Divorce Mediation Blog

#marriedseparateddivorcedcohabitedmarrieddivorced: The SJC makes it up and gets it right: Duff-Kareores v. Kareores – Part 3

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

In our last two entries, we considered the central features of the Supreme Judicial Court’s (SJC) recent case, Duff-Kareores v. Kareores. Today, we comment briefly on a collateral benefit of the SJC’s opinion in another area the Alimony Reform Act (eff. 3.1.12) (ARA): the “common household” provision of in M.G.L., ch. 208, § 49(d). In its decision, the high court lifted the enumerated criteria of §49(d) (how to prove common household) and grafted them onto §48 (how to prove length of marriage to equitably pre-marital economic partnership during cohabitation).

In doing so, the SJC described §49(d) as the factual basis upon which a judge may reduce, suspend or terminate alimony by reason of a relationship that:

“…resembles, but is not equivalent to a legal marriage.”

In this dictum, the SJC says what the legislature did not with the greatest clarity: that the purpose of §49(d) is to give potential recourse to an alimony payor, without the burden of proving abated financial “need”, when an alimony recipient has assumed a marriage-like relationship. In the bare statute, the only word that connotes this meaning is “couple”, appearing in sub-sections ii. and v.; the dictionary meaning of which is not limited to romantic pairings. (See, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/couple.)

We hope that this collateral comment by the SJC will caution any future litigant against stretching the benefits of §49(d) beyond what we believe be its intended purpose.

Get e-mail notifications of new blog posts! Enter email address below.:

Delivered by FeedBurner

other articles

recent posts


health insurance divorce and family law mediators litigation mediations child support divorce process conciliation family support Cohabitation divorce mediator alimony statute COLA General term alimony facilitated negotiations divorce mediation Self-adjusting alimony orders family law arbitrator family law mediation Massachusetts alimony and child support Major League Baseball Arbitration pre-ARA alimony Divorce divorce agreement how baseball arbitration works family law arbitrator fraud family mediation Boston divorced Alimony Reform Act med-arb divorce mediators medical benefits divorce judgment Massachusetts lawyers alimony reform legislation support orders alimony law special master Baseball Players Baseball rehabilitative alimony Massachusetts alimony Levine Dispute Resolutions self-adjusting alimony arbitration divorce arbitration private dispute resolution Matrimonial Arbitration Massachusetts divorce lawyers The Seven Sins of Alimony alimony orders Divorce Agreements family and probate law disputes Child Support Guidelines DOMA divorce lawyers dispute resolution divorce mediations Act Reforming Alimony in the Commonwealth mediation Massachusetts lawyers Levine Dispute Resolution Center LLC Levine Dispute Resolution Center lawyer-attended mediation mediators lawyer Baseball Arbitration divorce and family law mediator Family Law Arbitration divorce arbitrator LDRC arbitrators disputes Chouteau Levine family law arbitrators Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly high-risk methodology Same Sex Marriage SJC med/arb Massachusetts divorce mediators Defense of Marriage Act Uniform Arbitration Act divorce arbitrators divorce litigation MLB labor agreement IRC §2704 Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act traditional negotiations separation Obamacare alimony annulment resolve disputes health coverage Levine Dispute Resolution