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Showing posts from June, 2016

Demarco v. Demarco - Surviving the Times

The Alimony Reform Act has led many to seek changes to their alimony orders and agreements.  The change from "lifetime alimony" was a driving force behind the Act, after all.  However, that doesn't mean that everyone is entitled to a change under the Act.

In Demarco v. Demarco, the Appeals Court looks at a case where two parties reached an Agreement based on an assumption that the husband was entitled to a change under the Act.  That assumption was incorrect according to the Supreme Judicial Court's ruling in Chin v. Merriot (and its two companion cases, Rodman & Doktor).   The recipient spouse in Demarco believed that this mistake required her case to be reopened, and the trial judge agreed.  Below is a recap of the timeline in this case:

May, 2010 - The Demarco's get divorced, with an agreement that includes an alimony payment (merged order).

Mar, 2012 - The Alimony Reform Act takes effect, and it includes a provision that alimony presumptively ends at full …

Changing your Parenting when a Case is Pending May Be Too Little Too Late for the Appeals Court

The Massachusetts Appeals Court recently provided an overview of the two-part test for deciding if a custodial parent can move out of state with their child in Rosenwasser v. Rosenwasser.   The father in Rosenwasser requested the court's permission to move to Florida with the parties' minor child.  The trial court denied his request after applying the two-part test from the Yannas case.  However, the appeals court disagreed with how the trial court applied the test and focused specifically on a change the mother made to her parenting only recently.

The appeals court agreed with the trial court that the father met the first prong of the Yannas test because there was a "real advantage" to him moving to Florida, namely decreased expenses and family support.  In addition, the request to move did not appear to be motivated by a desire to deprive the mother of time with the child.

The second part of the Yannas test requires the court to determine if the move is in the &q…

Should you Designate a Guardian in your Divorce Agreement?

Post by Beth Aarons*

Many divorcing parents put their estate planning issues on the back burner as part of their post-divorce “to do” list. Divorcing parents with minor children or children with special needs, however, may wish to include a guardian nomination provision within their divorce agreement.  Guardian nomination provisions are not required by the Court as part of the divorce agreement, and are therefore seldom seen, but having the conversation prior to the divorce and memorializing the couple’s agreed-upon wishes is an easy way to protect the children from a potential nightmare down the road.
Most divorcing couples are primarily focused on the immediate issue of transforming a single family unit into separate lives: division of assets and liabilities, transitioning to two households, and creating the parenting plan.  These issues contemplate the parents living apart, with the issue of the death of one parent arising primarily in the context of a triggering event for the ter…