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March 2017 Archives

Time to Re-Visit Your Will

It is an extremely common practice for husbands and wives to execute simple Wills, during their marriage, providing that everything they each own should pass to the other spouse upon death. The Wills are often mirror images of each other; and, so long as the marriage remains strong, there generally is no problem.However, if the love and mutual trust, that is inherent in a successful marriage, begins to weaken, there is absolutely nothing in the law that prevents one spouse from deciding that he/she wants to dispose of his/her estate in a different manner, i.e., leave the money or property to someone other than his/her spouse. There is no legal requirement that the unsuspecting spouse be given any notice at all of this intended change in Wills.

If My Fiancé and I Break off our Engagement, Who Keeps the Engagement Ring?

For the longest time, this was one of the must frustratingly unanswerable questions in family law. If an engagement is broken off before a marriage is consummated, the law of divorce is completely inapplicable to the parties, and so concepts of marital property and separate property would not apply. Complicating matters, there is a law in Virginia known as the "heart balm statute" that says that one party cannot sue another for breaching a "promise to marry." With essentially no direction from the higher courts in the Commonwealth, the law surrounding retention or return of engagement rings varied wildly (if it existed at all) from county to county. Some judges ruled that the courts were powerless to return the ring, some ruled that it must be returned, and some ruled that its return was dependent upon the reasons for the termination of the engagement.

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Duff Kronfeld & Marquardt P.C.
11320 Random Hills Road
Suite 630
Fair Oaks Commerce Center
Fairfax, VA 22030

Phone: 703-591-7475
Fax: 703-273-4537
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