On August 1, 2014, the Supreme Judicial Court rendered its second decision (no doubt of many) on the cases coming in on the new Alimony Reform Act. The case is an appeal from a decision of Justice Amy Blake, who has just been elevated to the Appeals Court. The opinion in Zaleski v. Zaleski was written by Judge Fernande Duffly, who has been a domestic relations practitioner, a Probate Court Judge and now a Supreme Judicial Court Justice. She is the only one on the SJC to have a background in family law; as a result her opinions are extremely helpful.
This case makes four major points:
- The Probate and Family Court judges still have great, even expanded discretion.
- Even if general term alimony is possible, in certain circumstances the judge can limit it to rehabilitative alimony.
- If the Court orders a party to maintain life insurance, the insurance required must have a relationship to the parties’ financial obligation
- All income, including bonuses, must be included in the alimony calculation.
Rehabilitative alimony can only last for 5 years. General term alimony in the circumstances of the Zaleski case would have lasted 13 years. This decision makes … Keep reading