Posts tagged "1108313"

Cooper v. Keto (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-083-13)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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     12‑P‑770                                                                              Appeals Court   LISETTE COOPER  vs.  ERIC KETO. No. 12‑P‑770. Middlesex.     April 2, 2013.  ‑  June 26, 2013. Present:  Kantrowitz, Brown, & Kafker, JJ.   Divorce and Separation, Separation agreement, Foreign judgment, Attorney’s fees.  Uniform Interstate Family Support Act.  Probate Court, Divorce, Findings by judge, Attorney’s fees.  Practice, Civil, Contempt, Findings by judge, Attorney’s fees.  Contract, Separation agreement, Offer and acceptance.  Parent and Child.  Contempt.       Registration for enforcement of a foreign order of support in the Middlesex Division of the Probate and Family Court Department on October 22, 2010.   A complaint for contempt was heard by Peter C. DiGangi, J.     Theresa K. Capobianco for the defendant. John Foskett for the plaintiff.       KAFKER, J.  The central issue in this case is the correct interpretation of the college expenses provision of a marital separation agreement (agreement) incorporated into a California divorce judgment.  We must also resolve choice of law issues, as the California divorce judgment was registered in Massachusetts pursuant to G. L. c. 209D, § 6-601.  The defendant, Eric Keto (father), contends that he is not obligated to pay his share of the college expenses because they were not “agreed upon” as provided in the judgment.  The plaintiff, Lisette Cooper (mother), contends that the father was properly held in contempt because the father was well aware of the child’s college plans, and the father’s current wife, a teacher at the child’s college preparatory school (prep school), assisted in the child’s college application process by writing a letter of recommendation in support of his successful early decision application.  We conclude that the father is contractually bound by California law to pay his share of the college expenses, as his silence throughout the college application and admission process signifies his acceptance or acquiescence in these circumstances.  However, the judgment was nonetheless not sufficiently clear and unequivocal to hold him in contempt under Massachusetts law. Background.  1.  The marital separation agreement.  After a two-day evidentiary hearing, a judge of the Probate and Family Court found that the mother and the father were divorced in California pursuant to a judgment of divorce dated September 6, 1995.  The parties had one child, a son born in 1990.  The judgment incorporated an agreement that included a section entitled “college expenses,” which provides:   “At such time as [the child] […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - June 26, 2013 at 4:36 pm

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