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Alimony

How the Courts Decide on Alimony

Alimony is an explosive topic. Some people totally agree with it, while others are firmly against it. Either way, alimony can be a large part of divorce, and the financial aspect can be lengthy and costly for the party that will be paying the alimony. The decision of granting alimony by the court depends on…

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Case Law Updates from Family Mediation Quarterly, April 2014

Temporary Alimony Doesn’t Count. In the most significant case concerning the Alimony Reform Act, the SJC determined that the period during which temporary alimony is paid during the pendency of a divorce proceeding pursuant to G.L. c. 208 s. 17 is not included in the calculation of the maximum presumptive duration of general term alimony. …

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Divorce and Fertility: Putting your Eggs in One Basket

Deciding to end a marriage is never easy. After investing so much of your life to one person, it can be incredibly daunting to think about starting over.  For women in their late thirties or forties whose marital investment included the potential of starting a family, divorce can pose an even more complex challenge. While…

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Case Law Updates from Family Mediation Quarterly, October 2013

PC Agreement Held Enforceable. A recent Appeals Court decision held that an agreement to use a parenting coordinator (PC) was enforceable, even where one party does not want to use one anymore. The father had sought the appointment of a new PC after the PC’s initial one-year term ended; the Probate and Family Court judge…

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Case Law Updates from Family Mediation Quarterly, July 2013

“Agreed upon Educational Expenses” and the Price of Silence. Because “agreed upon expenses” recurs so frequently in our agreements, this recent case from the Appeals Court should be of great interest. The separation agreement, incorporated into a California divorce judgment and registered in Massachusetts, provided that each party would pay one-half of all agreed-upon educational…

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Husband Receives No Part of Wife’s $12,000,000 Inheritance

The Appeals Court upheld a Probate judgment in which the judge did not award husband any part of the wife’s $12,000,000 inherited interest in various trusts.  The decision does not indicate the precise extent of the marital estate but infers that the wife was left with substantially greater assets than the husband.  The parties lived…

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Is Income Equalization Dead?

The Probate Court equalized the incomes of two parents with a child support order.  On the father’s appeal, the Appeals Court affirmed.  On further appellate review, the SJC vacated the support award, holding that “income equalization is inconsistent with principles that inform child support orders in the Commonwealth.” Such orders, said the SJC, should not…

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MCFM Spring 2012 Family Mediation Quarterly Article by Attorney Fields

The most recent issue of the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation Family Mediation Quarterly features the following article I wrote called MASSACHUSETTS FAMILY LAW: A Periodic Review. Value of Inherited Nantucket Home Divided Equally. The Appeals Court upheld a Probate and Family Court judgment that divided equally between parties the value of the husband’s interest…

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Marlene's Material Modification

Material Change Trumps Inconsistency Standard. Marlene Morales sought to modify child support when her ex-husband’s hourly wage increased $.87 per hour. Although child support would have increased in this Guidelines case, the Probate and Family judge dismissed Marlene’s modification action on the basis that she failed to prove “a material change of circumstances.” On appeal,…

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