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Rodman v. Rodman (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-013-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   SJC-11726   GEORGE J. RODMAN  vs.  ROBERTA RODMAN.       Norfolk.     October 6, 2014. – January 30, 2015.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.   Divorce and Separation, Alimony, Modification of judgment, Separation agreement.  Statute, Retroactive application.       Complaint for divorce filed in the Norfolk Division of the Probate and Family Court Department on March 12, 2008.   Following the filing of a complaint for modification on November 14, 2013, a question of law was reported by Gregory V. Roach, J.   The Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate review.     David E. Cherny (Thomas D. Ritter with him) for the husband. Michael P. Doherty for the wife.     DUFFLY, J.  The former husband, George J. Rodman, brought a complaint for modification in the Probate and Family Court, seeking to terminate certain obligations to his former wife, Roberta Rodman, arising under a separation agreement the parties had entered into in connection with their divorce.  The divorce judgment nisi, which entered in April, 2008, incorporated and merged into that judgment the provision at issue here, obligating George to pay alimony to Roberta in the amount of $ 1,539 per week.[1]  During the pendency of the modification proceeding, George filed a motion seeking immediate termination of the alimony payments on the ground that he had reached “full retirement age” as defined by G. L. c. 208, § 48, which was enacted by St. 2011, c. 124 (alimony reform act or act).  The motion asserted that the alimony reform act became effective March 1, 2012, and that George therefore was entitled to termination of the alimony order pursuant to G. L. c. 208, § 49 (f) (retirement provision), which provides that “general alimony orders shall terminate upon the payor attaining the full retirement age.” A Probate and Family Court judge denied the motion and then reported the following question to the Appeals Court: “Whether or not [G. L. c. 208, § 49 (f),] is to be applied retroactively to judgments entered before March 1, 2012.”   We granted the plaintiff’s application for direct appellate review. The plaintiff presents an argument that differs somewhat from that in Chin v. Merriot, ante at     (Chin), concerning whether, and in what circumstances, the retirement provision may be applied to modify an alimony judgment that was in existence when the alimony […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - January 30, 2015 at 8:51 pm

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