Massachusetts Case Law

 

Massachusetts Case Law

ALIMONY CASES

Cohan v. Feuer, 442 Mass. 151 (2004)

A 1983 stipulation modifying the amount of alimony and child support due to a former wife under the terms of a New Jersey divorce decree was entered as an order in the Newton Division of the District Court Department. We must resolve whether the stipulation entitles the wife to alimony payments from her former husband’s estate, where it provided that alimony payments “cease upon the death or remarriage” of the wife. We conclude that, in the specific circumstances of this case, the disputed language does not give rise to a claim for postmortem alimony

 

GRANDPARENT VISITATION CASES

Blixt v. Blixt, 437 Mass. 649 (2002)

Court decided that the Massachusetts Grandparent statue,G. L. c. 119, s. 39D, is constitutional. Court concluded  that the statute satisfied the so-called strict scrutiny formula because its construction narrowly tailored the statute to further the compelling State interest in protecting the welfare of a child who has experienced a disruption in the family unit from harm. A complaint filed pursuant to G. L. c. 119, s. 39D, the grandparent visitation statute, must be detailed and verified or be accompanied by a detailed and verified affidavit setting out the factual basis relied on by the grandparent to justify relief, or be subject to dismissal (or summary judgment) on motion by the defendant or defendants.

Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000)

Supreme Court ruling that found Washington State judge’s ruling that allowed grandparent visitation against the objections was overruled. Court did not find that all such statues were unconstitutional and left the door open grandparent visitation.

 

PATERNITY CASES

PATERNITY OF CHERYL, 434 Mass. 23 (2001)

We consider in this case whether a father may move to set aside a judgment of paternity when, more than five years after he voluntarily acknowledged paternity, genetic tests established that he was not the child’s biological father…. We conclude that in this case the father did not request relief within a reasonable time: he declined an offer by the child support enforcement division of the Department of Revenue (department) to undergo genetic testing before he acknowledged paternity, and he waited several years before first challenging the paternity judgment, during which time, by his own admission, he had reason to believe he was not the child’s father. Like other courts that have considered the question, we decline to hold that, whenever a father establishes that he is not the child’s biological parent, relief from the obligations of paternity is automatically available.