MA Appeals Court: Definition for “Length of Marriage” Different for Alimony vs. Property

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MA Appeals Court: Definition for “Length of Marriage” Different for Alimony vs. Property


Massachusetts divorce lawyer Jason V. Owens examines a recent case that defined the “length of a marriage” in Massachusetts differently for alimony and asset division purposes.

Attorney Jason V. Owens

Attorney Jason V. Owens

AUGUST 5, 2015 – This morning the Massachusetts Appeals Court entered another decision interpreting the Alimony Reform Act of Massachusetts.  The case, Valaskatgis v. Valaskatgis, examined whether definition for “the length of the marriage” under the alimony act – which is defined as the period from the date of the marriage to the date of service of the Complaint for Divorce – should also apply to the division of marital assets.

If the Court adopted the definition from the alimony statute, it would mean that property acquired by either party after service of the Complaint for Divorce – i.e. any property obtained during the divorce case – could be excluded from the final division of assets.  The Court rejected this interpretation, however.

The Court held that “[[n]othing in the language of … the language of the Alimony Reform Act … indicates or suggests that its definitions are to be exported beyond” the realm of alimony.  Accordingly, property acquired by spouses during the divorce remains subject to division.

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About the Author: Jason V. Owens is a Massachusetts divorce lawyer and Massachusetts family law attorney for Lynch & Owens, located in Hingham, Massachusetts.

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By | 2017-03-21T02:59:32+00:00 August 5th, 2015|Categories: Alimony, Division of Assets, Divorce, News, Updates|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on MA Appeals Court: Definition for “Length of Marriage” Different for Alimony vs. Property

About the Author:

Jason V. Owens is a Partner and Senior Counsel at Lynch & Owens, and is a frequent contributor to the Lynch & Owens Blog on subjects including Massachusetts divorce, child custody and support, domestic violence, equity and estates litigation, and complex financial probate and family litigation. Attorney Owens can be reached by phone at (781) 741-5000 or email [email protected], or visit his bio page under