does not mean you should.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for Before I Do:
“This book is essential for LGBT couples as they explore the practicalities and legalities of a civil union and it’s well rounded enough that straight couples may find it useful as well.”
Library Journal (starred)

"During my thirty years of covering the gay beat for the Miami Herald, never did I imagine the need for a marriage guide for LGBT couples. Yet today nothing is more urgent. Before I Do guides all couples, gay and otherwise, about the responsibilities of marriage. Ignore it at your peril."
—Steve Rothaus, The Miami Herald

"Anyone in a relationship should read this book! Schwartz lays out the laws that affect relationships with stunning clarity and brevity, and her humor, humanity, and graphics make it a compelling read."
—Mary Bonauto, Civil Rights Project Director, GLAD

"Elizabeth Schwartz’s new book is a must-read for couples who are thinking about marrying and want to get it right."
—Serene Jones, president of Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York

"Few decisions are more consequential than marriage. Before marrying, there are a few legal questions you should ask to give your ‘I do’ the surest chance of longevity and satisfaction. Schwartz’s book is the best insurance for your own ‘happily ever after.’"
—Kate Kendell, Esq., executive director, National Center for Lesbian Rights

"LGBT lawyer Elizabeth Schwartz has written a colorful and comprehensive guide to marriage, using real-world examples from her legal case files, and including helpful contributions by experts in the field. Her book covers every conceivable aspect of matrimony, including the choice not to marry. Any couple—straight or gay—would benefit from reading Before I Do before saying “I do.”"
—Amy Dickinson, “Ask Amy” syndicated advice columnist

"At last, a sensible guide to practical issues facing all couples considering marriage. Schwartz tackles tough issues that too many couples avoid discussing and offers sensible advice that can be helpful to anyone in a relationship—however that may be defined."
—Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt

Library Journal
★ 09/01/2016
Schwartz, an attorney with expertise on the rights of LGBT individuals, assembles wide-ranging practical and legal advice for those about to embark on marriage. The author begins with a summary of the journey to secure marriage rights for the LGBT community and then embarks on a measured discussion of issues that couples should consider before tying the knot. Schwartz covers what marriage means, its alternatives, nuptial agreements, finances, estate planning, and divorce. Her clear writing features hypothetical but true-to-life examples that illustrate such topics as the tax benefits of marriage and the complications that can ensue in parental rights when a partner dies or the couple separates. Cameo essays from experts on elder law, taxation, adoption, counseling, and military benefits add meat to an already sturdy book. For example, Bridget J. Wilson, a civilian military attorney, writes of the continuing challenges for LGBT military personnel. There is an appendix of selected resources and a moving afterword by Jim Obergefell, a plaintiff in one of the cases that delivered marriage equality. VERDICT This book is essential for LGBT couples as they explore the practicalities and legalities of a civil union, and it's well-rounded enough that straight couples may find it useful as well.—Joan Pedzich, formerly with Harris Beach PLLC, Pittsford, NY

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781620971543
Publisher:
New Press, The
Publication date:
10/04/2016
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
629,038
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.60(d)

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Meet the Author

Elizabeth F. Schwartz has been practicing law since 1997 and is one of Florida’s best known advocates for the legal rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Her practice focuses on family formation (adoption, insemination, and surrogacy), divorce, estate planning, and probate. Schwartz lives in Miami.

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