781.708.4445

wmlevine@levinedisputeresolution.com

Divorce Mediation Blog

Financial Bigamy: Failing the Irony Test and An Important SJC Alimony Decision in Connor v. Benedict

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Levine Dispute Resolution Center - Alimony

“Financial bigamy”.

It sounds like a name that we might see on the back of a 40-footer in the local marina, as in “my family is expensive, but man, you should see my boat!” Or, a bad reality TV show (sorry for redundancy).

The term actually finds its origin in the recent Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) case Connor v. Benedict, an important and well-reasoned case on the question, in part, of just how high the evidentiary bar is in pre-dating the start of marriage (for durational limit calculation purposes) to a time before the actual marriage ceremony because:

    “…there is evidence that the parties’ economic marital partnership began during their cohabitation period prior to the marriage.” M.G.L., ch. 208, §48.

Previously, the SJC’s Duff-Koreores v. Kaoreores (2016) lifted a set of fact criteria for the determination of pre-marital “economic partnership” from the Alimony Reform Act’s enumerated factors for finding “common household” of an alimony recipient post-divorce. While this may or may not been what the legislature intended, it certainly works well enough.

The challenge in Connor was that the husband argued that he and the wife could not, as a matter of law, have been engaged in a marital partnership because while –

    the parties lived together -

    they shared health insurance -

    they bought, carried and improved a home together and -

    they publicly held out a filial relationship between the husband and his future step-son -

    they were engaged in “financial bigamy” because the wife was simultaneously collecting alimony from her ex-husband!

After gaining benefit from the wife’s previous alimony, the husband doubled down now by using that same alimony as a shield against his own obligation to her. He plainly missed the irony of his double recovery effort. A really good trial judge didn’t, and clearly the SJC did not miss it either.

These are busy days for the Appellate Irony Chutzpah Scale (AICS). First, last November’s Boblis v. Costa, where a father tried to cut off child support for “military enlistment” emancipation, after his son reduced his father’s tuition bills by accepting a ROTC scholarship (November 7, 2019 blog entry); then, Dilanian v. Dilanian in December, in which the husband asked the judge to take his word about material facts while giving the court documents that established the opposite! (December 8, 2018 blog entry) Luckily, In all three cases, the courts’ irony sensors have been up to the task.



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



Delivered by FeedBurner

other articles


recent posts


tags

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