Posts tagged "Morgenstern"

Canisuis v. Morgenstern (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-094-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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;   14-P-341                                        Appeals Court   PETER CANISIUS, JR.  vs.  ERIN JOY MORGENSTERN. No. 14-P-341. Suffolk.     December 2, 2014. – August 6, 2015.   Present:  Rapoza, C.J., Vuono, & Meade, JJ.[1]     Divorce and Separation, Division of property.       Complaint for divorce filed in the Suffolk Division of the Probate and Family Court Department on November 1, 2011.   The case was heard by Brian J. Dunn, J.     Michael P. Friedman for the husband. William Sanford Durland, III, for the wife.      RAPOZA, C.J.  Peter Canisius, Jr. (Peter), the former husband of Erin Joy Morgenstern (Erin), appeals from a judgment of divorce of the Probate and Family Court.  He argues that the judge erred in treating Erin’s vested contractual rights to future payments resulting from the best-selling novel, The Night Circus, which she authored, as too speculative for inclusion in the divisible marital estate.  He also argues that the judge erred by finding that the parties’ contributions to the marital estate were unequal, and making an unequal division of the marital estate based on that erroneous finding. We fail to discern error in the judge’s determination that the parties’ contributions to the marital estate were not equal.  We agree with Peter, however, that the judge committed an error of law by excluding from the marital estate subject to division under G. L. c. 208, § 34, Erin’s contractual rights to future payments arising from her novel.  Our review of this issue is de novo.  As explained more fully, infra, we vacate the judgment, in part, and remand the matter to the Probate and Family Court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. 1.  Background.  Peter and Erin began to live together in August, 2004, some two years prior to their marriage.  Early on, they established a pattern that continued throughout their cohabitation and marriage:  Erin handled the cooking for the couple while Peter performed the cleaning duties.  During this early period, Erin was unhappy with her employment situation and wished to pursue artistic endeavors.  After discussing the issue with Peter, the parties decided that they would no longer share equally their living expenses (as they had been) until Erin’s income from the arts would allow her to do so.  By June, 2005, Erin had ceased working outside of the creative arts, and by February, 2006, Peter had begun to […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 7, 2015 at 12:00 am

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