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The DOMA Decision Deciphered: What it Means to Your Client

Total Credits
1.5 - 2
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The United States Supreme Court’s decision to strike down an important provision of the Defense of Marriage Act has immediate implications for same-sex couples throughout the nation. Gay and lesbian couples who are married in their home state or in other states that recognize same-sex marriage, may begin to enjoy hundreds of federal benefits previously denied to them. This program will explore the disparity between the rights and responsibilities of same-sex couples who live and marry in a recognition state and same-sex couples who marry in a recognition state but live in a state that prohibits same-sex marriages. The panel brings together some of the top national experts in LGBT law. They will discuss some of the benefits to gay and lesbian couples after the Windsor decision as well as the many questions that are now raised by the decision. This course is a must-see in order to keep abreast of this rapidly changing area of law!

Topics include:

  • Immigration law and sponsoring a same-sex spouse
  • Tax implications including the marital deduction, estate tax, and interspousal transfers
  • Federal benefits and privileges in general that are immediately available to same-sex couples and those that require further action by government
  • Family law and children of married gay and lesbian couples
  • Estate planning implications for married same-sex couples
  • President Obama’s response to the DOMA decision and how it will impact couples in the future
  • A legal analysis of the Court’s decisions and how it may have opened the door to a national recognition of same-sex marriage

Lecturer Bios

Christopher S. Krimmer, Esq.

Attorney Krimmer focuses his practice on legal issues affecting your family including, but not limited to, divorce, legal separation, child custody, child support, paternity, adoptions, guardianships, probate, marital property agreements (commonly known as “prenuptial agreements”), and estate planning.

Attorney Krimmer has also satisfied the state training requirements to serve as a guardian ad litem in family law matters. A guardian ad litem is an attorney appointed by the court to represent the best interests of a child involved in a child custody and placement dispute.

Attorney Krimmer has the legal acumen and skills to effectively serve as a mediator in your family law matter. Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution in which the parties agree to submit their issues to a mediator who facilitates communication between the parties as everyone works towards a settlement. Mediation is a quicker, less expensive, and more amicable way to resolve disputes in contrast to litigation.

Mr. Krimmer was recognized as a Rising Star in 2006, 2007, & 2010 by the publication Wisconsin Super Lawyers. A Rising Star designation is reserved for only the top 2.5% of the attorneys in the state of Wisconsin. The only way a lawyer can be selected as a Rising Star is through a rigorous selection process by the publisher, Law & Politics, and the candidate must be nominated by area judges and attorneys who believe the candidate represents one of the best attorneys they have observed in action.

Attorney Krimmer authored Business Owners in Divorce, Wisconsin Lawyer, June, 2008, Surviving Divorce: Marital Property Agreements Best Way to Protect Business, Capital Region Business Journal, November, 2007, and The Evolving Realm of Family Law: Non-Traditional Family Units, National Business Institute (June, 2010).

Mr. Krimmer sits on the Board of Directors for the Wisconsin Inter-Professional Committee on Divorce, an organization that brings therapists, lawyers and family court counselors together to address the needs of families in the family court system.

His commitment to people living with HIV continues today through his volunteer work. He has received numerous pro bono awards including the Dane County Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award in 2008, the Executive Director’s Award from the AIDS Network in 2007 and the Volunteer Attorney of the Year Award from the AIDS Network in 2005, 2007 & 2009.

Attorney Krimmer is licensed to practice in the State of Wisconsin, the U.S. Federal Eastern District of Wisconsin and the U.S. Federal Western District of Wisconsin.

Attorney Krimmer graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School, cum laude, in 1997 and the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, magna cum laude, in 1994. He is an adjunct professor for Marquette Law School where he teaches courses in Sexual Orientation and the Law and a workshop in Pretrial Skills. He has also taught Consumer Law at Marquette Law School and Business and Regulatory Law at the University of Phoenix. He has given over 60 speeches across the state on legal issues involving family law, estate planning and non-traditional family protections.

Attorney Krimmer has been recognized with the designation of a Super Professor by Faculty Row. “SuperProfessors are a peer reviewed group of academics that consistently demonstrate excellent, passion, and clarity, throughout their academic careers.”

Deborah H. Wald, Esq.

Deborah H. Wald, Esq. is the founder and senior partner at Wald & Thorndal. Her work has evolved over the past 17 years from a part-time home-based LGBT family formation law practice, to a multi-disciplinary full service family law firm addressing the legal needs of all contemporary families. Ms. Wald's goal is to ensure that all individuals, families and children receive the highest quality legal protections available.

A teacher as well as a lawyer, Ms. Wald uniquely blends a practitioner's experience with national and historical perspectives. She is an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law, where she teaches an upper level seminar entitled "Topics in Contemporary Family Law," covering a broad range of cutting-edge family law issues. Her law review article, “The Parentage Puzzle,” was published in the Journal of Gender, Social Policy and the Law in 2007; and a second article entitled “Integrated Approaches to Resolving Same-Sex Dissolutions” was published in Conflict Resolution Quarterly in 2009. She regularly provides trainings to attorneys and judges throughout California on the complexities of California parentage law.

Ms. Wald speaks nationally on contemporary family law issues. Recent venues include the California Society for Health Care Attorneys Annual Meeting; the Law and Society Association annual meeting; the Academy of California Adoption Lawyers (ACAL/ACFFL) annual seminar; the American Society of Reproductive Medicine Annual Conference; and the Williams Institute at UCLA.

Ms. Wald also is an experienced criminal defense attorney, focusing primarily on indigent criminal appeals. As a criminal defense lawyer she has devoted her energy to protecting non-citizens who are facing deportation or exclusion from the United States as a result of their contacts with the criminal justice system. She was a founder of Women Defenders, an organization providing professional, technical and social support networks for female criminal defense practitioners; and she worked as a public defender in Alameda County for 5 years.

Ms. Wald is a member of the State Bar of California Family Law Executive Committee (FLEXCOM). She is a fellow of the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys (AAARTA), and a member of the Academy of California Adoption Lawyers and Academy of California Family Formation Lawyers (ACAL/ACFFL). Ms. Wald is a member of American and California chapters of the Association of Family & Conciliation Courts (AFCC). She is the Chair of the National Family Law Advisory Council for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and formerly served on the Board of Directors of Our Family Coalition, the Bay Area's largest LGBT family organization. Ms. Wald is a member of the local bar associations of San Francisco (BASF) and San Mateo counties, Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF), and the National LGBT Bar Association. A graduate of Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts, Ms. Wald resides in San Francisco with her partner, their two sons, and their two very large — and very cute (except when they are not) — dogs.

Patricia A. Cain, Esq.

Patricia A. Cain is a professor of law at Santa Clara University and the Aliber Family Chair in Law, Emerita, at the University of Iowa. She is a graduate of Vassar College and received her J.D. from the University of Georgia. She began her academic career at the University of Texas at Austin, where she was a member of the faculty for 17 years, before moving to Iowa in 1991, and then to Santa Clara in 2007. She is the author of Rainbow Rights: the role of lawyers and courts in the lesbian and gay civil rights movement (Westview Press 2000) and Sexuality Law, 2nd Edition (Carolina Academic Press 2009)(with Arthur S. Leonard).

Professor Cain is a member of the American Law Institute and a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. She teaches courses in federal taxation, property, wills and trusts, and sexuality and the law. Most of her recent scholarship focuses on tax planning for same-sex couples. She writes about this topic regularly on her blog, Same Sex Tax Law. See

Elizabeth F. Schwartz, Esq.

Elizabeth Schwartz, in her 16th year of law practice, is one of Miami's best known advocates for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. While her South Beach-based firm equally works with straight and gay clients in matters of family law, estate planning and probate, she has made a name for herself representing the LGBT community, with a focus on family formation (adoption, insemination, surrogacy) and dissolution matters. She lectures locally and nationally about the importance of LGBT couples protecting their loved ones through estate planning and contract (especially in the absence of true marriage rights.) Elizabeth was a contributor to the recently-published book "Making It Legal: A Guide to Same-Sex Marriage, Domestic Partnerships and Civil Unions," by Frederick Hertz, Esq.

Also a certified family mediator and a member of the Collaborative Family Law Institute, she treats the law as a therapeutic profession, facilitating, for example, relationship dissolution with minimal investment of emotional and financial resources. Elizabeth serves as an adoption intermediary helping make forever families of all kinds.

Elizabeth, a native of Miami Beach, received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania in 1993. She received her Juris Doctor, cum laude, from the University of Miami in 1997. She served as pro-bono counsel in several cases that helped overturn Florida's uniquely bigoted 1977 ban forbidding gays and lesbians from adopting children and has been on the forefront of providing crucial legal protections for LGBT families.

For her years of service, she received the 2012 National Gay & Lesbian Task Force's prestigious Eddy McIntyre Community Service Award at the Task Force's annual Miami Recognition Dinner. Also in 2012, Elizabeth was tapped for membership into Iron Arrow, the highest honor attained at the University of Miami. In 2010, Elizabeth received the Women Worth Knowing Award from the City of Miami Beach Commission for Women and was named by the National LGBT Bar Association as one of the country's Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40. In 2008 she was honored with the "Valuing Our Families" Community Award, presented by Sunserve. In 2007, she received the Dade County Bar Association's Sookie Williams Award and the Aqua Foundation for Women Leadership Award. And in 2005, she received the Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Community Award.

She is a member of the National Family Law Advisory Council of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, serves as President of the Miami Beach Bar Association and is the Parliamentarian of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation's Women's Philanthropy. Elizabeth is co-chair of the Gay and Lesbian Lawyers Association of South Florida and is the immediate past-chair of the City of Miami Beach's Human Rights Committee. Elizabeth is also a board member of Next @ 19th, which aims to move Jewish culture forward and is a founding member of the Aqua Foundation for Women, raising money by and for South Florida's lesbian community.

A lefty and a Scorpio, Elizabeth lives with her partner, journalist Lydia Martin, and their dog Buttercup, in downtown Miami's urban core.

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