Friday, 12 December 2014 04:24

Hess Family Law wins Court of Appeals Case Upholding a Separation Agreement

Hess Family Law wins Court of Appeals Case: Separation Agreements are Not Voidable

     A few months prior to Husband and Wife marrying in September 2003, Wife contacted an attorney to begin the process for Wife, a Canadian citizen, to obtain permanent resident status in the United States. Due to marital difficulties, in 2005 and 2008, Husband and Wife executed Marital Settlement Agreements. Wife used the same attorney to assist her with the drafting of the Agreements that was used by the parties in the Immigration matters. Husband chose not to obtain legal counsel regarding the Separation Agreement even though both Agreements advised Husband that Wife’s attorney was not representing Husband’s interests. Husband and Wife negotiated the terms of their Agreements on their own and Wife advised the attorney on what to draft.

     In 2009, Husband filed a Complaint for Divorce in Montgomery County Maryland. He subsequently filed a Motion to Set Aside Marital Agreements. Husband argued that the attorney who earlier assisted Husband and Wife in obtaining Wife’s permanent resident status in the United States violated the Maryland Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct by failing to obtain Husband’s informed consent to representation of Wife in connection with the two settlement agreements.

     The Circuit Court for Montgomery County Maryland agreed with Wife and upheld the Separation Agreements. Husband appealed the decision. Wife hired Hess Family Law to represent her in the Appellate Court (Court of Special Appeals and Court of Appeals). The Wife prevailed; the Court of Special Appeals affirmed the Circuit Court ruling that the Separation Agreement was valid. Husband filed a request for certiorari, and the Court of Appeals agreed to hear his case. The Court of Appeals, the highest Court in the State of Maryland, affirmed the decision and held that there were not sufficient grounds to render the agreements voidable. The Court of Appeals agreed with Wife that even if there was a violation by the Wife’s attorney, and the Court did not conclude that there was, that setting aside the Agreement was not an appropriate remedy.

     Click here to view the entire Court of Appeals opinion.  To view Ms. Hess arguing the case before the Court of Appeals, go to

Mailing Address

Geraldine Welikson Hess, Esq
Hess Family Law
451 Hungerford Dr,
Suite 119-307
Rockville, Maryland 20850

Geraldine Welikson Hess, Esq
Hess Family Law
344 Maple Ave West,
Suite 355
Vienna, Virginia 22180

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Rockville, Maryland 20850
(240) 389-4377
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Fairfax, Virginia 22030
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