Before I Do A Legal Guide to Marriage, Gay and Otherwise, by Elizabeth F. Schwartz

 

The dos and don’ts for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people—and anyone else—who may be considering marriage.

With an afterword by Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court case that made marriage equality the law of the land.

Book Cover

The New Press

Not long ago, same-sex couples had to jump through endless hoops to make their relationships even close to legal. For the most part, 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.

 


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Praise for Before I Do

"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


"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


"At last, a sensible guide to practical issues facing all couples considering marriage."

—RABBI STUART WEINBLATT, PRESIDENT OF THE RABBINIC CABINET OF THE JEWISH FEDERATIONS OF NORTH AMERICA


"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. NCLR colleague and cooperating attorney Liz Schwartz provides practical and essential advice for every couple gay or not. Her book is the best insurance for your own "happily ever after."

—KATE KENDELL, ESQ., EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL CENTER FOR LESBIAN RIGHTS


About the author:

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