Massachusetts Divorce Cases / Marital and Separation Agreements
On this page we are compiling links to the full text of important Massachusetts Appellate Cases on Family Law and Divorce decided by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and the Massachusetts Appeals Court.
These cases are for educational purpose only and should not be used for any official or legal purpose. Please consult official reports. Below you will be able to search for Massachusetts Appeals Court Slip Opinions and Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Slip Opinions relating to Marital Agreements.
Marital /Separation Agreement cases in Massachusetts
Ansin v. Craven-Ansin, 457 Mass. 283 (2010): A marital agreement is upheld when, a party is not fraudulently induced to sign the agreement, where full and fair disclosure of the parties financial circumstances are made and where the terms of the agreement are fair and reasonable at the time of execution. In addition, marital agreements are enforceable in Massachusetts.
Colorio v. Marx, 72 Mass. App. Ct. 382 (2008): Probate court has the power to order the payment of monies due pursuant to its determination of the parties’ rights under a separation agreement. Just because the parties disagree about the terms in a separation agreement, does not mean that the term is ambiguous.
Dennis v. Dennis, 29 Mass. App. Ct. 161 (1990): In a modification proceeding after a judgment of divorce, the judge, properly employing the standard set forth in Knox v. Remick, 371 Mass. 433 (1976), correctly determined that there had been a material change in circumstances since the time of the divorce and that the level of available support for the children was inadequate, as the plaintiff was incapable financially of meeting her obligation for child support expressed in the separation agreement, thus warranting a modification of the agreement so as to increase the defendant's obligation for child support.
Dominick v. Dominick, 18 Mass. App. Ct. 85 (1984): In a divorce proceeding in which the parties had entered into an oral separation agreement which the wife subsequently repudiated, the judge did not abuse his discretion in denying the wife's motion to reopen the proceedings. The judge erred when he ordered entry of judgments of divorce nisi incorporating the oral agreement and directing that the agreement should survive the entry of the judgments without first finding that the agreement was fair and reasonable.
Fogg v. Fogg, 409 Mass. 531 (1991): The court held that postnuptial agreement was invalid where the wife impliedly promised the husband that she would attempt to preserve the marriage, because it was a fraudulent representation.
Kotler v. Spaulding, 24 Mass. App. Ct. 515 (1987): Obligations created under a modified provision in a divorce agreement regarding the payment of college expenses, do not extinguish when the children of the married turn 21 years old because there was not specific term included in the agreement stating an age limit that would terminate the obligation. Therefore the court found that common sense should dictate that the obligation should not terminate until the children’s education covered in the agreement is completed.
Krapf v. Krapf, 439 Mass. 97 (2003): The former husband breached his duty to exercise good faith and fair dealing in his obligations to his former wife under their separation agreement because he executed a waiver that reduced his military retirement payments which resulted in a reduction in the wife’s payments. The court held that the wife was still entitled to receive an amount equal to military pension income that she should have received had the husband not waived the payments.
Krock v. Krock, 46 Mass. App. Ct. 528 (1998): Where a separation agreement states that one of the parties same maintain his/her existing health insurance for the other party and the parties children, the obligor party is not in violation of the agreement where he/she changes insurance for another provider and the insurance is comparable to the original plan.
Paixao v. Paixao, 429 Mass. 307 (1999): The doctrine of judicial estoppels applies to oral marital separation agreements. Judicial estoppels is a principle by which a party who has successfully maintained a certain position at trial, cannot in a subsequent trial between the same two parties be allowed to take a different position on the same issue. Judicial estoppels does not however, preclude one of the parties from challenging the incorporation of an oral separation agreement where the other party proposed the agreement and where the complaining party never assented to the oral agreement.
Pavluvick v. Sullivan, 22 Mass. App. Ct. 581 (1986): After the wife's unexpected death, a husband was not relieved of the provisions of a separation agreement concerning the marital property and his rights in the wife's estate, including his obligation to sell the marital home, which the parties had held as tenants by the entirety, and to pay to the wife's estate a specified portion of the net proceeds of the sale.
Reynolds v. Whitman, 40 Mass. App. Ct. 315 (1996): An agreement to arbitrate the issues of alimony and child support is not a violation of public policy. The probate court is not required to make an evidentiary hearing before confirming an arbitration award.
Silverman v. Spiro, 438 Mass. 725 (2003): Case involving the setting the amount of attorney's fees awarded, entering a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). In a proceeding for modification of a judgment of divorce nisi, there was ample support in the record for the judge's imposition of restrictions on the mother's visitation with the children. Also the judge erred in awarding the father sole ownership of property he removed from the marital home where, in the separation agreement, the parties had jointly stipulated to the distribution of marital property, provided that the distribution was final, and expressly excepted this aspect of the agreement from merging in the judgment of divorce nisi. Lastly, there was sufficient evidence to justify a finding of contempt for the mother's failure to cooperate in the filing of the parties' joint tax return and her failure to transfer title to the parties' automobile.
Stansel v. Stansel, 385 Mass. 510 (1982): Modification of a marital separation agreement can only occur under certain circumstances: fraud or coercion, where the terms are not fair and reasonable, or where there is something more than a material change in circumstances shown by the complaining party.
Tompkins v. Tompkins, 65 Mass. App. Ct. 487 (2006): Modification of a stipulated domestic relations order (DRO) can be made where the party can show the provision was a mistake in judgment. The claim based on mistake cannot be brought under the provision of rule of domestic procedure governing claims for relief from judgment, rather it is a modification.
Williams v. Pitney, 409 Mass. 449 (1991): Even where the parties have a surviving separation agreement, the real advantage test will be the standard applied to determine whether or not a parent can move their child out of the Commonwealth.