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Creedon v. Haynes (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-169-16)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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   16-P-184                                        Appeals Court   LAURA MARIE CREEDON  vs.  JOSEPH E. HAYNES, SR.     No. 16-P-184.   Suffolk.     October 13, 2016. – December 6, 2016.   Present:  Wolohojian, Carhart, & Shin, JJ.     Rules of Domestic Relations Procedure.  Contempt.  Divorce and Separation, Agreement respecting life insurance, Judgment.  Probate Court, Judgment.  Judgment.     Complaint for divorce filed in the Suffolk Division of the Probate and Family Court Department on June 14, 1990.   A complaint for contempt, filed on November 4, 2011, was heard by Jeremy A. Stahlin, J.; entry of an order dismissing the contempt complaint was ordered by Abbe L. Ross, J., and a motion for postjudgment relief was heard by her.     Laura Marie Creedon, pro se.     WOLOHOJIAN, J.  The mother appeals from the dismissal of her contempt complaint by a judge of the Probate and Family Court, who was not the trial judge.  We vacate the order dismissing her complaint and order that judgment enter reflecting the trial judge’s decision. The parties[1] entered into a separation agreement on March 15, 1995, which was incorporated, but did not merge (with the exception of provisions relating to the parties’ unemancipated children), into a judgment of divorce nisi.  Among other things, the agreement provided that the father “agrees to designate the minor children as beneficiaries of his life insurance policy presently in place with the . . . [f]ire [d]epartment” of the town of Lexington (town), which the father, during negotiations, represented had a value of $ 100,000.  In fact, there was no such policy, and the father never designated his children as beneficiaries.  Upon learning this, the mother filed a complaint for contempt in 2011. At the first day of the contempt trial, the mother produced a letter from the town manager certifying that the father did not have life insurance in place at the time of the separation agreement.  The father did not contest that fact, but represented that he had instead a line-of-duty death benefit[2] for which he had designated the children as beneficiaries.  Based on this representation, the trial judge continued the matter to determine whether the father had a line-of-duty death benefit and, if so, the identifies of the named beneficiaries.[3] The father did not appear at the subsequent (and final) day of trial.  The mother, however, did, and produced additional […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - December 7, 2016 at 12:23 pm

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