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Rodman v. Rodman

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Norfolk

January 30, 2015

George J. Rodman
v.
Roberta Rodman

Argued October 6, 2014.

Complaint for divorce filed in the Norfolk Division of the Probate and Family Court Department on March 12, 2008.

Following the filing of a complaint for modification on November 14, 2013, a question of law was reported by Gregory V. Roach, J.

The Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate review.

David E. Cherny ( Thomas D. Ritter with him) for the husband.

Michael P. Doherty for the wife.

Present: Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.

OPINION

[23 N.E.3d 923] Duffly, J.

The former husband, George J. Rodman, brought a complaint for modification in the Probate and Family Court, seeking to terminate certain obligations to his former wife, Roberta Rodman, arising under a separation agreement the parties had entered into in connection with their divorce. The divorce judgment nisi, which entered in April, 2008, incorporated and merged into that judgment the provision at issue here, obligating George to pay alimony to [23 N.E.3d 924] Roberta in the amount of $1,539 per week.[1] During the pendency of the modification proceeding, George filed a motion seeking immediate termination of the alimony payments on the ground that he had reached " full retirement age" as defined by G. L. c. 208, § 48, which was enacted by St. 2011, c. 124 (alimony reform act or act). The motion asserted that the alimony reform act became effective March 1, 2012, and

Page 540

that George therefore was entitled to termination of the alimony order pursuant to G. L. c. 208, § 49 ( f ) (retirement provision), which provides that " general alimony orders shall terminate upon the payor attaining the full retirement age."

A Probate and Family Court judge denied the motion and then reported the following question to the Appeals Court:

" Whether or not [G. L. c. 208, § 49 ( f ),] is to be applied retroactively to judgments entered ...

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