Posts tagged "1003713"

Morales v. Morales (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-037-13)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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;     SJC‑11104   MARLENE MORALES  vs.  RICHARD LOUIS MORALES.       Worcester.     November 5, 2012.  ‑  March 12, 2013. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ.       Divorce and Separation, Modification of judgment, Child support.  Parent and Child, Child support.       Complaint for divorce filed in the  Worcester Division of the Probate and Family Court Department on April 28, 2006.   A complaint for modification, filed on April 29, 2009, was heard by Susan D. Ricci, J.   After review by the Appeals Court, the Supreme Judicial Court granted leave to obtain further appellate review.     Ruthanne Withers for the plaintiff. The following submitted briefs for amici curiae: Marilyn Ray Smith, pro se. Stephanie E. Goldenhersh, Shira C. Hoffman, & Jennifer Ramos for Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. Martha Coakley, Attorney General, & Iraida J. Álvarez, Assistant Attorney General, for Department of Revenue.       BOTSFORD, J.  This case concerns the modification of a child support order, and in particular, the standard to be used by a Probate and Family Court judge in reviewing a complaint for modification.  The child support order at issue is included in a 2008 divorce judgment that requires the defendant, Richard Louis Morales (father),[1] to make weekly child support payments to the plaintiff, Marlene Morales (mother), for support of their minor child.  In 2009, approximately one year after the divorce judgment, and following the father’s job promotion, the mother filed a complaint requesting the modification of the child support order to reflect the father’s increase in income.  Following a trial before a judge in the Probate and Family Court, the judge found that there was no “material and substantial change of circumstances and no modification [was] warranted,” and dismissed the complaint.   We conclude that the trial judge, in ruling on the mother’s modification complaint, erred in applying a standard requiring a material and substantial change in circumstances (material and substantial change standard) rather than the standard set forth in G. L. c. 208, § 28, as amended through St. 1998, c. 64, §§ 194, 195 (§ 28),[2] which provides that a child support order shall be modified “if there is an inconsistency between the amount of the existing order and the amount that would result from application of the child support guidelines”[3] (inconsistency standard).  Accordingly, we remand […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - March 12, 2013 at 4:47 pm

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